Devotional reading in the digital age

I was sent a link to this article: Devotional Reading in the Digital Age today by my friend Chris.

I could anticipate the likely conclusion of the author before I began reading, but was pleased to see a subtitle ‘Let’s not be luddites‘ towards the end of the piece. Overall, the argument is that a smartphone is designed for communication and makes this so easy to do that remaining undistracted while using one to read a digital bible is quite difficult when compared to reading a paper version.

Personally, I do find this to be the case for myself. Sometimes I purposely leave my phone in a different room to avoid the temptation to fart around on social media instead of reading the bible. However, I disagree that meditating on the word of God is better with a paper bible. What I actually find is that I meditate on God’s word when I have no bible in my hand – this is when I think about what I have read or remembered and try to understand it. I may refer back to a bible, but that is often on my phone while I am walking, so a case can be made that having the bible on a digital device that’s always with you enhances meditation.

Anyway, it is a good article and a topic worth being mindful of. There are also some interesting looking links at the bottom of the article that I will get around to reading some time.

2004 Reading

The books I read in 2004.

  1. Writing Fiction: An introduction to the craft by Garry Disher. Finished January 2004. ISBN 1-86508-589-8.
  2. The E Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber. Finished January 2004. ISBN 0-88730-728-0. Basically sings the prasies of companies such as McDonalds which are franchised and operate on the basis of very tightly controlled systems with minimal creativity.
  3. Mastering Fiction Writing by Kit Reed. Finished January 2004. ISBN 0-89879-479-X.
  4. Timing is Everything by Denis Waitley. Finished January 2004. ISBN ISBN 0-8407-9163-1.
  5. A Passion for Life (Young New Zealanders Doing Business) by Rebecca Wilson and Bronwyn Evans. Finished January 2004. ISBN 0-908704-87-9.
  6. Sieze The Day by Danny Cox and John Hoover. Finished February 2004. ISBN 1-56414-607-3.
  7. Sur/petition by Edward De Bono. Finished February 2004. In a word; crap. ISBN 0-88730-599-7.
  8. Why We Buy (The Science of Shopping) by Paco Underhill. Finished February 2004. A fascinating and amusing book about observations on how people actually behave in shops and why shop designers need to consider how stuff works in the real world. ISBN 0-684-84913-5.
  9. Questions of Life by Nicky Gumbel. Finished March 2004. ISBN 0-85476-591-3.
  10. J.K. Rowling (A Biography) by Sean Smith. Finished March 2004. ISBN 1-85479-820-0.
  11. Reading Harry Potter (Critical essays) by Giselle Liza Anatol (Editor). Finished April 2004. ISBN 0-313-32067-5.
  12. 500 Tips for Research Students by Sally Brown, Liz McDowell and Phil Race. Finished April 2004. There is some really good stuff in this book. ISBN 0-7494-1767-6.
  13. Joni by Joni Eareckson. Finished April 2004. ISBN 0-310-23961-3.
  14. Owls Do Cry by Janet Frame. Finished April 2004. ISBN 1-86941-129-3.
  15. Writing the Laboratory Notebook by Howard M. Kanare. Finished April 2004. A really useful reminder of the significance of lab notebooks and the importance of keeping an accurate, detailed and permanent record of research done. ISBN 0-8412-0906-5.
  16. Fear No evil (A personal struggle with cancer) by David Watson. Finished April 2004. ISBN 0-340-34641-8.
  17. The Cartoon Guide To Statistics by Larry Gonick and Woollcott Smith. Finished May 2004. ISBN 0-06-273102-5.
  18. Fundamentals of Clinical Trials by Lawrence M. Friedman, Curt Furberg and David L. DeMets. Finished May 2004. ISBN-0-387-98586-7
  19. Pharmaceutical Statistics by David Jones. Finished May 2004. ISBN 0-85369-425-7
  20. The Natural History of Weasels & Stoats by Carolyn King. Finished May 2004. ISBN 0-8014-2428-3.
  21. Statistics Without Tears A Primer For Non-mathematicians by Derek Rowntree. Finished May 2004. A really useful little book – suddenly some statistical concepts seem much clearer!
  22. The Shaman’s Stone by Hugh Scott. Finished May 2004. ISBN 0-571-14111-0
  23. The Authoritative Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson. Finished May 2004. ISBN 0-8362-1822-1
  24. Preparing Scientific Illustrations by Mary Helen Briscoe. Finished June 2004. ISBN 0-387-94581-4
  25. Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling. Finished June 2004. ISBN 0-7475-5100-6
  26. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. Finished June 2004. ISBN 0-340-17930-9
  27. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Finished June 2004. ISBN 0-261-10325-3
  28. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Finished July 2004. ISBN 0-552-14951-9
  29. Too Busy NOT to pray by Bill Hybels. Finished July 2004. ISBN 0-85110-896-2
  30. Billy (The Complete Life Story Of A Comic Genius) by Pamela Stephenson. Finished August 2004. ISBN 0-00-7110928
  31. the petty details of so-and-so’s life by Camilla Gibb. Finished September 2004. A really good novel. ISBN 0-434-00977-6
  32. The Treekeepers by Susan McGee Britton. Finished October 2004. ISBN 0-525-46944-3
  33. The Triumph of Narrative (Storytelling in the Age of mass Culture) by Robert Fulford. Finished October 2004. ISBN 0-88789-645-9
  34. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. Finished October 2004. ISBN 0-7475-3274-5
  35. Wren To The Rescue by Sherwood Smith. Finished October 2004. ISBN 0-15-200975-2
  36. Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. Finished October 2004. ISBN 1-86197-6127
  37. A Plague of Sorcerers by Mary Frances Zambreno. Finished November 2004. ISBN 0-15-262430-9

