My Top Ten Books of 2019

Here are my Top Ten Books for 2019, and rather than rank them, I alphabetized them. None of them were published in 2019.

T.C. Boyle, The Relive Box: Stories

There’s no better short-story writer in America today than Boyle, and this book proved why. I had the added pleasure of listening to the audio version with Boyle himself reading it. Hilarious and haunting.

Dante, Paradiso

When I finished the third volume of The Divine Comedy, it was as though I were drawn up into heaven.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Many people I admire have read (and reread) this book, and summer was the perfect time to begin it. When I finally finished the book in early September, I had two immediate thoughts: 1) what a book! 2) I want to read it again.

John Gardner, On Moral Fiction

This was one of the first books I read after spring semester finished. I underlined so much of the content. Over forty years old, the book was a balm to my soul.

W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage

My mom mentioned that this was one of her favorite novels, and so I was curious to read it. An excellent book.

Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in Distracted World

I can’t recommend this book highly enough to those who have open and flexible work times.

John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces 

Few books I’ve read recently have made me laugh as much as this novel did. I savor narratives where the characters lack self-awareness, and this book did not disappoint.

Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other 

Even though the book was published roughly 10 years ago at the beginning of the smartphone revolution, I found it to be prescient and revealing.

Virgil, The Aeneid 

Over May and June I read this epic in the Robert Fagles translation. What a wondrous experience.

Brian Zahnd, Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God

This is one of my favorite pastoral writers. His sermons from Word of Life Church are phenomenal, and I think that I highlighted half of this book.

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