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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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Proclaiming.

What [Adorno and Horkheimer] championed was neither high art or low culture, but art that exposed the contradictions of capitalist society rather than smoothing them over — in short, modernist art.
— Stuart Jeffries in Grand Hotel Abyss

This semester I’ve been thinking a lot about preaching and what it is. It is not primarily art and it’s not all about capitalism and society, but still — exposing the contradictions, crossing high and low; I would be very, very proud to be called a modernist preacher.

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