2Q13 Book Briefs

These are the books I read from April through June this year. I just switched from a seasonal list to a quarterly list, though my reading habits and desires continue to be greatly influenced by the rhythms of the seasons. I am also working through Carson’s commentary on John and The Valley of Vision this year.

The Atonement – Loraine Boettner (1941); Kindle // Read in the weeks leading up to Resurrection Sunday. Short but encouraging exposition on the centrality and magnitude of the death of Christ.

Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of HereticsRoss Douthat (2012); Print // Read for an informal book discussion with guys from church. Interesting journalistic sociological/historical look at the demise of orthodoxy in the 20th century and the importance of its resurgence.

Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation – James K.A. Smith (2009); Print // The most thought provoking book I’ve read in a while. False dichotomies aside, it’s an interesting work on worship, our most basic motivators, and cultural liturgies. Smith argues that our doctrine and belief should flow from our worship and practice, and not vice versa.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan (2012); Print // Really fun summer read. Mysteries of a secret society for bibliophiles founded by one of the first book printers pursued by young technophile designer types. Nerdy and technical at times, in a charming, fun sort of way (if that’s possible).

Poetry as a Means of Grace – Charles Osgood (1940); Print // The first chapter alone is worth the print-on-demand fee of this out-of-print gem. Praises the merits of reading poetry and adopting a poetic giant into one’s life. Originally written for pastors, but beneficial for laity as well.

A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World – Paul Miller (2009); Kindle // More casual and informal than I expected, though that’s not a bad thing. Helpful in cultivating a more aware, consistent, and relationship-oriented prayer life. Chapters on helplessness and praying without ceasing were especially good.

Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us – Michael Moss (2013); Print // This book made me never want to buy anything processed ever again – organic or not. Journalism at its best: this is not an alarmist work but a well researched and well written expose. Brief summary here.

The Selected Poems of Wendell BerryWendell Berry (1999); Print // Like Berry’s fiction, themes of nature, place, marriage, death, and land saturate his poetry. Down to earth, understandable, yet profound. Favorites include: The Broken Ground, Marriage, and We Who Prayed and Wept.

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