Assumed audience: Other people who love reading, folks interested in what I’m reading, or both.
One of my major goals for this year is to spend more time reading, and reading deeply and widely.
As I put it in a microblog post:
Reading goals for 2022
- Minimum: 22 books.
- Stretch: 22 non-fiction books.
- Gumby: 22 non-fiction books not started in 2021 or earlier.
(Yes, Gumby goals is now a thing. Don’t @ me.)
Below, then, my current, very tentative plans for what I’ll read this year. This is a public statement of intent, but it’s not a public commitment. (I am not a madman!) Note that it includes a lot of serious reading, but it also includes some “popcorn fiction”1 that I know I’m going to end up reading this year.
Per my note in that microblog post, my “Gumby goal”2 is to read at least 22 non-fiction books I hadn’t already started, so I have marked books I have already started at all with a † in the list below, and likewise with a ‡ for books I have made meaningful progress on — i.e. more than having read the introduction or the first chapter.
In no particular order (even regarding what I have or haven’t started):
- Icons of Christ: A Biblical and Systematic Theology for Women’s Ordination, William G. Witt‡
- The Doctrine of Scripture, Brad East
- The Soul of a New Machine, Tracy Kidder
- Science and the Good: The Tragic Quest for the Foundations of Morality, James Davison Hunter and Paul Nedelisky†
- The Domain of the Word, John Webster
- The Orthodox Way, Kallistos Ware
- We Answer to Another, David T. Koyzis†
- Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch, John Webster
- Confessing God: Essays in Christian Dogmatics II, John Webster
- A Companion to the Theology of John Webster, Michael Allen and R. David Nelson
- Team Topologies: Organizing Business and Technology Teams for Fast Flow, Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais†
- City of God, Augustine‡
- Confronted by Grace: Meditations of a Theologian, John Webster‡
- The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, Elizabeth Eisenstein‡
- Seven Languages in Seven Weeks, Bruce A. Tate‡
- A Time to Keep, Ephraim Radner
- Created in God’s Image, Anthony Hoekema
- The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is: A History, a Philosophy, a Warning, Justin E. H. Smith
- What It Means to Be Human: The Case for the Body in Public Bioethics, O. Carter Snead
- The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t,
- The History of Science Fiction, Adam Roberts
- Transhumanism and the Image of God, Jacob Shatzer
Additionally, I might go back and finish David H. Kelsey’s Eccentric Existence — but only “might” because I found the large chunk of the book I read back in 2019 quite tedious!
This is where nearly all my popcorn reading happens. (Popcorn nonfiction is mostly uninteresting to me, though books like Eric Berger’s Liftoff: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX are rare but delightful exceptions.)
- Sword & Citadel: The Second Half of the Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe‡
- Green Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson‡
- Blue Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson
- The Great Hunt, Robert Jordan3
- The Aleph Extraction: The Galactic Cold War, Book II, Dan Moren
- The Nova Incident: The Galactic Cold War, Book III, Dan Moren
I also expect this list to grow much more by the end of the year than the non-fiction list. I often grab a sci-fi novels via Kobo and Overdrive and plow through it in a couple evenings to make my brain chill out when I’m particularly tired from work, and you can see on perusing previous years’ reading on my Reading List how this plays out.
This is a new category for me, and we’ll see if I get to it. This is absolutely my lowest priority on this list, but it’s a thing I’ve been thinking about more lately: I want to increase my understanding of various fundamentals, and reading actual textbooks on them is often the best/only good way.
- Introduction to Applied Linear Algebra: Vectors, Matrices, and Least Squares, Stephen Boyd†
One thing I note about this list: it is very much a list of 20th and 21st books. The only older book on here is City of God. While I’m okay with that for this year, it’s something I will aim to fix in future years (or in the latter part of this year, if I clear this list ahead of schedule). Also missing entirely from this list is: poetry! Yikes! If you have recommendations, please send them my way.
One other thing: you’ll notice if you count the listed books that the current plan takes me well past 22 books. That’s good. However, you’ll also note that if you exclude the ‡ entries, that list is a fair bit shorter, and if you include the † all the more so.
In any case, if I manage to read all of these, I will be very happy — and my plan for daily reading should make it happen as long as I stick with it. So: here we go, 2022!
This was my mom’s explanation to me growing up about the different kinds of books: There’s popcorn, mashed potatoes, and steak. They’re all good, but if you eat nothing but popcorn, or even nothing but mashed potatoes, you’re missing out. At the same time, if you eat nothing but steak, you might feel over-full! (Don’t make anything out of the lack of regular fruits and vegetables in this example: it was just how my mom explained things to 7- or 8-year-old me.) ↩︎
Gumby was an animated TV show character which had toys associated with it when I was growing up — I never saw the show, but had or played with the toys, and they were very stretchy. ↩︎
Yes, I have read this at least half a dozen times. Yes, I will be reading it again before Amazon’s The Wheel of Time Season 2 comes out. ↩︎