Books I read in 2010

20 12 2011

Below is a list of books I read in 2010.  I’ve tried to provide a little explanation to most of the books listed below to help you decide if you would actually like to read any of them.  The books are listed according to category.  The categories are fiction, secular non-fiction, church leadership, apologetics, Biblical Theology/ exegetical, Medieval (primary and secondary), Pre-Reformation developments (primary and secondary), the Reformation (primary and secondary), the English Reformation (primary and secondary), the Puritans (primary and secondary), Modern Theology, Philosophy, Liturgy.  Click through if you’d like to see the list.  


Maloy, M.  Both Ways is the Only Way I Wan It (2009) A wonderful collection of short stories.  The golden thread that is woven through every story is human folly, and how character flaws compel us to make poor decisions that we ultimately suffer for.  An excellent read from a talented author.

Kazuo, I.  Never Let me Go (2010) It would be hard for me to give a blurb about this book without giving away the ending.  Let me just say that the author’s frank assessment of the essentially nihilistic underpinnings of the modern experience was very disturbing.  This was a tremendous book.

Secular Non-Fiction

Ahamed, L. The Lords of finance: the bankers who broke the world (?) The story of the global financial collapse of the 1930’s, this story was absolutely engrossing.  At times the economics were a bit over my head, which has caused me to put a few introductions to economic theory on my reading list for 2011.

Freedman, E.  The Essential Feminist Reader (2007) This book is essentially an anthology of feminist writings from the modern feminist experience all the way back to (I think) the 16th century.  What I found intriguing was the noble quality of much of these writings from the 16th century up until mid 20ths century.  The collected writings during this period were not only concerned about women’s issues, but issues about fair wages for everyone, the pull to the city and its effects on family, racial equality and many other noble pursuits.  However, I noticed in some (not all!) of the writings post 1960’s the feminist vision changes to a radical individualism.  It was sad to see a movement that had such noble, communal concerns turn so narrowly inward upon the individual.

Beasley, C. What is feminism? An introduction to feminist theory (1999)  It was disheartening when in the introduction the author could find no higher vision for femininity than to be like men.

Tiger, L.  The Decline of the Males (2000) This is not the best book I’ve seen on this issue by far, but it was a useful introduction to what is happening to males in North America.

Leduff, C.  US Guys:  the true and twisted mind of the American man(2008) I gave up after three chapters.  This book is boring and sloppily written.

Hartmann, N. Moral Phenomena: Ethics vol I (2002) A wonderful analysis of what components must be in place psychologically before you are willing to trust someone.  This book introduced me to “trust theory” which I had no idea even existed.  I spoke about in the first of my “Re-Think talks”.

Covey, S.  The Speed of Trust (2002) A quick mish mash of why trust is important in the corporate environment.  This book takes a pragmatic approach to trust, that is trust is important if you want to have a successful business but I did not gather that the author felt trust was a good in and of itself.

Epstein, J.  Friendship: An expose (2007) A delightful book on friendship.  It wasn’t what I was looking for or what I needed but I finished it quickly.  A great, fun, fulfilling read.

Coram, R. Brute (2010) The biography of Marine Corps Gen. Victor Krulak.  Krulak was apparently fudged the truth a lot and was , distant from wife and kids, but a damn fine combat officer.  This was a real page turner and highly enjoyable.

Hedges, C. Empire of Illusion: the end of literacy and the triumph of the spectacle (2010) You must read it for yourself, but suffice it to say that this book is important.  The author gets lost in rants throughout, nevertheless he (most of the time) rights the ship and gets back on track.  To put it briefly, America is loosing its functional literacy which makes it more difficult for us to assess logical arguments making us susceptible to dubious truth claims and activities.

Caroroli, R. Making Cheese (2002) Don’t judge me.  Who wouldn’t want to make cheese in their own home?

Church Leadership

Driscoll, M.  Radical Reformission (2004) Driscoll is writing for a young audience in Seattle.  He competes for their attention by being offensive, which means I probably won’t be encouraging my church to pick this book up.  A shame, because it is filled with excellent material on how to reach out and win people for Christ.

Jones, T. Church Planting (2004) The best resource for church planting I’ve come across yet.

Sylvia, R. Starting High Definition Churches (2004) If you want to plant a shallow church, with no theology that broadly resembles a Wal-Mart then this book is for you.  It does have a few good practical ideas.

Malphurs, A. Planting Growing Chruches for the 21st Century (2004) The second best resource for church planting I’ve come across.


Lewis, C. The Four Loves (1991)

Schaeffer, F. The God who is there a wonderful overview of the philosophical underpinnings of the west.

