Posted by: Dan | January 8, 2011

Books of 2010

I was able to finish just over sixty books in 2010.  It was an interesting year.  I dabbled around in the horror genre for a bit, only made it halfway through Proust (when I intended to complete all of In Search of Lost Time last year) and fell just short of my goal of finishing all of McCarthy’s novels by the end of the year (I’m just now completing the Border Trilogy… which I left for last).  Also, in comparison to prior years, I read a lot less theology in 2010.

In terms of my favourite reads, well, I always have trouble picking just one.  In the area of biblical studies, I’ll highlight Virgil’s Aeneid.  That text should be required reading for any student of the New Testament.  In terms of the other non-fiction I read, I think I’m going to go with Taylor’s A Secular Age.  There’s a reason why that book created so many waves (several reasons, actually). Fiction is always the hardest category to choose from but I’ll stick with McCarthy and leave it as a tie between Suttree and All the Pretty Horses.

My goals for 2011 are as follows:

  • continue reading one volume of Barth’s Church Dogmatics per year (I’m thinking about starting to do the same with Balthasar’s enormous trilogy);
  • finish up with Proust;
  • get into Nietzsche and Spinoza;
  • read at least one of the following: Being and Time, Truth and Method, and Of Grammatology (any suggestions?)
  • engage in a sustained amount of reading related to the current and past struggles and experiences of Canada’s indigenous peoples (anybody claiming to be inspired by Liberation Theology ought to do at least this in one’s own context).

We’ll see how that goes.  Here’s the complete list of books I read (from cover to cover) in 2010:

Biblical Studies & Classics

  • Augustus. Res Gestae Divi Augusti.
  • Borg, Marcus and John Dominic Crossan. The First Paul: Reclaiming the Radical Visionary Behind the Churches Conservative Icon.
  • Feeney, Denis. Caesar’s Calendar: Ancient Time and the Beginnings of History.
  • Given, Mark D. (ed). Paul Unbound: Other Perspectives on the Apostle.
  • Harink, Douglas (ed). Paul, Philosophy and the Theopolitical Vision: Critical Engagements with Agamben, Badiou, Žižek, and Others.
  • Howard-Brook, Wes and Anthony Gwyther. Unveiling Empire: Reading Revelation Then and Now.
  • Horsley, Richard A. (ed). Paul and the Roman Imperial Order.
  • ________. Christian Origins: A People’s History of Christianity, Volume One.
  • ________. In the Shadow of Empire: Reclaiming the Bible as a History of Faithful Resistance.
  • Kahl, Brigitte. Galatians Re-Imagined: Reading with the Eyes of the Vanquished.
  • Longenecker, Bruce W. and Kelly D. Liebengood (eds). Engaging Economics: New Testament Scenarios and Early Christian Reception.
  • Lucan. Civil War.
  • Oakes, Peter. Reading Romans In Pompeii: Paul’s Letter at Ground Level.
  • Rowe, C. Kavin. World Upside Down: Reading Acts in the Graeco-Roman Age.
  • Thisleton, Anthony C. The Living Paul: An Introduction to the Apostle’s Life and Thought.
  • Virgil. The Eclogues.
  • ________. The Georgics.
  • ________. The Aeneid.

Other Non-Fiction

  • Boer, Roland. Criticism of Heaven: On Marxism and Theology.
  • Chang, Ha-Joon. Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism.
  • Heilbroner, Robert. Twenty-First Century Capitalism.
  • hooks, bell. Where We Stand: Class Matters.
  • Negri, Anotonio and Michael Hardt. Commonwealth.
  • Taylor, Charles. A Secular Age.
  • Taubes, Jacob. Occidental Eschatology.
  • Virno, Paolo. A Grammar of the Multitude.
  • White, Michael and David Epston. Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends.

Auto/Biography

  • Fellows, Warren. The Damage Done: Twelve Years of Hell in a Bangkok Prison.
  • Gallego, Ruben. White on Black.
  • Harrison, Charles Yale. Generals Die in Bed.
  • Richards, Keith. Life.
  • Woodcock, George. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.

Fiction

  • Banks, Iaian. The Wasp Factory.
  • Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Game.
  • Franzen, Jonathan. The Corrections.
  • Gaddis, William. The Recognitions.
  • Hoban, Russel. Kleinzeit.
  • Jackson, Shirley. The Haunting of Hill House.
  • Lady Sarashina. As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams.
  • Lindqvist, John. Let the Right One In.
  • MacDonald, Ann-Marie. Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet).
  • McCarthy, Cormac. All the Pretty Horses.
  • ________. The Crossing.
  • ________. Suttree.
  • ________. Outer Dark.
  • ________. The Orchard Keeper.
  • Márquez, Gabriel Garcia. Love in the Time of Cholera.
  • ________. One Hundred Years of Solitude.
  • Motherfuckin’ Vikings. The Vatnsdaela Saga
  • Proust, Marcel. Swann’s Way (In Search of Lost Time Volume 1).
  • ________. Within a Budding Grove (In Search of Lost Time Vol. 2).
  • ________. The Guermantes Way (In Search of Lost Time, Vol 3).
  • Salinger, J. D. Nine Stories.
  • Schwarz-Bart, Simone. The Bridge of Beyond.
  • Shteyngart, Gary. Super Sad True Love Story.
  • Vonnegut, Kurt. Armageddon in Retrospect.
  • Wong, David. John Dies at the End.

