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Books I’ve Read in 2019

Last year, someone said to me, “but the point of reading a book isn’t to finish it and put it on a list of books you say you’ve read!,” and I thought “oh, you have no idea that that’s exactly what I do.” I’m trying to move away from looking at books as something to achieve and complete, yet I still like to be able to look back on and remember what I’ve read. So far this year —

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Wave.

Hey there. It’s been a while. I’ve got some thoughts about returning to writing and taking pictures again soon, but they’re still only thoughts.

For now, I can tell you that Fleming Rutledge’s The Crucifixion was my favorite book I read in 2018, with Iris Murdoch’s The Green Knight runner-up. It took me over a month of 2019 to slog through Murdoch’s The Sea, the Sea; I’d been told to read it several times, but it was my least favorite of hers so far. And I know I read something else before that, but I can’t remember what, and that suggests it wasn’t a win.

I can tell you that Bon Appetit’s Adult Mac & Cheese is worth getting down by memory and feel, without measuring cups; it’s not revolutionary, but it’s quick and just a few ingredients and less frustrating than cacio e pepe. Alison Roman’s The Stew, as Instagram calls it, is worth the hype.

Finally, I’ve been thinking about Chuck DeGroat’s words on Transfiguration Sunday & Ash Wednesday. I am a speck of dust. The world was made for me.

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Books I’ve Read in 2018

I’ve begun the habit of listing each book I read in posts by year. I like the sense of accomplishment from uploading and watching each thumbnail appear, and I like skimming over and remembering what I’ve read.

Last year I read exactly 52 books (not counting the dryer requiring reading for classes). I’m proud of having read an average of a book a week while in graduate school, and as I look over the covers, I’d say a good quarter or third of them were really good and meaningful. Not bad odds, but I’d like to read even better books in 2018.

The Death and Life of Great American Cities Wine. All the Time. How to Kill a City Harry Potter and the Cursed Child The Bread of Angels The Good of Giving Up The Enneagram Immortal Diamond Seizing Jerusalem Jesus: A Pilgrimage Islamism The Sacred Enneagram Destiny Disrupted One Hundred Suggestions for Seekers and Spiritual Activists Between the World and Me The Colonizer and the Colonized Camera Lucida My Beautiful Friend A Country Between House of Windows Ecumenism and the Reformed Church, Herman Harmelink III 46 47 48

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Possessed.

Think how much any individual mind, any brain, is enlarged by what we can know through books and through literature — places, people, ideas that we would never otherwise experience, things much larger than anyone could contain in his or her own person. People crave this. You go way back into antiquity and everybody is memorizing Homer, everybody is memorizing “The Epic of Gilgamesh” — works of literature that build the cultural mind and make it capacious. Most of us are not the creators of those things, but we possess ourselves of them — or they possess us of them. And each successive work of literature expands the possibilities of our language, deepening our expressive capacity. In almost every major literature there are works that make you love being human, and make you love and revere the humanity of other people. That is the great potential of any art.
Marilynne Robinson in The New York Times

I’ve been reading so much lately, a book every four or five days and often a book in a day. I’ve loved it; loved feeling my brain expand rapidly day by day by day. Marilynne always knows.

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Books I’ve Read in 2017

Should I Go to Grad School? Practical Typography Jerusalem: A Biography Our Family Outing The Interior Circuit Spiritual Friendship Chosen?: Reading the Bible Amid the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran Emily of Deep Valley Just the Essentials Telling the Truth The Foolishness of Preaching To Jerusalem and Back Word by Word I Am a Palestinian Christian Atheist Delusions Family Lexicon The Grammar of God Jesus and the Holocaust With Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus Once Upon a Country Originals Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved? Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory Night, Dawn, and Day The Baghdad Eucharist They Burn the Thistles Stations of the Heart Bird by Bird Children of Paradise God and the Gay Christian If Our Bodies Could Talk Blood Brothers The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Washing Notes on a Foreign Country The Reluctant Fundamentalist Grand Hotel Abyss Where Memory Leads The Temporary Bride The End of Words Burnt Books The Blood of the Lamb The Flaneur How Paris Became Paris Between Meals The Dud Avocado Dem Dry Bones God, Medicine, and Suffering To Relieve the Human Condition: Bioethics, Technology, and the Body

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