Schaeffer, F. Escape from Reason

Schaeffer, F. He is there and he is not silent

Schaeffer, F.  Back to Freedom and Dignity

Biblical Theology and Exegetical

Vos, G.  Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments (Vera Press: East Peoria 2007) a re-read from last year to prep for my Immersion class.  I’m still not happy with this book as a text, but we do the best with what we’ve got.

Waltke, B. Proverbs chs. 1-15 New International Commentary on the Old Testament (2004) It is hard for me to take in the depth of learning of this man.  This commentary is amazing.  I read this volume cover to cover to prep for our series on Proverbs and was deeply blessed by it.  A valuable resource.

Waltke, B. Proverbs chs. 15-31 New International Commentary on the Old Testament (2005) I used this more as a reference book, going to sections as needed.

Longman T. Proverbs Baker Commentary on the Old Testament (2006) I loved this book.  Very simple and to the point and valuable for preaching.  I used it as more of a reference than reading it cover to cover.

Longman, T. How to Read Proverbs (2002) Iain really appreciated this book, however I found it a bit boring at times.  To each his own.

John Calvin, Commentary on Romans

Martin Luther, Commentary on Romans Luther’s commentary on Romans published in the American edition of his works is from 1515, which makes his working out of the righteousness of God a bit early in the Reformation experience.  Nevertheless, it is valuable but one must remember Luther is very early on in his understanding of the Gospel.

Moo, D. Romans New International Commentary on the New Testament (1996) Still reading this from last year.  Amazing commentary, the best out there.

Martin Luther, Commentary on Genesis I only read the first four chapters of all the Genesis books as we preached through the first four chapters of Genesis in December of 2010.  Luther’s commentary on Genesis is superb.

John Calvin, Commentary on Genesis Superb

Hamilton, V. Commentary on Genesis chs. 1-17  New International Commentary on the Old Testament (1990) For preaching prep, most of the NICOT commentaries are great, however in this instance I would say that for the layman or preparing for a sermon go with Calvin and Luther.

Medieval (Primary)

Ratramnus of Corbie, The Book of Bertram Monk of Corbie, A.D. 840, on The Body and Blood of the Lord (“De Corpore et Sanguine Domini” edt. and translated by W.F. Taylor (London: Simpkin Marshall & Co. 1880) This man was a great influence on the English Reformers.  You can probably read this for free online.

Wycliffe’s Wycket: Whych He Made in Kyng Rychards Days the Second(reprinted by Tho P. Pantin 1828) Another man who had a profound influence on the English Reformers, this book is also in middle English and will be tough if you are not used to reading it.

Selections from English Wycliffite Writtings edt. by Anne Hudson (University of Toronto Press: Toronto 1997) Again, in middle English.  Don’t buy it if you can’t read it.

Medieval (Secondary)

Pelikan, J. The Growth of Medieval Theology (600-1300) (University of Chicago Press: Chicago 1978) Great overview of medieval theology from a doctrinal perspective, but the social perspective is totally absent giving this book a pretty serious weakness.

Otten, W. “Carolingian Theology” in The Medieval Theologians edt. by G.R. Evans (Blackwell Publishing: Oxford 2001) Quick, cheap, dirty overview of Carolingian Theology

Cross, The Metaphysics of the Incarnation: Thomas Aquinas to Duns Scotus(Oxford University Press: Oxford 2005) A heavy, difficult read which is nevertheless worth it.  The book points out the profound logical dilemmas of transubstantiation from a scholastic perspective.  Very good.

Rubin, Miri. Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture(Cambridge University Press: Cambridge U.K. (2002)

Oberman, H. The Harvest of Medieval Theology: Gabriel Beil and late medieval nominalism (Baker Academic: Grand Rapids 2000) Oberman rocks.  If you want to see the seeds of the Reformation in medieval theology you need to read Oberman.

Pre-Reformation Developments (Primary)

John C. Olin, Catholic Reform from Cardinal Ximenes to the Council of Trent (1495 to 1563) (Fordham University, 1990). This book has an introduction to the issues by Olin which I found to be pretty one sided and generally worthless.  However, you’d buy this book for the primary sources appended to the back.  They show a vibrant Catholic Reform taking place in Italy before the Reformation.

Pre-Reformation Developments (Secondary)

Johan Huizinga, Erasmus and the Age of Reformation (Phoenix Press, 2002). A superb introduction to Erasmus

G.R. Evans, Wyclif: Myth and Reallity (IVP, 2006) From a historical perspective, I had one or two issues with how Wycliffe was portrayed.  I’m not alone in this, the author has received significant pushback.  From a social perspective, the author does paint Wycliffe’s world in quite striking terms.

