Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Best Books of 2016 - The Cornwall List


        I read a lot of books, thanks in large part to publishers who provide me with reading material, I read a lot of newly published books. Some I loved, others not so much. For the past several years I have offered a list of books I consider to be the best books published during the year prior. Every “best books” list is different, in part because the creators of lists read different books. I look at some lists and see very few books that I’ve read, so I can’t judge if they are better than the ones I’ve read. Sometimes I look at lists and find books that I didn’t care for. Other times, I find confirmation of my own sympathies. So, below you will find a list of books, based on my own reading (and I read nearly 100 books), that I consider best. You will find links to reviews on my blog. Most of the books are religious in nature, reflecting both my interests and what publishers send me. I invite you to take a look and decide if one or more are worthy of your attention in 2017.

Sometimes I’ve selected a book of the year, and sometimes I’ve just offered a list (sometimes the list is broken up in categories). This year I’ve selected twenty books, and I’ve divided them up into three categories for ease of use (the categories aren’t hard and fast either). I decided to choose one to highlight this year as book of the year, because I believe that Richard Beck’s Reviving Old Scratch is essential reading as we head into 2017. While I might have selected Miroslav Volf’s Flourishing as Book of the Year, I believe Beck’s book offers a word to the church that will be needed as we head into 2017. Nonetheless, I believe that each book on this list is worthy of your attention.


Book of the Year


Best Books of 2016

Bible and Theology

Dale C. Allison, Jr., Night Comes: Death, Imagination, and Last Things. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2016.

Jaime Clark-Soles, Reading John for Dear Life:A Spiritual Walk with the Fourth Gospel. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2016.

David P. Gushee and Glen H. Stassen, Kingdom Ethics:Following Jesus in Contemporary Context. Second Edition. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Com. 2016.

Larry W. Hurtado, Destroyer of the Gods: Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2016.

Thomas G. Long, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus (Belief: A Theological Commentary on the Bible). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2016.

James F. McGrath, Theology and Science Fiction (Cascade Companions). Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2016.


 Culture and Society

William J. Barber II and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement. Boston: Beacon Press, 2016.

Miguel A. De La Torre, U.S. Immigration Crisis: Toward an Ethics of Place. (Cascade Companions). Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2016.

Katherine Willis Pershey, Very Married: Field Notes on Love & Fidelity. Harrisonburg, VA: Herald Press, 2016.

Joerg Rieger and Rosemarie Henkel-Rieger, United We Are a Force: Growing Deep Solidarity Between Faith and Labor. St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2016.

Miroslav Volf and Ryan McAnnally-Linz.  Public Faith in Action: How to ThinkCarefully, Engage Wisely, and Vote with Integrity. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2016.


Ronald C. White, Jr., American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant. New York: Random House, 2016.


Spirituality and Religion

Juan M. Floyd Thomas, Stacey M. Floyd-Thomas, and Mark G. Toulouse, The Altars Where We Worship: The Religious Significance of Popular Culture. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2016.

Scott Black Johnston, Ted A. Smith, and Leonora Tubbs Tisdale, Editors. Questions Preachers Ask: Essays in Honor of Thomas G. Long. Edited by Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2016.

C. Christopher  Smith, Reading for the Common Good: HowBooks Help Our Churches and Neighborhoods Flourish. Downers Grove: IVP Books, 2016.

James K. A. Smith, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2016.

Deanna A. Thompson, The Virtual Body of Christ in a Suffering World. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2016.

Miroslav Volf, Flourishing: Why We Need Religion in a Globalized World. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016.

1 comment:

Deanna Thompson said...

So very honored that my books makes it on to this esteemed list, Bob! The breadth and depth of your reading inspires and amazes me. Your careful culling and promoting of new books worth our time and effort is a gift. Thanks so much!