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Books of 2009

Well, in 2009 it appears that I read 54 books, which is quite a bit less than each of the last three or four years, but is not surprising given everything that happened last year.  Also, given that most of my ‘academic’ reading time has been designated for the thesis/book I am writing on Paul, it’s not surprising that the fiction category dominates.  In each category I’ve placed a (+) next to the book I considered the best in that category and a (-) next to the book I considered the worst.  In some categories, this was harder to determine than in others.  My ‘book of the year’ award would be a tie between Rilke’s Duino Elegies and Dunn’s second volume of Christianity in the Making.
Biblical Studies (9)

  • Badiou, Alain. Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism.
  • Carter, Warren. John and Empire: Initial Explorations.
  • Dunn, James D. G. Beginning from Jerusalem: Christianity in the Making, Volume 2. (+)
  • Ehrman, Bart D. Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don’t Know About Them).
  • Hardin, Justin K. Galatians and the Imperial Cult: A Critical Analysis of the First-Century Social Context of Paul’s Letter.
  • Jennings, Jr., Theodore W. Reading Derrida/Thinking Paul: On Justice.
  • Kim, Seyoon. Christ and Caesar: The Gospel and the Roman Empire in the Writings of Paul and Luke. (-)
  • Meggitt, Justin J. Paul, Poverty and Survival.
  • Taubes, Jacob. The Political Theology of Paul.

Theology and Christian Life (6)

  • Barth, Karl. Church Dogmatics II.2: The Doctrine of God. (+)
  • Benson, Bruce Ellis and Peter Goodwin Heltzel (eds). Evangelicals and Empire. Christian Alternatives to the Political Status Quo.
  • Gutierrez, Gustavo. The Power of the Poor in History.
  • McLaren, Brian D. The Last Word and the Word After That: A Tale of Faith, Doubt, and a New Kind of Christian.
  • Nouwen, Henri J. M. The Inner Voice of Love.
  • Woodley Matt. The Folly of Prayer: Practicing the Presence and Absence of God. (-)

Philosophy and Social Theory/Commentary (11)

  • Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation. (-)
  • Churchill, Ward. Pacifism as Pathology.
  • Foucault, Michel. Madness and Civilization.
  • Gelderloos, Peter. How Nonviolence Supports the State.
  • INCITE! (ed). The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex.
  • Kropotkin, Peter. Fugitive Writings.
  • Lenskyj, Helen Jefferson. Olympic Industry Resistance: Challenging Olympic Power and Propaganda.
  • Malia, Martin. Alexander Herzen and the Rise of Russian Socialism.
  • Rancière, Jacques. Hatred of Democracy.
  • Žižek, Slavoj. Violence. (+)
  • ________. First as Tragedy, Then as Farce.

Literature, Poetry, Plays, Art (28)

  • Baldaev, Danzig (ed). Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia, Vols. 1 & 3.
  • Burns, Charles. Black Hole.
  • Camus, Albert. The Just.
  • Egil’s Saga (Penguin Classics Edition).
  • Goncharov, Ivan. Oblomov.
  • Goya, Francisco. The Disasters of War.
  • Hesse, Hermann. Demian. (-)
  • ________. Gertrude.
  • McCarthy, Cormac. Blood Meridian Or the Evening Redness in the West.
  • ________. Child of God.
  • ________. No Country for Old Men.
  • ________. The Road.
  • Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman.
  • Rilke, Rainer Maria. Duino Elegies & The Sonnets to Orpheus. (+)
  • ________. Uncollected Poems.
  • Robinson, Marilynne. Gilead.
  • Salinger, J. D. Franny and Zooey.
  • Saramago, José. Blindness.
  • Stegner, Wallace. The Big Rock Candy Mountain.
  • Toews, Miriam. A Complicated Kindnes.
  • Undset, Sigrid. The Wreath.
  • ________. The Wife.
  • ________. The Cross.
  • ________. Gunnar’s Daughter.
  • Updike, John. Rabbit is Rich.
  • ________. Rabbit at Rest.
  • Zigrosser, Carl (ed). Prints and Drawings of Käthe Kollwitz.

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  1. Well, as I said above, some categories were easier to do than others. Other lit contenders for the (+) were the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy and Blood Meridian — both of which, IMO, were better than Franny and Zooey (which was still great). However, I ended up going with the Duino Elegies because there were so many passages therein that left me breathless and simply gobsmacked.