The weather is finally cooling down! Fall is in the air!
Sorry, but I really like this time of year. The holidays are upon us and those of us who live in Arizona can go back outside. Here’s a check-in on my reading list so far this year. My goal is one hundred books and I’m currently not on pace to hit that so we’ll see how the next few months go.
Here are the books I’ve read since January of 2022 with my rating for them (5 being the best) along with a brief review. Any book without a number rating has been given to me by the author or publisher.
Click on any of the titles below to get a link to buy it.
- The Storyteller by Dave Groehl (4). Dave is such a likable dude and does such a great job telling stories of his incredible journey as a global rockstar. This is a fun read (or listen).
- Drunk by Edward Slingerland (3). This book does a solid job arguing for the logic of why alcohol has played such a key role in our lives throughout history. Takes a scientific look at why we drink.
- Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson (2.5). I loved Treasure Island and Dr. Jekyl so I figured I should read more by Stevenson. This one was especially fun for anyone who has watched Outlander and is familiar with this part of Scottish history. Ultimately I found it very hard to follow.
- Catriona by Robert Louis Stevenson (2). This is part 2 of Kidnapped. It was still hard to follow and was not as engaging as the first one.
- How to Fight Racism by Jemar Tisby (3). This is a good primer on how to engage in the work of racial reconciliation, especially from a practical point of view.
- Out of Office by Charlie Warzel (3). Touted as a guide for working from home, this is actually a book about how to approach your work with healthy boundaries.
- How Lucky by Will Leitch (3). An engaging fictional story about a man unable to speak or move without a wheelchair who witnesses a kidnapping and then tries to help.
- Embodied by Preston Sprinkle (4.5). Such a great exploration of sexuality, gender, and transsexuality in particular from a Christian point of view.
- The Moral Animal by Robert Wright (3). Looks at the science of why we are the way we are and explores the nuances of Darwin’s legacy and work.
- Manage Your Day-to-Day by Jocelyn Glei (2). I read this for a new class I’m teaching in the fall. It’s a good compilation primer from a variety of authors on how to structure your life to produce creative work.
- Die with Zero by Bill Perkins (5). Total game-changer of a book with an idea that will cause you to reflect and reanalyze many of the life decisions you are making.
- Stay Hungry by Sebastian Maniscalco (3.5). I enjoy Sebastian’s stand-up comedy and it was fun to hear more about his journey.
- Dedicated by Pete Davis (3.5). A helpful look at why we need less multitasking and distracted people and more of dedication to the things that matter most.
- How to Hide an Empire by Daniel Immerwahr (4.5). This is a fascinating look at the history and perspective of the US that most of us (myself included) are not aware of.
- Everyone You Hate is Going to Die by Daniel Sloss (2.5). I found this humor book at my local library. I almost didn’t make it through it as he can be a lot at times.
- The Book Direct Playbook by Mark Simpson (3.5). A very niche book on how to get direct bookings to a short-term rental.
- The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggemann (5). This was my sixth read-through since 2017.
- If God is Love Don’t be a Jerk by John Pavlovitz (4). This was another library find and I was surprised how much I enjoyed this. This was not the “feel good” Christian book it might seem and instead challenges Christians to engage differently in living out our faith.
- The Sword and the Shield by Peniel Joseph (3.5). An intriguing behind-the-scenes look at Malcolm and Martin beyond the stereotypes we often think of them.
- Wine Witch on Fire by Natalie Maclean. I got invited to be an early reviewer for Natalie’s third book. She does a fantastic job exploring her role in the wine world during a time when it seems her world as she knows it is falling apart.
- Serotonin by Michel Houellebecq (3). Snagged a used copy of this at Powell’s Books. It’s a French novel about a man literally dying of sadness. It’s irreverent and deep at the same time.
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (4). I decided to revisit this one (I read it in school) and I’m glad I did. Such a good story and I was surprised how much it sounds like a Dickens’ novel (which I like).
- Aloha Rodeo by David Wolman (2.5). An interesting (albeit super-specific) part of history. Tells the story of cowboys from Hawaii.
- Van Gogh by Steven Naifeh (3.5). This book was massive (and slightly depressing) but does a great job of doing a deep dive on the bizarre story of one of history’s most famous artists.
- White Guilt by Shelby Steele (3). Offered some interesting perspective on the issue of racism but ultimately I found most of the arguments to be uncompelling.
- Limitless Mind by Jo Boaler (2). Takes a look at the concept of the growth mindset in learning. It’s a good read but I’ve already read most of it elsewhere.
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (3). I remember loving this book as I kid so I thought I’d revisit it. Didn’t have the same effect on me this time but it’s still a great story.
- The Pioneers by David McCullough (3). I was excited to read this history of the PNW—especially from an author of this magnitude—but it often felt stereotypical and cliche at numerous points.
- Leave Out the Tragic Parts by Dave Kindred (3.5). A surprisingly beautiful story of a grandfather trying to love his grandson who suffers from a life of addiction.
- Eat Like a Human by Dr. Bill Schindler (2). Nothing groundbreaking here but does a solid job exploring concepts of nutrition.
- Rise and Fall of the Borgias by William Landon (4). Does a balanced job looking at the truth and fiction of one of the more notable families in history.
