January 4th, 2011
A year ago, I posted my reading list for 2010. I listed a few highlights, and a link to my Goodreads page, pointing out that this wasn’t necessarily a goal, just a list of things that sounded interesting.
I started off with Homer’s Iliad, which I tremendously enjoyed and found parallels to modern life surprisingly common in that ancient tale. I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I quickly jumped to a book that wasn’t on my 2010 list: The Odyssey. I made a somewhat controversial post suggesting that the Old Testament of the Bible can be read similar to how we read The Odyssey. Homer turned out to be much more exciting than I’d expected.
Jordan’s Fires of Heaven (WoT #5) was a good read, though it is one of those books that sometimes is action-packed and interesting, and other times slow-moving and almost depressing. I do plan to continue with the series but I’m not enjoying it as much as I did at first.
War and Peace is something I started late last year. I’m about 400 pages into it, which means I’ve not even read a third of it yet. It has some moving scenes, and is a fun read overall, but the work it takes to keep all the many characters straight can be a bit frustrating at times.
Harvey Cox’s The Future of Faith was one of the highlights of the year. A thought-provoking read by someone that embraces both science and religion, and shows a vision of religion that returns to its earlier roots, less concerned about what particular truths a person believes in than it is about more fundamental issues.
Marcus Borg’s Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary began with a surprisingly engaging history lesson on how agriculture caused the formation of domination societies. It also described in a lot of detail how historians analyze ancient texts — their drafting, copying, etc. It paints a vivid portrait of Jewish society in the time that Jesus would have lived, and follows the same lines of thought as Cox regarding religion finally moving past the importance of intellectual assent to a set of statements.
Among books that weren’t on my 2010 list, I also read — and here I’m not listing all of them, just some highlights:
The Cricket on the Hearth in something of a Christmastime tradition of reading one of the shorter Dickens works. I enjoyed it, but not as much as I enjoyed A Christmas Carol last year. Perhaps I made up for that by watching Patrick Stewart as Scrooge instead.
How to Disappear Completely was a fun short humorous read, with a very well-developed first-person narrative.
Paralleling my interest in amateur radio, I read and studied three books in order to prepare myself for the different exams.
In something of a surprise, I laughed a lot at Sh*t My Dad Says, which was more interesting and funny than I expected it to be. All I can say is that Justin’s got quite the dad and quite the interesting childhood.
I even read two other recent releases: The Politician (about John Edwards) and Game Change (about the 2008 presidential race). Both were interesting, vibrant, and mostly unsourced — so hard to know exactly how much to take from them.
And finally, reflecting on and travel before my first trip to Europe, Travel as a Political Act, which encourages us to find the fun in “my cultural furniture rearranged and my ethnocentric self-assuredness walloped.” And that was fun.
Now to make up the 2011 list…