Mitchell, N. Cult and Controversy: the worship of the Eucharist outside the Mass (1982)

Eire, C. War against the idols: the reformation of worship from Erasmus to Calvin (1989) Unlike Cult and Controversy (see above) this book has an obvious bias which I think skews the overall work.

Oberman, H.  Forerunners of the Reformation Excellent anthology of primary sources.

Reformation (Primary)

John Calvin, Institutes on the Christian Religion. Ed. J.T. Mcneill (Westminster John Knox Press, 1980) I did not re-read the whole thing as planned, but significant portions.

John Calvin,  “The True Partaking of the Flesh and Blood of Christ in the Holy Supper” in Calvin’s Tracts and Letters Vol II edt. and translated by Henry Beveridge (Versa Press: East Peoria 2009) Calvin’s Tracts and Letters were published in a seven volume set this year and they are a superb resource .

Reformation (Secondary)

Muller, Richard A.  The Unaccommodated Calvin:  Studies in the Foundation of a Theological Tradition (Oxford University Press:  Oxford, New York 2000)

English Reformation (Primary)

A general note on all the works below:  I had the great experience of reading through these primary sources from the English Reformation over the summer.  It is a travesty that these works are no longer in print because most (if not all) of the pastors ordained into the Episcopal/ Anglican Church have no idea what the theology of their founding fathers was.  I highly encourage you, if you are a pastor in the Anglican Communion to acquire by hook or by crook the works of Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer and READ THEM.

The Works of Thomas Cranmer edt. for the Parker Society: Cranmer, much to my surprise and delight made me want to worship God.  He is a seriously gifted theologian and I wish, for the sake of Christians everywhere but particularly in Anglicanism that this great man was rediscovered.

The Works of Nicholas Ridley edt. for the Parker Society

The Works of Hugh Latimer edt. for the Parker Society A wonderfully gifted preacher.

The Catechism of Thomas Becon, Chaplain to Thomas Cranmer, edt. for the Parker Society

Peter Martyr Vermigli, Oxford Treatise and Disputation on the Eucharist: 1549 trans. and.edt. by J.C. McLelland (Thomas Jefferson University Press and Sixteenth Century Journal Publishers Inc.: Kirksville, 2000) One of the more amusing events in this disputation is when Vermigli’s Roman Catholic opponents request that he quit appealing to the fathers since they couldn’t keep up with his vast knowledge on the patristic theologians.

Peter Martyr Vermigli, Dialogue on the Two Natures of Christ trans and edt. By John Patrick Donelly, S.J. (Thomas Jefferson University Press and Sixteenth Century Journal Publishers Inc.: Kirksville, 1995)

John Jewel An Apology for the Church of England (1825 edt.)

English Reformation (Secondary)

Jeanes, G.P. Sign’s of God’s Promise: Thomas Cranmer’s Sacramental Theology and the Book of Common Prayer (T & T Clark: New York 2008)Excellent overview of Cranmer’s sacramental theology.  I was nevertheless disappointed that the author didn’t try harder to connect Cranmer’s theology with the continental reformers, medieval theologians and patristics.

Knox, D.B. The Lord’s Supper from Wycliffe to Cranmer (The Paternoster Press: Exeter 1983) The author puts too much emphasis on the originality of English theology.  I think the conclusions in this book have been widely discredited.

MacCulloch, D. Thomas Cranmer (Yale University Press: New Haven 1996) A magisterial biography of Thomas Cranmer.  A must read for Anglican pastors.

Null, Ashley.  Thomas Cranmer’s Doctrine of Repentance: Renewing the Power to Love(Oxford University Press: Oxford 2006)

R. Rex, The Tudors (2nd ed., Amberley, 2009) A Roman Catholic perspective on the Tudors.  Well written and at times quite witty.

E. Duffy, Fires of Faith (Yale, 2009) Another Roman Catholic perspective on the English Reformation.

S. Alford, Burghley (Yale, 2008) Engrossing.  Burghley was high up in Elizabeth’s government.  The author is less concerned with the theology of the English Reformation and more concerned with the politics, principally under Elizabeth.

Puritan (Primary)

A general note on the books I read from John Owen:  I acquired Owen’s works last  year and began to read through them at quite a pace.  Owen is difficult work, and I’m not satisfied having read many of the works listed below only once.  The highlights for me were Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ, On Communion with God, andThe Nature and Causes of Apostasy. Owen presents the Gospel in such a way, in the first two I mentioned that I almost disbelieved it because it was too good to be true.  Many times while reading through the Meditations and Communion with God I found myself crying with joy.  Even though Owen is perhaps most well known for his The Death of Death, I found it to be too polemical and it lost the doxological flavor that makes his other works so encouraging.

