You’ve perhaps heard of Top Ten Tuesdays, a meme hosted by the blog The Broke and the Bookish. Now, I’m not planning on posting on this theme every week and as you may notice, today is Monday not Tuesday. As a good post-modern I don’t feel bound to societal constructions.
However, I liked the topic for last Tuesday and I took my time thinking about it. That is, what are the top ten books you’ve read so far in 2013? There are two main ways to go with this. One, confine yourself to books which you’ve never read before and which you just read this year, or Two, it doesn’t matter if you’ve read a book before or not, just pick the ones you’ve read so far this year which are top ones for you. I’m going with the second option, but feel free to define your own criteria.
1) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. Second reading of the book for me and to my view better than the first time. A much better appreciation of the characters and their different virtues and failings.
2) Martin Luther’s Christmas Book translated and edited by Reformation scholar Roland Bainton. Excerpts of various sermons Martin Luther gave on the Nativity of Jesus Christ. Luther focuses on the human realism of the events as well as their miraculous nature. (I read the book in January but still while it was the Christmas season.)
3) The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. Fascinating and dismaying at the same time. Especially since I can recognize so much of myself in it. It has helped me reexamine my relationship to the Internet and how I interact with it. Having less to do with blogs is one example, despite the irony of posting this on a blog.
4) The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. The seventh and final book of The Chronicles of Narnia. I won’t say it’s the least favorite one of mine, but it is the one I read the least. Primarily because it’s about endings and the descent of what was once good and true and beautiful into falsity, despair, and decay. In other words, it reminds me of this present life. But it is also about redemption and rescue and the final victory.
5) Miracles by C.S. Lewis. Not the most accessible of Lewis’ works, perhaps. Still a cogent, logical defense of the reality of the miraculous.
6) The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton. Chesterton offers a history of mankind, Christ, and Christianity. C.S. Lewis credits this book with baptizing his intellect, as George MacDonald had baptized his imagination, and thus playing a prime role in his conversion from atheism to eventually Christianity.
7) The Modern Scholar: Tolkien and the West–Recovering the Lost Traditions of Europe by Michael Drout. Slightly cheating here as this is actually a series of lectures published as an audiobook. Drout shows how Tolkien’s work is firmly rooted in the foundations of Western culture and literature and how that tradition still resonates with us today.
8) Farmer Giles of Ham by J.R.R. Tolkien. Farmer Giles meets a dragon and wins his fortune. A comic story using lots of philological humor.
9) Tales from the Perilous Realm by J.R.R. Tolkien. A dramatization of several Tolkien stories including Farmer Giles, Smith of Wootton Major, Leaf by Niggle, and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. I listened to it a couple of years ago and didn’t really like it, but listening to it again this year, I found it more engaging.
10) Who Killed Homer: The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom by Victor Davis Hanson and John Heath. An examination of why the foundations of Western Civilization are no longer being taught in our universities and who brought it about, i..e. who killed Homer. Hanson and Heath argue it was an inside job. Thought provoking albeit a bit of a slog to get through.
There it is for me. Please jump in with your top ten books so far this year!