2008 Reading

There are a finite number of hours in my life, and only a limited number of books that I can read. Realistically, I can easily read one book per month; 12 books per year; 396 books before I am 70.

In choosing books to read, try to aim for literature that will enrich my soul – opt for quality rather than quantity.

  1. Getting Things Done: the Art of Stress Free Productivity by David Allen. Finished January 2008. (2001) ISBN 0-14-200028-0. This is probably the first productivity book to have truly changed the way I approach managing my work (and been effective).
  2. Future Grace by John Piper. Finished February 2008. ISBN 1-59052-191-9.
  3. Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. Finished March 2008. ISBN 1-877178-00-4
  4. The Dip by Seth Godin. Finished April 2008. ISBN 978-0-7499-2830-8.
  5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. Finished April 2008. ISBN 1-86350-029-4
  6. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. Finished May 2008. ISBN 0-00-628054-4
  7. Getting Unstuck by Timothy Butler. Finished May 2008. ISBN-13: 978-1-4221-0225-1
  8. Closer Than Your Skin by Susan D. Hill Finished June 2008 ISBN 978-1-4000-7382-5
  9. Stress Less by Averil Overton Finished June 2008 ISBN 1-86941-671-6
  10. Simplicity by Edward De Bono Finished June 2008
  11. Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg Finished July 2008 ISBN 1-892005-02-6
  12. The Now Habit by Neil Fiore Finished July 2008 ISBN 987-1-58542-552-5
  13. Meditation in a New York Minute by Mark Thornton Finished July 2008 ISBN 1-59179-429-3. The first half of this book has some ideas which could apply to prayer, but fundamentally I disagree with what the author is saying.
  14. The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper Finished August 2008 ISBN 0-8010-7112-7. A book well worth reading again.
  15. George Müller, Delighted in God by Roger Steer Finished September 2008 ISBN 0-340-26709-7. I am very impressed by the life of George Müller and would like to read more about him, especially what he wrote himself.
  16. Grace Abounding To the Chief of Sinners by John Bunyan Finished October 2008
  17. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan Finished November 2008 ISBN 1-85326-468-7

My giant list of books to read

Books I intend to read

These are books I already own because at some point I have decided that I want to read them.

The lists below are not in any particular order, though I have split them into hardcopy vs Kindle to help me keep track of where each book is located and have separated out poetry books because I like to see what poetry books I’ve got in a list of their own.


I read poetry books fairly slowly, but also like to read them multiple times. I prefer reading poetry from ‘real’ books (paper ones) so these are mostly hard copy books, the few Kindle versions are marked as such.

  • Unholy Sonnets by Mark Jarman (ISBN 1-885266-87-1)
  • Poems of Nazim Hikmet (ISBN 978-0-89255-274-0)
  • Electric Light by Seamus Heaney (Kindle)
  • Second Sky by Tania Runyan
  • A Selection of Poetry by Christopher Smart
  • Antonio Machado: Selected Poems by Antonio Machado
  • Collected Poems by Ted Hughes
  • The Complete Poems by Walt Whitman
  • Selected Poems of Ezra Pound by Ezra Pound
  • Nine Horses by Billy Collins
  • Poems 1962-2012 by Louise Glück
  • These Intricacies by Dave Harrity
  • The Poems by W.B. Yeats
  • Complete Poems by Marianne Moore (Kindle)
  • The Complete Poems by Walt Whitman (Kindle)
  • Edgar Allan Poe’s Complete Poetical Works by Edgar Allan Poe (Kindle)
  • The Complete English Poems by George Herbert (Kindle)
  • Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (Kindle)
  • Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai (Kindle)
  • Lunch Poems (City Lights Pocket Poets Series) by Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery
  • Delights & Shadows by Ted Kooser

Hard Copy (Paper) Books

I really like real books but for some reason it is often easier to pick up my Kindle for short bursts of reading so I tend to get through more Kindle books than paper ones.

