Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Book of the Year -- Top 10 List

There have been many wonderful books published in 2010, not all of which I've had the opportunity to read and consider. Some good books are still sitting on my pile, and some are still being read, and still others I'll never get around to reading.  Among those books that I have had the opportunity to read, deciding which ten books made my own top ten wasn’t easy. I left several books off this list that I found tremendously important – books by Brueggemann, Dunn, Crossan, and Moltmann. But, a choice had to be made, and so I made it.  A caveat here -- every list such as this is a matter of the reader's judgment and sense of importance, as can be seen in the great variety of choices made by "listers."  But this is my list!    



Book of the Year:


Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell, American Grace: How Religion Unites and Divides Us. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010. 

First among the books that I read this year, the book that stands out above the others, is American Grace. I knew from almost the start that this would be my book of the year, because I believe that it holds important lessons for the future well-being of the nation and its religious communities. It is a word of hope that carries with it warnings. Despite the seeming dividing lines – red state and blue state – we’re a pretty open country. In large part this is due to a changing of generations and the development of social networks that bring people of different theological/religious backgrounds into contact with each other. Putnam and Campbell, both sociologists review the data – some of which they collected and some collected by others – interpret it and weave it into a story that takes us to various places in the nation. This isn’t a short book, but it is a must read book.

I've yet to write a full review, but I have been writing comments as I've gone through the book, and will continue to do so in the days to come.  Some of those postings can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.      

Remainder of Top Ten List, in alphabetical Order:

Philip Clayton with Tripp Fuller, Transforming Christian Theology for Church and Society, Fortress Press, 2010.   I didn't write a regular review, but instead put up a series of chapter by chapter postings, so I'm just giving one link, to begin the journey.  

John Gallagher.Reimagining Detroit: Opportunities for Redefining an American City. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2010. Review essay forthcoming from Congregations.

Stanley Hauerwas. Hannah’s Child: A Theologian’s Memoir. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2010.    Reviewed here.

Martin E. Marty. Building Cultures of Trust. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2010.   Reviewed here.

Diarmaid McCullouch. Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years. New York: Viking, 2010. Review forthcoming, but this massive study of the history of Christianity is both readable and comprehensive. 

Carol Howard Merritt. Reframing Hope: Vital Ministry in a New Generation. Herndon, VA: Alban Institute, 2010. Reviewed here.

Thomas Jay Oord. Defining Love: A Philosophical, Scientific, and Theological Engagement. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2010; and The Nature of Love: A Theology. St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2010. I’m honoring these two books as a piece, because they’re so closely related. I will be reviewing them together once I’m finished reading The Nature of Love.

William Placher. Mark: Belief -- A Theological Commentary. Louisville: WJK Press, 2010.  Review is forthcoming at another site.

Ferdinand Schlingensiepen. Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1906-1945: Martyr, Thinker, Man of Resistance. New York: T & T. Clark, 2010. Reviewed here.

2 comments:

Cody Stauffer said...

I've got to read some of these books. Glad you included Oord's works- great stuff, I thought as well. I thought "Transforming Theology" came out in 2009, though?

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

Cody,

Transforming Christian Theology did arrive in 2009, but it has a 2010 copyright date -- so I included it, but it was a close call.