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!).
2011 Book of the Year
Food and Faith
The fact that food and eating are central to all life is easily taken for granted. The fact that food and eating are intimately tied to the Christian faith is easily overlooked. For Wirzba, life and food and eating and faith are all gracious gifts proceeding from the God of creation. The act of eating is itself fraught with significance, even aside from questions about animal husbandry, land conservation, and nutritional value. Eating establishes us firmly within the world of the living and every time we take a bite we proclaim that we are full participants in creation. We must also acknowledge with every meal and with every bite that life is a gift that is continually given. However, with each sustaining bite we not only receive life, but taste death. The very food that is given by God for our nourishment has required death of another participant in God’s creation – whether plant or animal, yeast, microbe or fungus – and those lives in turn have required the deaths of others. To be fully cognizant of the gravity of the gift of food, then, should cause our eating to be both humble and grateful. Wirzba notes that the refusal to accept the deaths of others as an ongoing, life-sustaining gift is in some ways a refusal to accept creation as it is, given by God, on God’s terms.
- from our review by Mary Bowling
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2012 Book of the Year
Living Into Community
“Every Christian should read this provocative book! Christine thoroughly delineates the interlocking relationships and dangerous deformities of practices that could deepen our communities but often destroy them. This volume is pertinent to our families, churches, even places of work.”
2013 Book of the Year
Slow Reading done well, and especially in conjunction with other Slow practices, has the potential to radically transform our lives. David Mikics is to be commended for this book, and the robustness of the Slow Reading practice he has laid out here. We would do well to read, and re-read, it slowly and attentively, bearing in mind that the literary communities of authors and readers, are deeply interwoven with the real communities in which we daily live, work and have our being.
- from our review by ERB editor C. Christopher Smith
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*** Don’t miss our overview of Mikics’s
14 Rules of Slow Reading