My 2015 Reading List

by Andrew Forrest

I set a goal to read 50 books in 2015. In September, I revised my goal down to 40?and I hit it! What follows is my reading list for 2015, in chronological order. (Click here to see my post on the best 6 books I read last year.)

My Ratings

??????life-changing and unforgettable
?????? excellent
???? worth reading
??? read other things first
??? not recommended


The Class Meeting: Reclaiming a Forgotten (and Essential) Small Group Experience,?by Kevin Watson. Clear, simple book about the most important building block of the Methodist movement. ???


Notes from Underground, by Roger Scrunton. Novel about the dissident movement in communist Prague in the 1980s, and the way freedom was a betrayal and a disappointment for the movement’s ideals. Scruton is a very interesting philosopher and thinker. ???


Outliers: The Story of Success,?by Malcolm Gladwell. I wrote about?Outliers in my Best Books of 2015 post. ????


You’ll Get Through This: Help and Hope for Your Turbulent Time, by Max Lucado. ???


Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell. My least favorite of the Gladwell books. ??


David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants,?by Malcolm Gladwell. Some really interesting stories of turning weaknesses into strengths. I think his reading of the David and Goliath story in 1 Samuel 17 is right on. ???


Meeting God in Mark: Reflections for the Season of Lent,?by Rowan Williams. Typically well-written insights from the former Archbishop of Canterbury. ???


Mark: the Gospel of Passion (the Biblical Imagination Series),?by Michael Card. I like his creative, faithful thoughts on the Gospels. ???


The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference,?by Malcolm Gladwell. The stuff on “connectors,” “mavens,” and “salesmen” was helpful to me. ???


The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy As They Do,?by Cloture Rapaille. I think the basic premise–that different objects mean different things to different cultures–makes sense, but I think he really stretches to make some of the points he does. ?


The Radetzky March, by Joseph Roth. I wrote about?The Radetzky March?in my?Best Books of 2015?post. ????


The Epic of Eden: A Christian Entry Into the Old Testament, by Sandra Richter. I LOVE this book, which provides a cohesive vision for understanding the Old Testament. Highly recommended for anyone who has trouble making sense of‘the Old Testament. ???


Every Man a King, by Bill Kauffman. Vulgar, convoluted, with a ridiculous plot: I hated this book. (This 1 star review on Amazon does a good job capturing what I disliked–I didn’t write that review.) ?


Seabiscuit: An American Legend, by Laura Hillenbrand. Good, not great. A story about a horse can only be so captivating, and I much preferred?Unbroken, which I wrote about last year. ???


Little Failure: A Memoir, by Gary Shteyngart. Really funny, particularly the parts about this Russian Jewish immigrant learning to be a good American. ???


To Live Is Christ to Die is Gain, by Matt Chandler. Based off his sermon series. ??


Faithful: a Theology of Sex by Beth Felker Jones. ??


Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive, by Thom S. Rainer. ??


The Martian, by Andy Weir. Might be a good movie (haven’t seen it), but not a great novel. ??


Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul by Bill Hybels. Important topic, but I didn’t find the book all that helpful. ??


Crazy Busy:A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem, by Kevin DeYoung. Helpful, particularly the chapter on acedia. ???


An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest, by Alan Fadling. I wrote about An Unhurried Life?in my?Best Books of 2015?post. ???


Kristin Lavransdatter, by Sigrid Undset. I wrote about?Kristen Lavransdatter?in my?Best Books of 2015?post. ?????


Do Not Live Afraid: Faith in A Fearful World, by John Indermark. ??


Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense, by Francis Spufford. Although Mr. Spufford and I would disagree on a number of issues, his sincere devotion and creative approach won me over. Recommended for someone who might want to think about the Christian faith from an unconventional starting point. ???


The Searchers: A Quest for Faith in the Valley of Doubt by Joe Loconte. I really like Professor Leconte’s reading of the Emmaus story. ???


The Thirty-Nine Steps, by John Buchan. ???


Thriving in Babylon: Why Hope, Humility, and Wisdom Matter in a Godless Culture, by Larry Osborne. Book never really lived up to the promise of the title. ??


How (Not) To Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor, by James K.A. Smith. People I respect were enthusiastic about this book, and though it offers some helpful insights into Taylor’s work, in general I thought it was poorly written, full of academic jargon and convoluted sentences. If it were not for the fact that I think Taylor’s insights into our secular age are worth hearing, I would otherwise give this book a lower rating. Very disappointing. ???


Accidental Pharisees: Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity, and the Other Dangers of Overzealous Faith,?by Larry Osborne. ??


The Jesus Cow: a Novel, by Michael Perry. What do I say 2 stars means? Right: “read other things first.” Exactly. ??


Compassion Without Compromise: How the Gospel Frees Us to Love Our Gay Friends Without Losing the Truth, by Adam Barr and Ron Citlau. Honestly, I don’t remember anything about this book. I don’t know if that’s my fault or the authors’. ??


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo. This lady is weird–we’re supposed to talk to our clothes and books?–but I actually kinda liked this book. ???


The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL, by Eric Greitens. ??


The Great Christ Comet: Revealing the True Star of Bethlehem, by Colin Nicholl. First of all, this is physically a beautiful book: hardback, with glossy illustrations on nearly every page. An exhaustive study of the topic. ???


The Hunger Games,?by Suzanne Collins. I wrote about?The Hunger Games?in my?Best Books of 2015?post. ???


Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins. Better than?Mockingjay,?worse than?The Hunger Games. ??


Creativity, Inc., by Ed Catcall. I wrote about?Creativity, my?Best Books of 2015?post. ????


The Means of Grace: Traditioned Practice in Today’s World, by Andrew Thompson. Good, clear summary of ways people have learned to connect to God. ???


Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins. Not a good book. But, to be expected: wrapping up complicated plot lines neatly is difficult. ?


My 2016 Reading Goal

Once again, I‘ve set myself a goal of reading 50 books this year. What about you?do you have a reading goal for the year?

[Here are my?2013?and?2014?reading lists, respectively.]


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