Tag Archives: all things for good

2012 Year In Review: Non-Fiction

Top Ten

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1. THE WAGES OF SPIN by Dr. Carl Trueman
I predicted back in April that this book would probably be “the best piece of non-fiction I read in 2012.” Turns out I was right. This essay collection is short, sharp, challenging, and frequently hilarious: a prime example of why Trueman is one of my favorite writers. Full review
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2. TEN WAYS TO DESTROY THE IMAGINATION OF YOUR CHILD by Anthony Esolen
The title is potentially misleading: this is not a book exclusively for parents. Anybody can (and should) read this book, because anybody can (and will) benefit from it. It’s a witty, gritty, and delightfully subversive assault on the Bastions of Modern Educational Theory and Practice, and Esolen’s satiric flair is worthy of Uncle Screwtape himself. Full review
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3. WORDSMITHY by Douglas Wilson
My favorite writing book. Whether you want to write full time, or merely have a passing interest in it – this slim little volume should be on your shelf. It’s just that good. Full review
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4. BLACK HAWK DOWN by Mark Bowden
One of the ugliest, most beautiful books I’ve ever read. Ugly for its depiction of modern warfare; beautiful for its depiction of the men who endured it. A must-read if there ever was one. Full review
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5. JUST DO SOMETHING by Kevin DeYoung
Want to know what the subtitle is? How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, Etc. That pretty much tells you everything you need to know. Full review
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On the Bookshelf IV

Cuba Libre by Elmore Leonard
Revolves around the Spanish-American War of 1898 and the Cuban fight for independence. I’d never read anything by Leonard up until now, but I think he may become a favorite. His talent for characterization, plotting, and dialogue is quite something.
Born Again by Charles Colson
In 1974, Colson pleaded guilty to Watergate-related offenses and spent seven months in prison. This memoir is the result: the story of a man who sought fulfillment in political power, only to find it in Jesus Christ. It’s good so far – honest, sincere, and thoughtful.
Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
Surprise: I finally picked up a book by Stephen King. I’m about a quarter of the way through it, and (minus a few content issues) I’m enjoying it. King is a much better writer than I expected, and I’m relishing the fact that the vampires are, y’know, bad. Take that, Stephanie Meyer.
All Things For Good by Thomas Watson
A magnificent examination of God’s providence in all aspects of life… written by one of those great Dead White Guys. Need I say more?
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Dostoevsky’s classic story of murder and guilt, and incidentally, my second encounter with Russian literature (Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Illych was my first). I’m expecting great things, and I doubt I’ll be disappointed.
On Writing: A Memoir by Stephen King
Loving it so far. It’s an honest, autobiographical look at King’s formation and growth as a writer. Drawing from his own experiences, he has plenty of helpful advice to share; nuggets of wisdom like this one: “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
I generally try have at least one science fiction book going all the time. This one is already a favorite. Brilliant plotting, complex characters, and lots to think about. I sincerely dread coming to the end of it.
Road To Perdition by Max Allan Collins
Currently being shipped from Amazon. I’ve never read a “graphic novel” before, but I figure this is as good place to start as any. The 2002 movie (starring Tom Hanks) was gut-wrenching and profound, so I’m hoping the original will have just as much, if not more, to offer.