Third annual book awards

I thought about ditching these book awards in favor of a simple top five or top ten list, but I know Scott at least likes the book awards. Check out the list of finalists. I read more widely across genres and topics than usual in 2010, so that made this a little more challenging.

MVP
Planet Narnia: the seven heavens in the imagination of C.S. Lewis – Michael Ward, 2007. Brilliant, convincing, fascinating, and readable. Easily the best book I read all year. Any fan of Narnia would benefit and enjoy this book, though it is more scholarly than anticipated. 

All-stars, nonfiction
In defense of foodMichael Pollan, 2009.
The millennium – Loraine Boettner, 1957.
Minority report  – Carl Trueman, 2007.
Through new eyes – James Jordan, 2000.
What are people for? – Wendell Berry, 1990.

All-stars, fiction
The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoyefsky, 1880.
A Confederacy of dunces – John Kennedy Toole, 1980.
Brighton rock – Graham Greene, 1938.
Dandelion fire – Nate Wilson, 2009.

Anti all-stars
How did you do it, Truett? – S. Truett Cathy, 2007
A sweet flame – Michael Haykin (ed.), 2007
Lost in the cosmos – Walker Percy, 2000
A case for amillennialism – Kim Riddlebarger, 2003

Rookie of the year (published in 2010)
The good news we almost forgot: rediscovering the gospel in a 16th century catechism:  – Kevin DeYoung, 2010. A great devotional/study on one of the greatest Christian treasures we have: the Heidelberg Catechism. DeYoung’s work deserves wide readership and publicity. It is thoughtful, accessible, and edifying.

Double play combo
Why Johnny can’t preach & Why Johnny can’t sing hymns – T. David Gordon, 2009 & 2010. Excellent books on the church, preaching, and worship as they relate to the infiltration of pop culture, media, and entertainment. Each book is a study in the intersection of two of my favorite fields: religion and media ecology. Highly, highly recommended.

Silver slugger (hardest hitting)
Letters to a diminished church: passionate arguments for the relevance of Christian doctrine – Dorothy Sayers, 2004. Passionate is definitely the right word to use for this collection of essays. Known for her mystery novels, Sayers is also a gifted popular apologist and this collection is provocative, quotable, and challenging.

Gold glove (best defense)
Putting amazing back into grace: embracing the heart of the gospel, second edition – Michael Horton, 2002. A sincere, pastoral, and biblical defense of biblical Christianity and salvation by grace alone. Probably the best introduction to Calvinism I’ve read, though it’s more a plea to the church to return to a robust biblical Christianity than a defense of the five points.

Andruw Jones award (most overrated)
Millennium trilogy – Steig Larsson, 2005-2009. It’s not hard to see why this series has become such an international phenomenon. These tense Swedish crime novels are replete with sex, violence, conspiracy theories, and fascinating characters. But Larsson could have used an editor before his death in 2004 after delivering the manuscripts, especially in the last two books. I understand Larsson’s purpose (to raise awareness of abuse against women), but he could have done it in a less graphic manner. But if he did, I guess sales of the book would have been hurt. Can’t really recommend with a clean conscience.

Manager of the year (most helpful)
Doug Wilson for his two books: Reforming marriage and For a glory and a covering, 1995 & 2006. The two best books on marriage I’ve read. Reforming marriage is more practical and immediately rewards reading, while For a glory… explores more foundational roots and draws applications from them. Both are highly recommended.

Preseason 2011 all stars:
The mortification of sinJohn Owen, 1656
The authenticity hoax – Andrew Potter, 2010
The deep things of God – Fred Sanders, 2010
Shepherding a child’s heart – Tedd Tripp, 1995
The person and work of ChristB.B. Warfield, 1950
The inimitable Jeeves – P.G. Wodehouse, 2007

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