John Owen, On the Person of Christ published in Owen’s works vol. I

John Owen, Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ published in Owen’s works vol. I

John Owen, On Communion with God published in Owen’s works vol. II

John Owen, The Nature and Causes of Apostasy published in Owen’s works vol. VII

John Owen, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ published in Owen’s works vol. X

John Owen, On the Divine Original of the Scriptures published in Owen’s works vol. XVI

Ryle does not have a collected works to purchase so I simply bought everything of his that is still in print.  Below are the ones I have read so far.  Since the new year I have read much more of Ryle than what is listed below, but this listed is restricted to what I read in 2010.

J.C. Ryle The Duties of Parents I would strongly encourage parents to buy this little tract, which is available on Kindle and Googlebooks.  It is one of, if not the best piece on parenting I have read yet.

J.C. Ryle Thoughts for Young Men A terribly convicting work, where Ryle exposed much of the sins of young men which of course are my own sins.

J.C. Ryle Simplicity in Preaching All preaching pastors should read this work, the re-read it, then read it again.

J.C. Ryle Why were our Reformers Burned? Most Anglicans are woefully ignorant of their protestant/ Reformed heritage.  This little essay is a great introduction to the fundamentals of Anglicanism.  It is an essay in a larger work entitled Knots Untied, which I think every Anglican pastor should purchase.

Horatius Bonar The Everlasting Righteousness I enjoyed reading this with my small group as well as another small group at Trinity.  A classic piece of Gospel goodness.

Thomas Watson The Lord’s Supper Another book I read with my small group.  We will be commending this to Trinity Church for our upcoming Lenten series on the Lord’s Supper.

Puritan (Secondary)

Thomson, A. A life of John Owen published in Owen’s works vol. I

Muller, Richard.  Post Reformation Reformed Dogmatics Vol I:  Prolegomena to Theology 2nd ed. (Baker Academic:  Grand Rapids 2006)

Modern Theology

Michael Horton, “Participation and Covenant,” in Radical Orthodoxy and the Reformed Tradition: Creation, Covenant and Participation. James K.A. Smith and James H. Olthuis, eds., (Baker Academic, 2005).

John Milbank, Catherine Pickstock, and Graham Ward, eds., RadicalOrthodoxy: A New Theology (Routledge, 1999).

James K.A. Smith, Introducing Radical Orthodoxy: Mapping a Post-Secular Theology (Baker Academic, 2004).

Ward, G. “Bodies,” in Radical Orthodoxy: A New Theology (Routledge, 1999)

Smith, James K.A. Letters to a young Calvinist (2010) I love Jamie’s vision for Calvinism, however I was disappointed in that it aimed at such a small audience (the young, restless, and reformed) that I do not feel I could commend it for any benefit to my own congregation.

Stott, J. The Cross of Christ (2006) An excellent work from an excellent pastor/ theologian.  I enjoyed reading this through with my confirmation class last summer.  This edition comes with a study guide and small group questions.

Wright, N.T. After you Believe: why Christian character matters (2010) N.T. Wright resurrects virtue ethics in this well written, thought provoking little book.

Cavanaugh, W.T. Being Consumed: economics and Christian desire (2008)Wonderful little book on how the “free hand” of the market is actually quite manipulative the individual consumer keeping them in bondage to desires created by advertising.

Philosophy (Primary)

In terms of the Kierkegaard I read, a blurb will never do.  I enjoyed being introduced to this notable Christian philosopher last spring.  Either/ Or is quite complex and not recommended for a first dive, but perhaps Fear and Trembling would be an easier first plunge.

The Essential Kierkegaard edt. by Hong, H. (2000) A wonderful little anthology with excerpts from major works.

Kierkegaard Fear and Trembling (2009)

Kierkegaard Either/ Or (1992)

Heidegger, M. Basic Writings edt. by David Farrell Krell (2008)

Philosophy (Secondary)

Alex, B. Soren Kierkegaard: An Authentic Life (2000)

Strathern, P. Hegel in 90 Min (1997) Quick and dirty.  You can actually read the whole book in less than 90 minutes.  I would recommend buying this book or something like it before you read any Hegel so that you can orient yourself around some quite complex thinking.

The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard edt. by Alastair Hanny and Gordon D. Marino (1997) The Cambridge Companions are hit and miss (mostly miss) and I’m afraid this one lands in the miss pile.

Singer, P. Hegel: a very short introduction (2001)

Robinson, D. Introducing Kierkegaard (2007) Funny, brief and accessible, this introduction to Kierkegaard is told in the style of a comic book.  Highly enjoyable and a good way to orient one’s self before diving into an anthology or other work.


Dix, D.G. The Shape of the Liturgy (Continuum: New York 2007) A little outdated.  Much of the scholarship has since moved on, particularly away from Dix’s conclusions on Cranmer’s Eucharistic Theology



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