As a kind of companion post to the last one, here are the best non-theology books I read this past year. In a way though, they are not without theological implications (one of which I discussed here). Particularly interesting in this regard are the books by Klosterman, which involve some very penetrating analyses of culture (from a non-Christian perspective). Interestingly, he affirms both total depravity (not in those terms) and unconditional election (again, not with those words), and has a very interesting essay on the Left Behind book series. I would recommend them with caution though as he deals with some touchy topics, and doesn’t shy away from profanity at times. Anyway, here’s the list and I’ll commit briefly below:
- The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade
- Metaphors We Live By
- Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films with Wisdom & Discernment
- Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto
- Eating the Dinosaur
- Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
- The Gay Science: With a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
- The Advanced Genius Theory: Are They Out of Their Minds or Ahead of Their Time?
- The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
If you’ve got the time, and generally read a lot, and are interested in putting your ability to think theologically to work, I’d recommend reading these books. Only the 1st one is requires a big time commitment. If you interested in psychology and productivity check out books 9 and 10 (especially if you’re interested in whether or not social media is having an effect). If you know a lot about popular music, you’ll find 8 intriguing (as well as 4 and 5, but note the caution above). The 1st book is the 2nd in a series of 4 on the history of the world. I’d read The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome first, then move on the medieval world.
You’ll notice Nietzsche made the list. I was surprised at how accessible The Gay Science was (which meant then “The Joyful Wisdom”). The joyful wisdom is the notion that God is dead, and this is where the idea is introduced in Nietzsche. He actually has many helpful things to say, and many things Christians need to hear, as most of his railings are really against hypocritical Christians. But you’ll have to read the book and think for yourself.
Like I said in the last post, I’m looking forward to reading more outside of the theology world and using the theological lens I’ve acquired to engage and interact with other realms of knowledge. Or, to just read enjoyable cultural critiques and stimulating observations like in Klosterman’s books (which of the books above I probably enjoyed the most).
Either way, expand your horizons and pick one of these books to read for the new year.