Justin’s End of the Year Review: 2016 Edition

2016 saw the close of yet another year full of book reading. This was my third consecutive year of setting a specific goal of reading a certain number of books and then writing about them. I set the ambitious goal of wanting to read 100 books this year. Sadly, many factors (most prevalently, school) prevented me from accomplishing that lofty goal. However, there is always next year; I want to read 100 books in 2017!

But 2016 was full of admirable accomplishments nonetheless. I reached the 65 book threshold for the second year. In addition, I read 25,000 pages this year, a record-breaking number for me. In 2014 I read just about 20,000 while in 2015 I read approximately 22,000. In no particular order, these are the books I read this year:

 

  1. Systematic Theology
  2. The Lost World of Genesis 1
  3. I Dare You Not to Bore Me With the Bible
  4. Misinterpreting Scripture With Western Eyes
  5. God’s Greater Glory
  6. Rising Sun
  7. We Cannot Be Silent
  8. Confederacy of Dunces
  9. The Cross of Christ
  10. How Should We Then Live
  11. Theological Reflections on Christ
  12. Psycobable
  13. Tell the Truth
  14. The Big Short
  15. Liar’s Poker
  16. The Smartest Guys in the Room
  17. Dear Leader
  18. Total Truth
  19. SPQR
  20. Final Seconds
  21. Americans in Paris
  22. 1776
  23. The Cup and the Glory
  24. Western Civ II
  25. The Republic of Pirates
  26. Living in God’s Two Kingdoms
  27. Gangeterismo
  28. Microeconomics
  29. Scripture Alone
  30. Romanovs
  31. Dynasty
  32. Philosophy in Seven Sentences
  33. Operation Thunderbolt
  34. In the Name of Rome
  35. French Revolution
  36. Five Presidents
  37. Napoleon
  38. The Whig Interpretation of History
  39. Apostles of Disunion
  40. The Matthews Men
  41. Augustine of Hippo
  42. Lincoln
  43. Why Study History
  44. This Great Struggle
  45. 1920
  46. Valiant Ambition
  47. Rough Riders
  48. A Little History of Philosophy
  49. Elephant Company
  50. The Clockwork Universe
  51. The Crusades
  52. Visions of Vocation
  53. Vietnam
  54. Amusing ourselves to death
  55. Holiness
  56. Quiet
  57. The Darkness and the Glory
  58. Tipping Points
  59. David and Goliath
  60. Harry Potter 1
  61. Harry Potter 2
  62. Harry Potter 3
  63. Harry Potter 4
  64. Genghis Khan
  65. Crazy Love

 

I want to continue with tradition and talk about my favorite (and worst) books of the year:

Best Book of the Year: I felt as if last year, this answer was clear to me immediately. This year is not so much. To me, the best book of the year should be one that I’ve been impacted by or reflected on the most. In that case, the best book that fits that criteria is John Walton’s “The Lost World of Genesis 1.” Walton does his best to convince you that a literally view of Genesis 1 may not be the most important aspect of the creation story. I read this book in January of last year and I still think on it.

Runner Ups: Why Study History?, The Whig Interpretation of History, Living in God’s Two Kingdoms

 

Best Non-Fiction: Without a doubt, Susan Cain’s “Quiet” was a really entertaining and informative look at introversion and the misinformation about it that I have ever read. There is real power to introversion she argues (and I agree) that people are not always adept at picking up. This is a great book for introverts to understand themselves and for extroverts to understand introverts!

 

Runner Ups: A Little History of Philosophy, Five Presidents, We Cannot Be Silent

 

Best Fiction: I only read TWO fiction books until the month of December where I knocked out several of the Harry Potter books. I’m routinely revisit the whole Harry Potter series, typically in December, to relive one of my childhood obsessions. So I’ll say the four Harry Potter books I read this year, with Goblet of Fire always being a personal favorite, tie with the best fiction novels on the year.

 

Best Biography: I didn’t read too many true biographies this year, but one that counts as a biography is the story of Jang Jin-sung in his book “Dear Leader” which is an account of how he escaped North Korea. I love books that are hard to put down and this was certainly one of them. The action, suspense, and heartbreak read like a fiction drama that will intrigue many.

 

Runner Ups: Five Presidents, Lincoln, Elephant Company

 

Best History Book: I think that hands down the best book this year in this category was “Operation Thunderbolt.” Much like “Dear Leader,” I could not put this book down. It keeps you intrigued for the entire book and the resolution is both heartbreaking and satisfying.

 

Runner Ups: Rough Riders, Valiant Ambition, SPQR

 

Best Theological Book: Not including the aforementioned John Walton book, I think this would have to go to Bruce Ware’s “God’s Greater Glory.” I love his ideas and it’s kind of brilliant how he solves the problem of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility.

 

Runner Ups: Systematic Theology, Living in God’s Two Kingdoms

 

Worst Book of the Year: This is a new category but a sorely needed one. Sometimes I finish a book and I regret ever reading it in the first place. In this case, the worst book of the entire year I actually read all the way through has to be “The Smartest Guys in the Room.” While the premise sounds interesting, the Enron scandal, it was full of boring information about financials that would take a CPA to understand. Would NOT recommend.

 

Runner Ups: In the Name of Rome, Americans in Paris

1 Comment on Justin’s End of the Year Review: 2016 Edition

  1. This is amazing! You have inspired me to kick up my reading plan several notches. Do you have any secrets that you would like to share on how to effectively read a book as fast as you can while retaining as much as you can? Also, let me know if having a woman in your life cuts in to your amount of reading… lol. That would be an interesting paper to read.

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