This is a thing that people around the blogosphere have been doing, so I thought I’d join in. I think it might also be useful as an exercise to motivate myself to keep reading more and blogging more about it. In this spirit…
- The Bible. Funny, right? This year I’m doing more of an effort to read the bible thoroughly as a book, instead of by excerpts and through the daily Bible readings and the Liturgy of the Hours. Right now I am reading through the Pauline epistles. What a character, that Paul!
- The Bright Continent, by Dayo Olopade. If you know me, you’ll know that development is one of my pet issues, and this book by Olopade (which I fully plan to review more thoroughly once I’m done). This book is an excellent breath of fresh air. Not a sad tale of woe or yet another policy white paper, but rather an inspiring look at all the things that are going on on the ground in Africa that portend (as I always knew) of a bright future for that continent, which is bright indeed. Best book I read on Africa since the completely different Bottom Billion by Paul Collier.
- To Believe in Jesus, by Ruth Burrows, OCD. Ruth Burrows is an astonishing spiritual writer. Her book The Essence of Prayer had quite the effect on me–I read it while doing the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, and those two experiences together changed my life. Her Guidelines for Mystical Prayer (my copy of which is, Amazon tells me, in the mail) is, I’m told, quite the cult best-seller. It sounds silly when you put it that way, because how could that fill up so many books, but everything she writes is about how you should put your whole life at the foot of the Cross. But it does fill books, and they’re wonderful.
- Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration, by Joseph Ratzinger. Ratzinger’s Jesus trilogy is just wonderful. And Ratzinger is a wonderful theologian and, also, a writer whose style is very affecting, which shines Ratzinger’s own striking humility. I read the book on the infancy narrative over Advent, and it was great. This one is also great. At one point, Ratzinger writes that his Jesus books have been in the making since he was a child, and I believe him. Ratzinger’s theology is Christ-centered, and these books form a sort of capstone to his thinking. They are essentially a Gospel commentary that brings to bear absolutely everything in the Church’s Tradition–the Fathers, the historical-critical method, and everything inbetween. Highly recommended.
EDIT: This just showed up in the mail. So consider I’m reading them too.