2016 Reading

I’ve just updated my reading list for 2016. The list isn’t quite as long as in some recent years, but there is some pretty heavy reading in the list.

If I had to pick a few favorites, I would say that the most interesting and useful books were Chemnitz’ Church Order and Loehe’s The Pastor. I had been waiting to get my hands on that work of Chemnitz for years, and while reading the Loehe book, I found myself repeatedly wishing I had access to it ten years ago (especially his advice for pastors just starting out in the ministry). Both of these translations were just published this year.

I re-read Bo Giertz’ The Hammer of God again this year. That’s always a favorite. What strikes me is that it seems like it reads faster and faster every time I read it. I’ve probably ready it six times or more now. See this post on re-reading books.

As far as pure enjoyment, I would have to say that Katie Schuermann’s two books were the most delightful. Every Lutheran should read these, if only to get you warmed up for reading The Hammer of God. Schuermann has said that Giertz’ writing is an inspiration and influence on her own writing. I think it shows.

Here is the complete list:

  1. Grace Abounds: The Splendor of Christian Doctrine (Daniel Deutschlander)
  2. House of Living Stones (Katie Schuermann)
  3. Gathered Guests:A Guide to Worship in the Lutheran Church (Timothy Maschke)
  4. Grace Upon Grace: Spirituality for Today (John Kleinig) *
  5. The Hammer of God (Bo Giertz) *
  6. The Pastor (Wilhelm Loehe)
  7. The Choir Immortal (Katie Schuermann)
  8. Theological Commonplaces: On the Law (Johann Gerhard)
  9. Johann Sebastian Bach and Liturgical Life in Leipzig (Guenther Stiller)
  10. Praying Luther’s Small Catechism (John Pless)
  11. The Perfect Game (Terrence Moore)
  12. Chemnitz’ Works: Church Order (Martin Chemnitz)
  13. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
  14. Letters to an American Lady (C.S. Lewis)
  15. The Devil Knows Latin: Why America Needs the Classical Tradition (E. Christian Kopff)
  16. The Lost Arts of Modern Civilization: How to Taste and See the Abundance of Life (Mitchel Kalpakigan)

My book reading stack isn’t as big right now as it has been in previous years, but I’m looking forward to some good reading in A.D. 2017. I’ve already started a re-read of The Brothers Karamazov, and I’m looking forward to finally getting to read de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. I also have another volume of Gerhard’s Loci coming up.

What was the best book you read in 2016 and what’s on your list for the new year? Leave me a comment.

2 thoughts on “2016 Reading”

  1. I read The Devil Knows Latin a couple years ago and copied this quote in my homeschool journal, “The goal of education is to produce thoughtful people who have at their disposal a wealth of general knowledge, and who, in the light of this knowledge and with the courage to face facts, can judge matters of significance in a disinterested manner.” Hammer of God was read in 2015 and I was struck by the piety of these Christians and how completely their beliefs influenced their everyday actions. There is a movie out there with English subtitles, but I am having trouble locating a copy. House of Living Stones will be a fun favorite for lots of people, but I found I was not interested enough to continue with the subsequent title, Choir Immortal. Maybe I’ll pick it up later although our copy is on currently on loan to someone. I am halfway through Grace Upon Grace. This is fantastic, but it requires careful reading with a lot of pause for reflection. Don’t read it late at night. I took a break from it to read Has American Christianity Failed, also wonderful and a bit lighter and easier to digest. Pride and Prejudice I read out loud with my son for school. I also really enjoyed The Lost Arts of Civilization, but would have liked some practical insight into how we can restore these arts when the rest of the world is not interested in participating. After all, it takes two people to write a letter, hold a conversation, or share hospitality.

    1. Shelley: Great quote from “The Devil Knows Latin.” I had the chance to meet, even sit at lunch with, Kopff a few years back in St. Louis. Delightful and interesting fellow. I have the DVD for The Hammer of God, and I had my Bible Class watch a few years ago here. That’s one that I re-read every couple years. I appreciate your observation about the “Lost Arts.” I agree. A few years ago, I posted about letter-writing https://shepherdstory.com/2014/11/28/digital-polygraph/ and gained a couple new “pen-pals,” but for the most part the world has moved on past this art (and others), to its detriment. On that one in particular, it’s amazing to me that it seems people have almost entirely forgotten how to even write letters anymore. But I guess it’s been fading away for a longer period than just the email generation.

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