  • The Cross of Christ by John R. W. Stott
  • The Evil of Evils: The Exceeding Sinfulness of Sin by Jeremiah Burroughs
  • Fair Trade for All: How Trade Can Promote Development by Joseph E. Stiglitz
  • How to Write a Poem: Based on the Billy Collins Poem “Introduction to Poetry” by Tania Runyan
  • The Letter to the Ephesians by Peter T. O’Brien
  • A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver
  • The Suicidal Mind by Edwin S. Shneidman
  • The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs
  • Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide by Kay Redfield Jamison
  • Praying the Psalms: Engaging Scripture and the Life of the Spirit by Walter Brueggemann
  • Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: Prayers of Walter Brueggemann by Walter Brueggemann & Edwin Searcy
  • The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom by Henri J. M. Nouwen
  • A Journey to Victorious Praying: Finding Discipline and Delight in Your Prayer Life by Bill Thrasher
  • Scripture by Heart: Devotional Practices for Memorizing God’s Word by Joshua Choonmin Kang & Dallas Willard
  • Can You Drink the Cup? by Henri J. M. Nouwen & Ron Hansen
  • The Epistle to the Romans by Douglas J. Moo
  • Prayer by John Bunyan
  • 2 Samuel: Out of Every Adversity by Dale Ralph Davis
  • 1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart by Dale Ralph Davis
  • Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera by Bryan Peterson
  • Communion with God by John Owen
  • The Unity of the Bible: Unfolding God’s Plan for Humanity by Daniel P. Fuller
  • How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
  • Psalms 1-72 by Derek Kidner
  • Psalms 73-150 by Derek Kidner
  • The Works of John Newton, Volume 1
  • The Works of John Newton, Volume 2
  • The Works of John Newton, Volume 3
  • The Works of John Newton, Volume 4
  • The Works of John Newton, Volume 5
  • The Works of John Newton, Volume 6
  • Church History by Eusebius
  • The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry Garrard
  • Living in the Maniototo by Janet Frame
  • Stories and Poems by Janet Frame
  • The Book of Acts by F.F. Bruce
  • By Grace Alone: How the Grace of God Amazes Me by Sinclair B. Ferguson
  • The Confessions of Saint Augustine by Saint Augustine
  • Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary by Harold W. Hoehner
  • The Epistle to the Romans by Douglas J. Moo

Kindle books

Why the preference for Kindle books? Mostly it comes down to price and availability – living in New Zealand means that books are really expensive here and the selection in local book shops is quite limited. As you may note from this page, my taste are not exactly mainstream or popular culture so I purchase a lot of my books online. Shipping to NZ from Europe or the US is expensive and slow, whereas ebooks have no shipping costs associated with them and delivery is instant (though the size of this list indicates that a book will sit on my ‘shelf’ for a lot longer than it would take to be shipped here!).

Another reason why I have so many Kindle books is that I have picked up many of them free or very cheap on sale at a rate faster than I could read them.

On bullshit

I just wasted about 15 minutes reading an essay by Harry Frankfurt on Bullshit. Why? I followed a link from Venkatesh Rao’s ‘Reading Now’ page out of curiosity. I have included a link to a PDF of the essay below, if you really want to read it I recommend looking at the last two pages first as they sum up what to me seems a tenuous argument.

Bullshit is unavoidable whenever circumstances require someone to talk without knowing what he is talking about. (One sentence I found worth quoting from On Bullshit)

What is more interesting is the page on the Faversham Stoa philosophy discussion group’s site about the topic of bullshit. From there I followed a link to an article in Slate magazine at the bottom of which was a few paragraphs about how much bullshit was emanating from the Bush administration.

The Bush administration is clearly more bullshit-heavy than its predecessors.

In the shadow of Trump that comment seems quaint.

Taking inspiration from Craig Mod

I stumbled across Craig Mod about five years ago when I read his excellent essay Hack the Cover, which then lead me to another outstanding article, Books in the Age of the iPad and also Post Artifact Books & Publishing.

Then yesterday as I was casting around the web fishing for inspiration for my About page which needs a serious overhaul, I again came across his website and was inspired by both its nice clean layout and his interesting bio page. I also clipped a bunch of his articles to Evernote for further perusal. If any of this results in changes to my own site I will give credit as appropriate.

Craig Mod on the Indie Web

A good article about publishing independantly on the web: All you need is publish

Craft Indie is lose your afternoon to RSS 2.0 vs Atom specifications indie. Craft Indie is .htaccessing the perfect URL indie. Craft Indie is cool your eyes don’t change indie. Craft Indie is pixel tweaking line-heights, margins, padding … of the copyright in the footer indie. Craft Indie is #efefe7 not #efefef indie. Craft Indie is fatiguing indie, you-gotta-love-it indie, you-gotta-get-off-on-this-mania indie.