Theology

  • Barth, Karl. Church Dogmatics III.1: The Doctrine of Creation.
  • Ellul, Jacques. Hope in Time of Abandonment.
  • Hart, David B. Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies.
  • Nouwen, Henri. Life of the Beloved.
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Responses

  1. I’d be interested in reading more on Canada’s indigenous peoples. When you come across some good stuff I’m sure you’ll recommend it.

  2. “Being and Time, Truth and Method, and Of Grammatology (any suggestions?)” I haven’t read T&M be interesting to read along and have your insights. I thought about the CD Barth study over at ID, but realistically I ain’t got the smarts or the stamina. Also Von Balthasar trilogy beckons me (and reading Von Speyr along with it, her relationship to Balthasar fascinates me). One of my most enjoyable reads this year was “Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches.” by S.C. Gwynne. best, Daniel.

  3. Your list looks very complimentary to @anarchistrev’s:
    http://leavingtheeddy.wordpress.com/2010/12/31/year-end/

    and my own:
    http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150106859221349

    I have to say, I *greatly* enjoy reading your notes/thoughts on books. If you know of a way to get a copy of Hope In Time Of Abandonment < $30, let me know.

    Instead of Heidgegger, Gadamer and Derrida, this year I'm focusing on Nietszche, Foucault and Deleuze.

    I plan to start reading Swann's Way this year as well; received a copy of the new translation for Christmas. Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco may leap in front of it, however.

  4. Truth and Method is the only one of the three I read cover to cover. I have dabbled in the other two. I would actually place T&M at the bottom of the list though. I am torn between the other two. It probably depends on your larger projects and interests.

  5. I think a volume of Barth per year is a much better idea than trying to read all of CD in 1 to 3 years. I imagine you’ll gain a much deeper appreciation for his insights doing it your way.

    • I’m not sure which is a better approach… I just know that there’s no way in hell I would want to spend the amount of time necessary with Barth in order to read the CD in a year!

  6. I’m by no means an expert in philosophy, but I’ve read and perhaps even understood a bit of B&T, T&M, and OG. I’m sure you already have, but I would just read through the table of contents to them and see what one appeals to you most. T&M, to me, had the most boring writing, and I think it impacted me the least of the three, I also think it had the least wider philosophical impact of the three. OG was maybe the first true philosophy book I read and it really blew me away, although I’ve maybe become a bit more skeptical of the usefulness of deconstruction. OG would probably be good for your reading of the Bible, your soon-to-come reading of Nietzsche, and in general if you want to engage in deconstructionist theology and politics (maybe you would like Jean-Luc Nancy?). B&T, by far though, is one of my favorite books and I feel like you should read that first–if not only because its such a major work and the other two books build off of it etc. I think its also a really good book if you want to start interacting with work on ontology. I don’t know how widely accepted it is, but Graham Harman’s work on Heidegger (much more than his own OOO work) has been really useful to me. Huber Dreyfus has a really good lecture series online too.

    • Yeah, I’ve already dabbled in all three and have read other works by Derrida and Heidegger. I’m not too sure about the influence of Gadamer. It’s certainly a less flashy text than the others, but I really do have the impression that it is a fundamental text for hermeneutics and are kind of textual criticism and interpretation. As for ontology, well, I’m not too into that. It’s all ideology.

      • Whatever rolls your scroll man. I’m sure that G was plenty influential, I guess he just doesn’t come up that much in the stuff I dabble in–ideology. Plus I’m just not that into reading books by Nazi’s, except for B&T.

      • Actually, I believe that the nature Gadamer’s relationship to or with Nazism is far more questionable than Heidegger’s.

  7. I’m pretty sure I understood little of B&T, and only a little more of T&M when I read them both…
    but I like the idea of reading Barth and Heidegger in tandem – it should be an interesting exercise… I am slowly working through CD as well, and trying to read as much Brunner in tandem for similar reasons.
    I think your gut instinct about Gadamer and its connection with the “stuff you’re into” is probably correct.
    FWIW, I just sort of stumbled across this approach last year where I read more serious selections of Yoder and Bonhoeffer in tandem… (getting beyond the standard ones you tend to read studying theology).

  8. As a once fervent reader and advocate of H.U. von Balthasar, might I suggest that you just read Love Alone: The Way of Revelation. It summarizes his entire trilogy and leaves you time to for other, (better?) things.

  9. A little late to the game on this one, but Truth and Method shouldn’t be too hard to get through. There are significant skippable parts in the first half of the book where he talks about some very specific German cultural stuff. My take upon reading it (about a year and a half ago) was that unless one was a German or some kind of cultural historian, it’d be too difficult to really get any of the references in some parts of the book. The second half is quite different, if I’m recalling correctly. I’d actually recommend for Gadamer that you read his essays. Philosophical Hermeneutics is a very good Gadamer text. (I find the Hermeneutic philosophers to be very accessible in essay-form. Ricoeur is the best example of this, although the extent to which he is a hermeneutician is debatable).

    My subjective recommendation would be Derrida. I’d also recommend Ricoeur above Gadamer, as I find him to be much more interesting. You get the added benefit of the fact that Ricoeur was pretty much involved in every big strand of philosophy at some point during his life. I did an independent study on him when I was a senior in college, and it was very beneficial just for all of the contextual stuff.


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