A Book Meme (Annotated)
1) Two books that changed your life:
Malcolm X (Alex Haley), Autobiography of Malcom X. Extraordinarily well-written apology for anger. Blew up the usual romantic ideas of idyllic American ("Christian") life in the first half of the 20th century.
N. T. Wright, Christian Origins and the Question of God (a series), particularly The New Testament and the People of God and Jesus and the Victory of God. Completely changed the way I view my task as a reader of the Bible.
2) One book that you've read more than once:
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird. Arguably the best 'story' written.
3) One book you'd want on a desert island:
J. R. R. Tolkein, The Lord of the Rings (trilogy...is that cheating?). Perhaps the smoke ring instruction could help me send signals for help...
4) One book that made you laugh:
Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz
5) One book that made you cry:
Sheldon Vanauken, A Severe Mercy
6) Books that you wish had been written:
Jesus at 30: an Autobiography
Flannery O'Connor, How to Read my Stories
Saul of Tarsus, How to Read my Letters
7) Books that you wish had never been written:
Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth
and the LeHay/Jenkins illiterary masterpiece, the Left Behind series. On the other hand, good things happen when people read crap and learn from mistakes. There's more critical thinking, more careful reading of the Bible, and less face-value acceptance of the judgments of one's authorities. And believers will never see the end of speculation, so learning how to deal with it is a healthy thing I think. Perhaps in the long run these are valuable as a cautionary tale?
8) Books that you're currently reading:
Summer means getting up to speed, reading things I should have read before embarking on a NT PhD, such as
Neill and Wright, The Interpretation of the New Testament 1861-1986. Absolutely a brilliant book--sometimes a bit surprising at who gets included/excluded, and a little chummy, but loads of interesting facts and quotes, and a good 'narrative' flow that keeps the reader engaged. Good review and a glance at the big picture; helps one see how one's own academic work is part of a narrative.
Charlesworth and co., OT Pseudepigrapha vol. 1.
David deSilva, Introduction to the Apocrypha. Good read and a helpful/healthy approach for Protestants.
9) One book you've been meaning to read:
Anything in German. It's hard to get past articles, though.
10) Books you hope to read:
Mike Bird's published dissertation, Jesus and the Origins of the Gentile Mission.
11) Another book you love:
Richard Bauckham, God Crucified
12) Books you loved but left unfinished:
Richard Wright, Native Son. I stopped at the end of book 1--simply too intense, like watching 8 consecutive episodes of 24. Very good psychological read of Afr-Amer mind, however, esp in relation to 'white America.'
Numerous commentaries on Matthew, including Davies-Allison and Keener.
Joel B. Green, Narrative Reading, Narrative Preaching. Great first two chapters, but then...
Green's Gospel of Luke Commentary (NICNT). My favorite, I think--on any book; yet I haven't read it cover-to-cover.
Michael J. Gorman, Cruciformity and Apostle of the Crucified Lord. Both great, both regrettably still incomplete.
13) Best book turned into a movie. Tops is To Kill a Mockingbird. Includes some of the best 'movie moments' as well as arguably some of the best child acting in cinema history. The film version of To End All Wars is quite powerful and deserves more pub in my opinion. Not a great film, but a great story.