Once a tradition runs for four years, it is hard to quit. Inertia is a hard fact of the blogging life: I have done sports-related annual book awards for the last four years. The list of 53 eligible books is available here. There are many excellent books that I recommend, which makes choosing these awards more difficult than usual this year. A book can only win one award, All Star nods excluded.
Most Valuable Book – Lifted: Experiencing the Resurrection Life
There were books that I enjoyed more than Lifted, but Allberry’s short work proved to be the most influential over time. Written to aid the believer understand and apply Christ’s resurrection. Challenging, refreshing, and well written.
Christian All Stars
These were easily my other favorite theology books I read in 2012, and gave Lifted a run for the MVB.
The Four – Peter Leithart (brilliant survey of the gospels)
The Hole in our Holiness – Kevin DeYoung (much needed reminder of sanctification)
The Intolerance of Tolerance – D.A. Carson (fantastic without being too academic)
The Masculine Mandate – Richard Phillips (really solid book for men)
Literature All Stars
I was glad to read some excellent works of literature this year, many of which were given to me or recommended by others. Several good ones just barely didn’t make this list. The Book of the Dun Cow was in heavy consideration for MVB, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
The Book of the Dun Cow – Walter Wangerin (profound fiction/fantasy/allegory)
Jayber Crow – Wendell Berry (poetic prose to make one weep)
Odes to Common Things – Pablo Neruda (uncanny knack for seeing beauty in the ordinary)
Poems, Series 1 – Emily Dickinson (penetrating insight into human nature)
Nonfiction All Stars
These nonfiction books were among the most entertaining books I read all year. Quick reads, but fun and/or intriguing. I would especially recommend Scorecasting to any above-average sports fan.
Ambitious Brew – Maureen Ogle (American beer isn’t only David v. Goliath)
A History of the World in 6 Glasses – Tom Standage (unique spin on world history)
Scorecasting – Tobias Moskowitz & L. John Wertheim (sports mantras and urban legends put to test)
The Narcissism Epidemic – Jean Twenge & Keith Campbell (far reaching criticism of American culture)
Rookie of the Year (best 2012 book): The Hole in our Holiness (timely book for the contemporary Reformed)
Manager of the Year (most helpful): Standing on the Promises – Doug Wilson (his second MoY award in three years)
Gold Glove (best defense): The Intolerance of Tolerance (brilliant, timely, and convincing)
Silver Slugger (hardest hitting): The Masculine Mandate (a manly punch in the gut)
A-Roid Award (most overrated): Walden – Henry David Thoreau (prescient but narcissistic)
Anti-First Team (most disappointing): More, Walden, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners
Preseason 2013 First Team:
The Gospel According to John – D.A. Carson
Home – Marilynne Robinson
Poetry as a Means of Grace – Charles Osgood
Multiple works by Wendell Berry