Books of the year

My favourite books of the year in chronological order.

For work.

C. A. J. Coady, Messy Morality

John Milbank, Theology and Social Theory, 2nd ed

Insole and Harris (eds.), Faith and Philosophical analysis

Vincent Lloyd, Law and Transcendence

Jonathan Glover, Humanity

Andrew Shanks, Hegel and Religious Faith

Gillian Rose, love’s work,

Gillian Rose, Paradiso

Gillian Rose, Dialectic of Nihilism

Gillian Rose, The Broken Middle

Gillian Rose, The Melancholy Science

Leszek Kołakowski, Metaphysical Horror

Hayden Ramsay (ed), Truth and faith in ethics

Kate Schick, Gillian Rose: A Good Enough Justice

Christopher J. Insole, Kant and the creation of freedom: a theological problem


1789 by David Andress

C. A. Bayly, The birth of the modern world

Ellen Meiksins Wood, From citizens to Lords

Jerrold Seigel, Modernity and Bourgeois Life

Novels and poetry

Antonio Tabucchi, Pereira Maintains

John Christopher, The Death of Grass

Diego Marani, New Finnish Grammar

Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

Julian Barnes, the sense of an ending

Julian Barnes, Flaubert’s Parrot

Erin Morgenstern, Night Circus

Tom Wolfe, I am Charlotte Simmons

Graham Greene, The End of the Affair

China Miéville, Embassytown

Marilynne Robinson, When I was a child I read books and Gilead

Tom Wolfe, Bonfire of the Vanities

poetry by Derek Mahon

André Schwarz-Bart, The Last of the Just

China Miéville, kraken

Michael Ondaatje, coming through slaughter


And you readers? What were your favourites? Did you read any of the books on this list, and, if so, what did you think?

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7 Responses to “Books of the year”

  1. 1 david cl driedger December 30, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    What were your thoughts on Mieville. He gets high praise in a number of circles. I started Embassytown but just lost interest. I have little time and high expectations for fiction, so I may not return to him.

    • 2 Andrew Brower Latz January 2, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      I thought he was fun and of decent quality: good pacing, decently written, intelligent in a range of ways (you can tell he spent time in academia): puns, nice throwaway ideas/phrases, references and allusions, etc. I’ve read three of his books now. I don’t think of him as in the same league as the best novelists, but he combines ideas with the pace of a thriller, which is good.
      what sort of novels do you like?

  2. 3 david cl driedger January 2, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    I am just getting back into contemporary lit and don’t have much time for it these days so I am quite picky. I probably set the bar too high with Infinite Jest which I was blown away by. I like McCarthy’s The Road but Blood Meridian less so. I am just finishing Murakami’s 1Q84 which is pretty good but dragging on (I would compare him a little to my experience with Mieville). This year I want to read The Pale King and get through Kafka’s major works.
    I bought an e-reader last year which has been helpful for reading light fiction as I read it when on the bus or waiting for something.

    • 4 Andrew Brower Latz January 2, 2013 at 10:09 pm

      That’s interesting. I’ve not read Wallace and I’m in two minds about whether to try. I’ve read quite a bit of McCarthy and enjoyed both of those you mentioned. I thought The Road was probably the most gripping thing I’ve ever read, but I feel there wasn’t as much to it as his other books (or as there was to ‘The death of grass’). I didn’t enjoy Murakami, couldn’t make sense of it. I’m hoping to read more Shakespeare and Dickens this year. What are your other reading plans for this year?

  3. 5 david cl driedger January 3, 2013 at 3:34 am

    I’ve been getting into texts contemporaneous to the Bible as well wading into some apostolic fathers. I am actually really enjoying reading anthologies in Ancient Near Eastern texts and just ordered a collection of non-biblical and non-Israelite prophetic texts. I hope to move on to OT pseudepigrapha and some gnostic texts.
    I am also planning on a bunch of continental philosophy texts. Folks I am comfortable talking about but have not actually read as much as I should (Derrida, Deleuze, Foucault, etc.) I may be terribly irrelevant in that choice!
    I am also pretty excited to read through Jacob Taubes’s translated works.
    As far as ‘big’ texts I also hope to read Kant’s first critique and Marx’s Capital.

    • 6 Andrew Brower Latz January 3, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      Wow. Impressive list. How much time do you make for reading as part of your work? How much of it gets into sermons or pastoral discussions or other such?

  4. 7 david cl driedger January 3, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    I usually try to read for about an hour before work (depending on when my 3 year old gets up). This is usually a more ‘abstract’ piece of philosophy/theory that I would not have to justify for work. Then I also try to read an hour over lunch if I am in the office of something more ‘relevant’ biblically or theologically. A lot if it does work directly into sermons but in more implicit ways. I was very influenced by Dan Barber’s On Diaspora and found that working into my theology. And after reading more Hegel and Zizek on Hegel I fear I may be more Hegelian than I thought!
    I am fortunate that I am in a congregation that appreciates this by and large but I do get comments something to the effect of being careful not to ‘lecture’, which is something I don’t want to do anyway.
    Since I will probably not pursue doctoral work (at least in the near future) I also hope to convince my church to give me short independent study leaves to work on stuff. All in all its a pretty good fit so far.

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