5 Best Books I Read in 2010

I’ve had a goal over the last several years to read 50 books per year. Last year I fell woefully short at 27.

Nevertheless, here is my list of the top 5 books I read in 2010, in no particular order:

1. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller

Donald Miller of Blue Like Jazz fame has produced another winner. Million Miles is a book about how to live a meaningful life, a life that is an interesting worthy story. Miller takes the elements of what makes a good book and suggests, quite convincingly, they are the same things that make for a meaningful Christian life.

2. Jonathan Edwards: A Life, George Marsden
Because of its length and the amount of detail, this book is a project, but one well worth the effort. Jonathan Edwards is perhaps the greatest American theologian, but unfortunately he is known by most as that fundamentalist hell-fire and brimstone preacher who preached Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God. The Jonathan Edwards I found in this book was so far from the caricature presented to me by my secular teachers I wondered if they could possibly be the same person.

3. Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton

If you’ve never read Chesterton, this is a good starter book. I’ve heard people say they find Chesterton hard to read, which I understand, but this is partly because of his ability to flip a phrase or turn a thought inside out and help you see from a perspective you never imagined. Some believe Chesterton to be the greatest Christian writer ever, and it would be hard to dispute that. If you love great writing and Christian thought, this is a must-read.

4. Plan B, Pete Wilson

This a book about how to deal with pain and disappointment in life. Pete Wilson weaves real life examples together with Biblical stories to show how and why God works through Plan Bs. I intend to do a full book review on Plan B and will save the details for then. This is a great book for anyone who lives in a fallen world, which is to say everyone.

5. Decline and Fall of  the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon (Vol I)

Yes, you read it right: Vol. I. This book is a monster (6 volumes), but it’s a classic, and I’m currently working my way through Volume II. Don’t make the mistake of just reading about classics. They are classics for a reason. History classics are usually classics not just because they are good history (often they aren’t) but because they are exceptionally well written.  This is certainly true of Gibbon, who is an incredible writer. He was a Rationalist child of the Enlightenment, and has all the expected biases, but reading this history of the early church’s growth within, and ultimate transformation of, the Roman Empire has been a treat.

Now to get reading for 2011… GS