News, Reading Guides, VOLUME 12

(Some of) The Best Books of the 2010s… and 2020!!!

Best Books of 2010s  Best Books of 2010s  Best Books of 2010s

Our final magazine issue (to be released in early 2020) will feature some of the best books of the 2010s, roughly the same timespan as the life of the magazine…

As I am prepping for that issue, I pulled together the following list of our Books of the Year from our start in 2008 to the present…  If you are looking for an important and thought-provoking book to read over the holidays or in the new year, you might want to browse this list. 

Our criterion both for selecting books to review and for honoring the year’s best books is to choose books that are “for the life and flourishing of the Church” – i.e., books that energize us to be the local communities of God’s people that God has called us to be and that nurture our mission of following in the way of God’s reconciliation of all things (in all its broadness!).

2008 Book of the Year

Best Books of 2010s

Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life
Kathleen Norris

Kathleen Norris has offered us here one of the finest books of 2008, deeply probing some of our cultural neuroses, and yet at the same time pointing us to the rooted wisdom of the monastics, which shines the light of hope in the midst of our individual and cultural brokenness.  Indeed, the essence of the monastic tradition is to remind us that God is redeeming all of Creation through the formation of a contrast society.  Acedia and Me is essential reading for the Church as we seek to understand the nature of Christian obedience in the present age, but it is especially important for those with a calling to (or at least a fascination with) new or traditional monasticism, in that it describes in depth one of the fundamental temptations that would shatter community and render as impotent our witness to the transforming Gospel of Christ.  


2009 Book of the Year

Best Books of 2010s

The Sacredness of
Questioning Everything

David Dark

In SACREDNESS, Dark champions the power — and the spiritual necessity — of the open mind.  Asking questions of our convictions, assumptions, perversions, religions, is the only way to let the light and air into them.  “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in,” he maintains, using Leonard Cohen’s words.  Questioning our God(s), our government, our eschatology, our language or our lusts, opens them to the possibility of rehabilitation, redemption and ultimately resurrection.


2010 Book of the Year

Best Books of 2010s

The Wisdom of Stability:
Rooting Faith in a Mobile Culture

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

We are not called to perish in the desert of our temptations but rather, as Wilson-Hartgrove notes to bloom there, and this blossoming will ultimately bear fruit.   He says:  “If God is faith in exile and present in human flesh, then everything — every place — is now holy.  We learn to enjoy the fruit of stability as we embrace God’s mission where we are” (139).  Stability is essential to our faithfulness as we share life together in our church communities, and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove’s The Wisdom of Stability is the finest reflection on stability in the contemporary world.  Through stability, we learn to mature together in a place toward the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4), becoming, by the grace of God, a vibrant contrast to the madness of our hypermobile culture.  In The Wisdom of Stability, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove orchestrates the voices of those before us who have set out to cultivate the practice of stability and poignantly calls us to the threshold of this journey of growing into stability.  May we have the courage to heed his call and set out together on this journey and the even greater courage needed to weather the many demons that will assail us as we continue to be faithful in our place, day by day and year by year.


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UPDATED: Dec 2020 to include our 2020 Book of the Year

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Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith

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