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (4.5). I enjoyed this when I first read it years ago and enjoyed it even more reading it again.
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling (5). This is my third read-through and I’m going through it with my three oldest kids.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (5). This is my third read-through and I’m going through it with my three oldest kids.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling (5). This is my third read-through and I’m going through it with my three oldest kids.
- The Last Emperor of Mexico by Edward Shawcross (4). I had no idea of this history and I thought it was a fascinating story.
- The Homiletical Plot by Eugene Lowry (2). I read this for a new class I’m teaching this fall. Covers some of the basics of preaching.
- The Last Kind Words Saloon by Larry McMurty (1). I love Tombstone and Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. But this was a bizarre fictional story about them that honestly didn’t make much sense to me.
- Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan (4.5). I totally loved this book. Jessica tries a number of extroverted things for a year and then writes about what she learns. It allows introverted readers to vicariously live through her insights.
- North by Shakespeare by Michael Blanding (2). This was way more niche than I was expecting (Shakespeare authorship). But it’s a fascinating case study on real-life journalism.
- The Night Always Comes by Willy Vluatin (3). This is an Oregon author that I found at Powell’s. Tells the story of a woman who’s life seems to be falling apart and what she does about it.
- The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggemann (5). This was my seventh read-through since 2017 (and the second of 2022).
- A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards (4). I think this is my third read-through. I think he’s too kind on King David, but this is a fascinating read on leadership and ambition.
- Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill (3.5). This is a reimagining of different fairytales and some of them were absolute gems. I’ve started reading the Moon Dragon to my daughter regularly.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (5). This is my third read-through and I’m going through it with my three oldest kids.
- The Myth of a Christian Religion by Greg Boyd (4). Feels like a summary of a lot of his other thoughts. This could be a good entry into Boyd’s thinking or a helpful recap.
- Optimize Your Airbnb by Daniel Vroman Rusteen (3). Obviously, this is a niche book for people who own and manage a short-term rental but it gave me some helpful ideas to implement.
- The New Megatrends by Marian Salzman (3). I like thinking about the future and this gives good food for thought even if it isn’t going to rock you with the predictions.
- Interrupting Silence by Walter Brueggemann (3.5). A helpful look at silence and how God often uses it in our lives.
- Spark by John Ratey (3.5). This was a fascinating look at how exercise improves your brain and the way you think. Helped me to see more holistic benefits of regularly working out.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (5). This is my third read-through and I’m finishing the series I began with my kids. They’ll pick it back up during our road trip next summer.
- Less by Andrew Sean Greer (4). I ended up enjoying this story way more than I thought. An interesting reflection on getting older and figuring out what matters most.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (5). This is my third read-through and I’m finishing the series I began with my kids. They’ll pick it back up during our road trip next summer.
- The Youth Baseball Bible by Dan Gray (3). I started coaching little league baseball for the first time and this book helped me think through some of the details of how to do it well.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (5). This is my third read-through and I’m finishing the series I began with my kids. They’ll pick it back up during our road trip next summer.
- Not In It to Win It by Andy Stanley (3). There were parts of this book I loved and other parts where I think he totally misses it. Addresses the culture wars of the church.
- Breaking the Social Media Prism by Chris Bail (4). This book explores the ‘echo chamber’ effect of social media and offers some counterintuitive ways to move beyond it.
- The Story of Your Dog by Brandon McMillan (3). This provides an interesting historical look at dogs and the different breeds in order to better help you fully embrace yours.
- Vanishing Grace by Philip Yancey (3). Yancey explores why the good news of the Gospel often doesn’t sound like good news anymore. He writes from a mainstream evangelical perspective so many of the answers seem a bit cliche.
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis (5). I had a quick road trip with a couple of my kids and decided to listen to my favorite of the Narnia series. I love this story so much.
- The God of Neverland by Gama Ray Martinez (4). I love all things Peter Pan and was excited to dive into another fan fiction about it. This one creates a whole new modern-day world around the story.
- Do I Stay Christian by Brian McLaren (5). So much food for thought in this one. I would highly recommend it to any Christian trying to grow in their faith or who is struggling in their faith.
- French Wine by Roderick Philipps (3). Gets a bit tedious into the weeds at times but I love the history of both wine and France that is covered in this book.
- Land by Simon Winchester (4). A broad brushstroke into how we have historically viewed the concept of land. It takes a seemingly simple concept and shows you how weird it can be.
- Dungeon Crawler Carl by Matt Dinniman (4.5). This is about as geeky of a book as it gets but if you love video game subculture it is pure Nerdist escapism in the best of ways.
- Celebrities for Jesus by Katelyn Beaty (5). Incredible analysis of what is wrong with much of the Christian culture today, especially in America. Part critique and part hope for how to do it better.
- The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggemann (5). This was my eighth read-through since 2017 (and the third of 2022).
- Carl’s Doomsday Scenario by Matt Dinniman (4.5). Part 2 in the Carl series.
In addition to this list, you might also check out:
- my reading lists from previous years
- recommendations on how to become a better reader
- my top 15 theology books
- the 2 books I’ve personally written
- my goodreads account
- a Bible reading plan you can download and use
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