Dear fellow travelers,
As 2022 ends, many are posting reflections on the year, including book lists. Figured I’d jump in, even though I am a slow reader, prone to distraction, and have a job that requires multiple hours per day of reading. So, when I see others listing 70+ books read in 2022, I tell myself that 22 books is enough, since the year was 2022.
So, what 22 books did I read this year?
A range of history books:
Clouds of Witnesses by Mark Noll and Carolyn Nystrom
The Residence by Kate Andersen Brower
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne by David Starkey
The Offshore Islanders: A History of the English People by Paul Johnson
The first two of these made appearances in the blog, referenced in the Bibliography. Clouds of Witnesses, which could be included in other categories, is an excellent collection of stories about Christians in Asia and Africa, giving a great perspective away from my local, American one. More history posts will be coming from that book. The Residence is a collection of stories from workers in the White House, from cooks and valets, and many other roles. It ranged multiple decades of presidents and their families, with interesting takes on these very real people.
The Devil in the White City is my favorite book by one of my favorite authors, and likely will be covered as the blog’s first book review soon. Erik Larson writes history that reads like a novel and picks amazing stories as topics.
With a family trip to England and Wales on the 2022 calendar, both history and fiction books on this list revolved around the U.K.
A range of fiction books:
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John LeCarré
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams
So Long and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams
It’s only now that I realize all of these books involve England. “Tinker” is one of my dad’s favorite books and I’d put off reading it for a long time but am glad I finally got to it. It’s a fascinating and complicated story about a mole in the British spy network, and I picked up great quotes like “All power corrupts, but some must govern,” and “Learn the facts…then try on the stories like clothes.” “Hound” is one I read as a teenager and picked back up for something quick and light to read, and the other 3 were new to me. This blog began with a Douglas Adams reference, and there will likely be more to come!
Only one non-fiction book:
King’s X: The Oral History by Greg Prato
This ended up featured in two blog posts and tells the story of one of my favorite bands that never quite “made it big,” but gets a ton of respect from other musicians. Part of the problem was that they couldn’t be pigeon-holed as either a “Christian” band, or not.
Plus some Christian commentary and devotionals:
In addition to regular Bible and study Bible reading, in 2022 I read:
4 books by Warren Wiersbe: Be Alive (John 1-12), Be Transformed (John 13-21), Be Wise (1 Corinthians), and Be Encouraged (2 Corinthians).
4 books by C.S. Lewis: That Hideous Strength, The Weight of Glory, The Abolition of Man, and The Great Divorce.
Encouragement: The Key to Caring by Larry Crabb and Dan Allender
Everyday Prayer with the Reformers by Donald McKim
Tapestry: The Book of Revelation by Glenn Parkinson
A fan of C.S. Lewis from childhood, in 2022 I aimed to read several of his books I hadn’t before, which include the last 3 above. I love finding familiar Lewis quotes in their original context, which brings out even more meaning. A few of these ended up in the blog. In 2023, maybe I’ll get to Surprised by Joy, The Four Loves and all of God in the Dock.
I picked up Wiersbe’s entire “Be” series in 2021 as part of a digital subscription and am working through it over time. A long time. I like his overall approach and the books are a great source of thoughtful stories and quotes.
Encouragement and Everyday Prayer both ended up in the blog. The first I had read many years ago and rediscovered ideas in it that I had forgotten the source of. Everyday Prayer was a gift and is a short devotional covering segments of prayers from the Protestant Reformation, with related stories and Bible verses.
Lastly, I just finished Tapestry earlier today. Glenn Parkinson is the retired former pastor of my church, and the book provides a very helpful overview of the book of Revelation, making a great case that John “did not intend to give us a puzzle no one can solve,” but intended to reveal (as in a revelation) a tapestry of images designed to encourage Christian faithfulness and perseverance in the time between Jesus’ first and second comings.
Will I read 23 books in 2023? Who knows…in the meantime, have you read any of these 22? What books did you enjoy in 2022?