Happy New Year everyone! Every end of the year for a number of years now I post a list of the books I’ve finished reading in that year. I’m sorry I don’t have time to also put in the corresponding links to Amazon but you can always look these books up yourself. So here they are.
- Sepallo’s THE HAPPINESS TRACK. A self-help book on “How to apply the science of happiness to accelerate your success.” Imagine that! Happiness is a science now.
- Kiyosaki’s RICH DAD, POOR DAD. A book containing common-sense advice on money: save rather than spend. Make your money work for you.
- Strachan and Sweeney’s JONATHAN EDWARDS ON HEAVEN AND HELL. A very short book summarising Jonathan Edwards’ teachings on heaven and hell and containing excerpts from his writings. Part of the Essential Jonathan Edwards Collection.
- Cal Newport’s SO GOOD THEY CAN’T IGNORE YOU. A self-help book on mastering something and really becoming good at it. What I got from this book is mastery trumps passion. Or master the thing first and the passion will follow.
- Marcus Aurelius’ MEDITATIONS (Hay’s transalation). I was encouraged to buy this after reading Ryan Holiday’s recommendation. He’s supposed to have read this a hundred times! It’s about the Stoic approach to dealing with life.
- Baumeister & Tierney’s WILL POWER. Willpower is like a muscle. It can be developed and strengthened but it can also tire. So you have to be strategic in the way you use it.
- Dreyfus and Kelly’s ALL THINGS SHINING. A combination of philosophy and literature: “Reading the Western classics to find meaning in a secular age.”
- McGrath’s WHY GOD WON’T GO AWAY. An apologetics book. Yes, it does seem belief in God isn’t going away anytime soon.
- Luc Ferry’s A BRIEF HISTORY OF THOUGHT. A short book on the history philosophy.
- Barret & Haykin’s OWEN ON THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. John Owen is one of my favorite theologians – hard to read but rich in spiritual insight. Very beneficial to one’s soul. It’s in this book that I found his opinion approving the role of lay-preachers (such as I am). That’ a relief because Martyn Lloyd Jones and William Gurnall seem to hold the opposite view.
- Toobin’s THE OATH. An elder lawyer whom I admire a lot introduced me to Jeffrey Toobin by recommending to me his book entitled The Nine. I liked it a lot and so when I saw a copy of The Oath I bought it and was duly entertained. It’s about Chief Justice John Roberts forgetting the precise words of the oath that President Obama had to repeat during the latter’s swearing-in ceremony and the legal implications thereof.
- Dante’s PURGATORIO (Mandelabaum’s translation). I’ve read Dante’s Divine Comedy a number of times. Frankly, the Inferno (part 1 of the Divine Comedy) is easier to follow, but this is one of the enduring classics of world literature so I just keep reading even though it’s difficult to follow at times.
- Auchincloss’ WOODROW WILSON. A short biography of a great American president – eloquent, scholarly but a flawed human being. Come to think of it, who isn’t?
- John Owen on APOSTASY (in volume 7 of his Works). I read the Puritan Paperback abridged version a long time ago. This time it’s the complete version. What I gather from Owen is that a true Christian can backslide seriously and even for a long period of time, but he can never completely reject the faith and turn away from it, otherwise, that would mean he was never really “saved” in the first place.
- Guthrie’s CREATOR SPIRIT. A book on the theology of the arts, particularly the role of the Holy Spirit in human creativity.
- Prior’s ON READING WELL. The title says it all. I read the ebook version on my Kindle device.
- Duriez’ FRANCIS SCHAEFFER’S AN AUTHENTIC LIFE. A very good biography of a great Christian apologist whose influence as such is second only to C.S. Lewis. The great lesson I got from his life is that “Love is the final apologetic.”
- Denise Levertov’s COLLECTED EARLIER POEMS 1940-1960. A really good poet. Here’s a couple of lines by him that I really like: “Our lives flower and pass. Only robust/ works of the imagination live in eternity.”
- Babineux and Krumboltz’ FAIL FAST, FAIL OFTEN. I have a lot of self-help books in my library. They have their value. I found this book helpful in that it provided me an antidote to my tendency towards perfectionism. Technically, I haven’t finished it yet but I’m almost there.
So there you have it. Hope you might be interested enough to get hold of some of these books. In 2019 I hope to read William Manchester’s 3 volumes of The Last Lion (a biography of Winston Churchill). I’ve already begun the first few pages of volume 1. It’s now just a matter of persevering through hundreds of pages per volume! Also I took off the shelf Samuel Johnson’s 2 volumes on The Lives of the English Poets. Hope my resolution to read these books remains strong throughout the year!
Happy New Year once more!