At the end of the poetry anthology Sinners Welcome by Mary Karr there is an essay by the author in which she discusses part of her journey of faith and the role of poetry in that journey. From reading it I realised how shallow my own experience of poetry is and that while setting out to read a poem a day is definitely worthwhile, it is just scratching the surface of truly experiencing poetry.
In memorizing the poems I loved, I “ate” them in a way. I breathed as the poet breathed to recite the words: Someone else’s suffering and passion entered my my body to change me, partly by joining me to others in a saving circle.
For the year ahead (i.e., 2018) I will continue reading a poem each day to broaden my experience, but I also would like to latch on to a couple of poems that really speak to me and read them over many times, write them out, speak them out and let them take root in me until I can feel the poem as well as read or recite it.
The Arkadians by Lloyd Alexander, January 2006 ISBN 0-525-45415-2
Golden Deeds by Catherine Chidley, January 2006 ISBN 0-86473-384-4
Backyard Battlefield by Ruud Kleinpaste, January 2006 ISBN 1-86941-691-0
Time Management by Harvard Business School, March 2006 ISBN 1-59139-633-6. Mostly common sense really, not much real depth to any of the topics.
Thriving in 24/7 (Six Strategies for Taming the New World of Work), by Sally Helgesen March 2006 ISBN 0-684-87303-6. All this book really told me is that my own intuition is better than what the life coaches have to say!
Easy Step by Step Guide to Stress and Time Management by Brian Lomas, March 2006 ISBN 0-9532987-3-6
Time Management for Dummies by Jeffrey J. Meyer, March 2006 ISBN 1-56884-360-7
FileMaker Pro 8 The Missing Manual by Geoff Coffey & Susan Prosser, April 2006 ISBN 0-596-00579-2
Too busy NOT to Pray by Bill Hybels, May 2006 ISBN 0-85110-896-2
Brendan Chase by ‘BB’ (with illustrations by D.J. Watkins-Pitchford), June 2006 ISBN 0-416-58830-1
The Mind Map Book by Tony & Barry BuzanJanuary 2005 ISBN 0-563-48701-1
Raising Boys (2nd Edition) by Steve BiddulphFebruary 2005 ISBN 1-876451-50-5
Too Busy NOT to Pray by Bill HybelsFebruary 2005 ISBN 0-85110-896-2
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling February 2005 ISBN 0-7475-3849-2
Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. LewisMarch 2005 ISBN 0-330-02172-9
Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff at Work by Richard CarlsonApril 2005 ISBN 1-86325-184-7. Rather light and fluffy, mildly encouraging but really just common sense and nothing especially enlightening.
Peacetime by Robert EdricApril 2005 ISBN 0385-602979
God’s Books, Genetics & Genesis by Graeme FinlayApril 2005 ISBN-0-476-00651-1
The Problem of Pain by C.S. LewisApril 2005 ISBN 0-00-624567-6
Evolution From Creation to New Creation by Ted Peters and Martinez Hewlet May 2005 ISBN 0-687-02374-2. A very interesting and balanced discussion of the various viewpoints and what I consider to be a useful and probably fairly correct theory of how evolution and Christian theology can be reconciled
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (illustrated by Nicola Bayley 2005) June 2005 ISBN 0-7445-8643-7
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. RowlingJune 2005 ISBN 0-7475-5099-9
Harry Potter and the Order of The Pheonix by J.K. RowlingJuly 2005 ISBN 0-7475-5100-6
Habitat of Grace (Biology, Christianity and the global environmental crisis) by Carolyn M. King July 2005 ISBN 0-9586-3998-1. I did not find this an easy book to read, partly due to writing style, but mostly because it challenged some very deeply held ideas and did not give much in the way of useful substitutes for all the Christian beliefs that it tried to demolish. From reading this book I end up wondering if the author would in fact be a Christian if that means believing in an historical Christ who was crucified and raised from the dead in bodily form. Some interesting ideas in this book, but really it has done absolutely nothing for my own faith.
