Top 13 Books of 2013

For what has become my favorite annual competition, five years ago a group of friends and I created a book reading competition–victory trophy and all. In the calendar year, our competition tracks the total number of books completed and the total number of pages in those completed books. I didn’t start ranking the books I read until a few years ago (you can see my year-to-year rankings here, here, and here). The only qualification is that the book didn’t need to be published in 2013, I just had to read it in its entirety within the 2013 calendar year. Also, my rankings exclude the Bible (which I read cover to cover every year) and my recent ebook, Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility Can Save the Public Square, because I am a tad bias toward each.

This year I set personal records in both books and pages! I completed 53 books for a total of 18,403 pages. To give a glimpse into the nerdity of our group, those totals will probably finish in third place. Wow-zah.

And if you’re wondering how in the world I can read so much, Kevin D. Hendricks explains it all.

Here are the Top 13 Books I read in 2013:

1.  The World As It Is by Chris Hedges — I’ve never read a book so thoughtful on all of contemporary culture’s most disturbing facets.

2.  The Doctrine of Reconciliation by Karl Barth (Church Dogmatics IV/II) — This 900 page behemoth is second to none in analyzing the Crucified and its implications to the Christian faith.

3.  Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohamed Cross the Road by Brian McLaren — An absolute must read for all bridge builders.

4.  Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf — This book focuses on the process of reconciliation from start to end.

5.  A Life of Unlearning (2nd Edition) by Anthony Venn-Brown — An amazing memoir of the life of a well known Australian preacher who was closeted.

6.  Cross Roads by Wm Paul Young — Another fantastic and thought provoking page-turner by Paul Young, author of The Shack.

7.  Philomena by Martin Sixsmith — Reality is indeed stranger than fiction; Irish Catholics stealing and selling wed-locked babies to Americans.

8.  The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by Dale Hanson Bourke — This very short book concisely sums up the conflict for all beginners.

9.  Unexpected Gifts by Chris Heuertz — A reflective masterpiece. See my 6-part interview series with Chris on his book here.

10. An American Caddie in St. Andrews by Oliver Horovitz — I live in St. Andrews and love golf. What more could I want from a book?

11. Empire of Illusion by Chris Hedges — Hedge’s second book on the list. After I read The World As It Is I couldn’t wait to read another of his. And it didn’t disappoint.

12. The Ethics of Memory by Avishai Margalit — Memory fools us into thinking it’s accurate. This fascinating book details the implications of what we wrongly think is automatic in memory, and why it matters with our everyday life and psyche.

13. Evil and the Justice of God by NT Wright — Is a great primer for all of the big questions, like, “Where was God when xxx tragedy happened?”

Best of the Rest:

The Seven Sins of Memory by Daniel Schacter

A Spacious Heart by Judith Gundry-Volf and Miroslav Volf

The Theory of Social and Economic Organization by Max Weber

Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey

Witness to Hope by George Weigel

Cinderella At My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

What books did you read this year that were your favorite?

Much love.

Check out Andrew’s new ebook, Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility Can Save the Public Square

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