Late again, but here’s a rundown of the 10 books I read in September. This brings my 2022 total to 72 books. Happy reading!
(I must always clarify that I read many books with which I disagree. I learn the most by reading things that do not represent my position.)
The Book of Kells: An Illustrated Introduction to the Manuscript in Trinity College Dublin by Bernard Meehan
The Book of Kells, dating from about 800 CE, is a Latin, decorated manuscript of the four Gospels. This official guide is written by the former Keeper of Manuscripts at the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, where the Book of Kells is on permanent display. It provides insights into one of the greatest surviving examples of medieval art. The pictures and paper are high quality. I’m a sucker for such books that mix art, Biblical imagery, and the Biblical text.
Lincoln’s Virtues: An Ethical Biography by William Lee Miller
Through examination of Lincoln’s actions, speeches, writings, and of accounts from those who knew him, Miller dives into the moral development of the great president. The book is filled with interesting stories and insights but it makes for a poor book. It reads as a work patched together.
Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson by Gordon Wood
Two men that shaped early America. At times friends but frequently enemies. Jefferson, the optimist, aristocratic Southern slaveowner. Adams, the overachiever, middle class, skeptic of popular rule. They worked together in crafting the Declaration of Independence but their differences soon proved to be too much. Later in life they rekindled friendship and died on the same day – July 4th. A fun-filled doorstop of a biography.
Collected Sermons by Jim Barksdale
Jim Barksdale served as pastor of several different churches throughout his lifetime including Calvary Baptist Church in Santa Clara, California, First Baptist Church in Emory, Texas, and Valley View Baptist Church in Longview, Texas. He was most recently a member of First Baptist Church in Sulphur Springs. I tell the story of how I acquired this collection in this post: See here. I loved completing my first binder of his collected sermons.
Lifting the Veil: Imagination and the Kingdom of God by Malcolm Guite
Guite revisits and expands insights from his Laing Lectures at Regent College, exploring how the creative work of poets and other artists can lift the veil and kindle our Christian imaginations. I’ve developed a love for Guite’s work. I will devour each of his volumes in the days to come.
David’s Crown: Sounding the Psalms by Malcolm Guite
Can a work of poetry wind up on my list of favorite books of the year? You betcha. This collection of 150 poems form a crown, a poetic form where interlinking lines connect a sequence. Each ending line of each poem becomes the starting line of the next. The poems in this collection are a response to the Bible’s 150 Psalms. It’s a masterpiece.
Open and Unafraid: The Psalms as a Guide to Life by David Taylor
The book begins with a story about Bono and Eugene Peterson. That’s enough for me. The book then moves into a devotional examination of the Psalter – one lived in joy, sorrow, anger, doubt, fear, community, and isolation. The book is a master class on the emotions and reality experienced in the life of faith.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
I love a survival story book. This is a good one. Yet, this good story comes through a story of brokenness. And I mean it. Brokenness. It gets graphic at points and sad throughout. Strayed hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State. Alone. Yet, the trail does not make her broken life whole.
Art and Faith: A Theology of Making by Makuto Fijimuto
I loved this books in parts. I was lost in others. I have a deep passion for art and faith. I believe the pair make great bedfellows. I’m still on the hunt for more books that makes the case. This one will find itself on a used bookstore shelf.
Seasons of Sorrow: The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God by Tim Challies
Whoa. This one is heavy. On November 3, 2020, Tim Challies received the news that his son had died, a twenty-year-old student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He had been participating in a school activity with his fiancée, sister, and friends when he fell unconscious and collapsed. This book is Challies’ reflections through the year after his sons’ death. It’s bound to be helpful for those suffering through immense grief. Yet, it’s helpful for all.