Perelandra by C.S. LewisJuly 2005 ISBN 0-02-086900-2
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. RowlingJuly 2005 ISBN 0-7475-8108-8
The Case For Christ by Lee StrobelJuly 2005 ISBN 0-310-22655-4
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet MarillierAugust 2005 ISBN 0-330-36193-7
The Haunting of Lara Lawson by Christine Johnston September 2005 ISBN 1-86950-155-1
Goodbye Molly McGuire by Christine JohnstonSeptember 2005 ISBN 1-86950-135-7
A Friend of Jack McGuire by Christine Johnston September 2005 ISBN 1-86950-208-6
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling September 2005 ISBN 0-7475-8108-8
Book Book by Fiona FarrellOctober 2005 ISBN 1-86941-619-8
The Shark Bell by Christine JohnstonOctober 2005 ISBN 0-14-301824-8
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling October 2005 ISBN 0-7475-4629
The Secret of Happy Children by Steve BiddulphNovember 2005 ISBN 0-85835-815-8
In A Fishbone Church by Catherine Chidgey November 2005 ISBN 0-86473-335-6
I Am David by Anne Holm December 2005 ISBN 0-7497-0136-6
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling December 2005 ISBN 0-7475-5099-9
Writing Fiction: An introduction to the craft by Garry Disher. Finished January 2004. ISBN 1-86508-589-8.
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.
Mastering Fiction Writing by Kit Reed. Finished January 2004. ISBN 0-89879-479-X.
Timing is Everything by Denis Waitley. Finished January 2004. ISBN ISBN 0-8407-9163-1.
A Passion for Life (Young New Zealanders Doing Business) by Rebecca Wilson and Bronwyn Evans. Finished January 2004. ISBN 0-908704-87-9.
Sieze The Day by Danny Cox and John Hoover. Finished February 2004. ISBN 1-56414-607-3.
Sur/petition by Edward De Bono. Finished February 2004. In a word; crap. ISBN 0-88730-599-7.
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.
Questions of Life by Nicky Gumbel. Finished March 2004. ISBN 0-85476-591-3.
J.K. Rowling (A Biography) by Sean Smith. Finished March 2004. ISBN 1-85479-820-0.
Reading Harry Potter (Critical essays) by Giselle Liza Anatol (Editor). Finished April 2004. ISBN 0-313-32067-5.
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.
Joni by Joni Eareckson. Finished April 2004. ISBN 0-310-23961-3.
Owls Do Cry by Janet Frame. Finished April 2004. ISBN 1-86941-129-3.
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.
Fear No evil (A personal struggle with cancer) by David Watson. Finished April 2004. ISBN 0-340-34641-8.
The Cartoon Guide To Statistics by Larry Gonick and Woollcott Smith. Finished May 2004. ISBN 0-06-273102-5.
Fundamentals of Clinical Trials by Lawrence M. Friedman, Curt Furberg and David L. DeMets. Finished May 2004. ISBN-0-387-98586-7
Pharmaceutical Statistics by David Jones. Finished May 2004. ISBN 0-85369-425-7
The Natural History of Weasels & Stoats by Carolyn King. Finished May 2004. ISBN 0-8014-2428-3.
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!
The Shaman’s Stone by Hugh Scott. Finished May 2004. ISBN 0-571-14111-0
The Authoritative Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson. Finished May 2004. ISBN 0-8362-1822-1
Preparing Scientific Illustrations by Mary Helen Briscoe. Finished June 2004. ISBN 0-387-94581-4
Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling. Finished June 2004. ISBN 0-7475-5100-6
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. Finished June 2004. ISBN 0-340-17930-9
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Finished June 2004. ISBN 0-261-10325-3
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Finished July 2004. ISBN 0-552-14951-9
Too Busy NOT to pray by Bill Hybels. Finished July 2004. ISBN 0-85110-896-2
Billy (The Complete Life Story Of A Comic Genius) by Pamela Stephenson. Finished August 2004. ISBN 0-00-7110928
the petty details of so-and-so’s life by Camilla Gibb. Finished September 2004. A really good novel. ISBN 0-434-00977-6
The Treekeepers by Susan McGee Britton. Finished October 2004. ISBN 0-525-46944-3
The Triumph of Narrative (Storytelling in the Age of mass Culture) by Robert Fulford. Finished October 2004. ISBN 0-88789-645-9
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. Finished October 2004. ISBN 0-7475-3274-5
Wren To The Rescue by Sherwood Smith. Finished October 2004. ISBN 0-15-200975-2
Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. Finished October 2004. ISBN 1-86197-6127
A Plague of Sorcerers by Mary Frances Zambreno. Finished November 2004. ISBN 0-15-262430-9
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.
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).
Future Grace by John Piper. Finished February 2008. ISBN 1-59052-191-9.
Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. Finished March 2008. ISBN 1-877178-00-4
The Dip by Seth Godin. Finished April 2008. ISBN 978-0-7499-2830-8.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. Finished April 2008. ISBN 1-86350-029-4
Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. Finished May 2008. ISBN 0-00-628054-4
Getting Unstuck by Timothy Butler. Finished May 2008. ISBN-13: 978-1-4221-0225-1
Closer Than Your Skin by Susan D. Hill Finished June 2008 ISBN 978-1-4000-7382-5
Stress Less by Averil Overton Finished June 2008 ISBN 1-86941-671-6
Simplicity by Edward De Bono Finished June 2008
Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg Finished July 2008 ISBN 1-892005-02-6
The Now Habit by Neil Fiore Finished July 2008 ISBN 987-1-58542-552-5
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.
The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper Finished August 2008 ISBN 0-8010-7112-7. A book well worth reading again.
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.
Grace Abounding To the Chief of Sinners by John Bunyan Finished October 2008
Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan Finished November 2008 ISBN 1-85326-468-7
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)
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
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.
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.
This page is what I think of as my ‘reading pipeline’. Here you will find the books I’m currently in the process of reading (I tend to have a few on the go at once as different books suit different moods and levels of concentration), a few of the books in the queue to be read next (unless something else catches my interest before I get to them), and then the books I have finished reading this year.
When I read a book, I read the whole thing. I know many folks recommend abandoning books that are not particularly interesting and to skim books to get the gist of them. I don’t do that. If I decide to read a book I keep going until I get right through it, sometimes this can take over a year as I read other stuff in between visits to a less interesting book but I do like to complete the books I start. Perhaps this is a waste of time but it’s my time and I’d rather waste it reading a boring book than dicking around on Facebook.
A Victorian Naturalist, Beatrix Potter’s Drawings from the Armitt Collection by Eileen Jay, Mary Noble & Anne Stevenson Hobbs. A magnificant book featuring impressive scientific illustrations of fungi by Beatrix Potter. Her cute animal stories are only the tip of her amazing talents as an artist.
Big Blue Sky, a memoir by Peter Garrett. Really enjoying this book, well written and about someone I’ve long admired.
There are some books that I intentionally read slowly in order to let their message sink in or to enjoy the experience of digesting smaller morsels that are rich in meaning.
As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. 2/10 Finished 7 July 2017. (Kindle edition) (Similar ideas to ‘Think and Grow Rich’ but better written and not as absurd).
The Corruption of Malcolm Gladwell by Yashua Levine. 4/10 Finished 15 July 2017. (Kindle edition) An obviously biased perspective but does give some insight into what may lie behind some of Malcolm Gladwell’s writing.
The Demise of Guys by Philip Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan. 3/10 Finished 1 August 2017. (Kindle edition) A somewhat longwinded and repetitive opining that porn and video games are ruining a generation of man-boys.
Can I Have Joy in My Life by R.C. Sproul. 7/10 Finished 9 August 2017. (Kindle edition) A short book about the source and cultivation of Christian joy. I’d love to have a longer, more in-depth version by this same author
Pray Like It Matters by Steve Gaines. 4/10 Finished 13 September 2017. (Kindle edition).
Surfing for God by Michael John Cusick 7/10 Finished 29 October 2017.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Kindle edition). 8/10 Finished 29 November 2017. I read this book when in my twenties and was impressed with it then, but reading it now makes me amazed at how young and stupid I must have been not to see more in it. I guess also our society has progressed rapidly along the path of elevating the pursuit of happiness to being the ultimate good to which all strive. This particular edition has an interesting essay by the author written about 30 years after he wrote the story.
Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell. 8/10 Finished 10 December 2017. (Kindle edition).
Other People’s ‘Reading’ Pages
What make the internet great is the ability to see what others do and learn from it, so here is where I have learned from others:
As you can see from this list, I read a lot of fiction this year, particularly fantasy novels (the entire ‘Wheel of Time’ series and started ‘Game of Thrones’). The Luminaries was an excellent book that had been sitting on my shelf for over a year before I was game to dive into such a thick tome.
For non-fiction, the self-help books ranged from complete garbage (‘Choose Yourself’ by James Altucher and ‘The Desire Map’ by Danielle LaPorte) through to outstanding (‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain). The Case For Working With Your Hands by Matthew Crawford was an interesting book, I didn’t completely agree with his viewpoint some of the time but it was good food for thought. The book about Amy Carmichael by Sam Wellman was a really good biography of her life, Amy Carmichael is someone I’ve admired for a long time, her faith is true inspiration.
The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. (Wheel of Time book 1)
The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan. (Wheel of Time book 2)
The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan. (Wheel of Time book 3)
The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan. (Wheel of Time book 4) Finished 4 April 2016
The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan. (Wheel of Time book 5) Finished 11 April 2016
Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan. (Wheel of Time book 6) Finished 19 April 2016