These are the books I completed during 2013, broken down into three categories (fiction, non-fiction other than theology, and theology), and listed within each category in approximate order of completion. I’ve also identified the two books from each category that I would particularly recommend. Each book title links to my comments (if any) on the book as posted on my Tumblr.
- The Map of Love, by Ahdaf Soueif.
- Possession, by A.S. Byatt.
- The Line of Beauty, by Alan Hollinghurst.
- Death in Venice, by Thomas Mann.
- Broken Homes, by Ben Aaronovitch.
- Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy.
- A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
- The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood.
- Giovanni’s Room, by James Baldwin.
- Beware of Pity, by Stefan Zweig.
- Over Sea, Under Stone and The Dark is Rising from The Dark is Rising Sequence, by Susan Cooper.
Recommendations: Anna Karenina, The Handmaid’s Tale.
Currently reading: Tell Me How Long The Train’s Been Gone, by James Baldwin.
Comments: Given that I tend to read more non-fiction that fiction, this has been a pretty good year by my standards. In particular I finally got round to reading three novels that I’ve been wanting to read (and that my wife has been recommending to me) for ages: Anna Karenina, The Handmaid’s Tale and Possession. None of them disappointed. A Canticle for Leibowitz is less “literary”, but will stay with me a long time.
- One on One: 101 True Encounters by Craig Brown.
- What’s Wrong With Homosexuality? by John Corvino.
- Petite Poucette, by Michel Serres.
- My Traitor’s Heart, by Rian Malan.
- Vanished Kingdoms, by Norman Davies.
- Iron Curtain, by Anne Applebaum.
- Cultural Amnesia, by Clive James.
- Five Days in London, May 1940, by John Lukacs.
- The Fatal Shore, by Robert Hughes.
- 1966 and All That, by Craig Brown.
- Political Animal: The Making of Tony Abbott, by David Marr.
- Whoops! Why everyone owes everyone and no one can pay, by John Lanchester.
- Thinking Statistically, by Uri Bram.
- The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin.
- The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution 1945-57, by Frank Dikötter.
Recommendations: Cultural Amnesia, My Traitor’s Heart.
Currently reading: God’s Philosophers, by James Hannam.
Comments: Some really good stuff in there. Vanished Kingdoms, The Fatal Shore, Iron Curtain and The Tragedy of Liberation could also have made it into my recommendations. But the standout book of the year for me – the one that has done most to change how I think, I suspect (and hope) permanently – was Clive James’s love letter to humanism, Cultural Amnesia.
- Lutheran Identity: A Classical Understanding by Frank Senn.
- The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris.
- A History of Lutheranism by Eric W. Gritsch.
- English Spirituality by Martin Thornton.
- Christian Proficiency, by Martin Thornton.
- Life Together, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
- Everyman’s History of the Prayerbook, by Percy Dearmer.
- Faith of our Fathers, by Eamon Duffy.
- The Jesus Prayer, by Frederica Mathewes-Green.
- Just War: The Just War Tradition – Ethics in Modern Warfare, by Charles Guthrie and Michael Quinlan.
- Dare We Hope “That All Men Be Saved”?, by Hans Urs von Balthasar.
- Unapologetic: Why, despite everything, Christianity can still make surprising emotional sense, by Francis Spufford.
Recommendations: The Cloister Walk, Unapologetic.
Comments: A bit of a mixed bag, this. I should probably resolve to be a little more focused and disciplined next year (“Good luck with that…”). The first half dozen books reflect the Lutheran/Benedictine crossover that is probably the most accurate location for where my spiritual tent is currently pitched.
Overall, the really big hole this year across all categories is the absence of any poetry. It’s not that I didn’t read any, but that I didn’t “finish” any poetry books. Still, something to rectify next year, perhaps.