For a couple of reasons, I’m not going to do one of those ‘Best of …’ lists for 2012. For one thing, and here along with the rest of the human race, I’m in no position to suggest what books ought to be included on such a list. Another reason is that despite the claim that there were apparently lots of books published this year, I read very few of them, and about half of those that I did read were, to be polite, very average. That said, I am happy to list some of my favourite reads and re-reads for the year:
- Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness by Joshua Wolf Shenk.
- Les Murray: A Life in Progress by Peter F. Alexander.
- The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion.
- How To Make Gravy: A to Z, A Mongrel Memoir by Paul Kelly.
- The Hungry Heart: Journeys with William Colenso by Peter Wells.
- The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food by Judith Jones.
- Fairness and Freedom: A History of Two Open Societies – New Zealand and the United States by David Hackett Fischer.
- Between Worlds: Twenty Years on the Border by Burmese Border Consortium.
- The Culture of Protestantism in Early Modern Scotland by Margo Todd.
- Reforming the Scottish Parish: The Reformation in Fife, 1560–1640 by John McCallum.
- Cambridge Theology in the Nineteenth Century by David M. Thompson.
- The Search for Salvation: Lay Faith in Scotland 1480–1560 by Audrey-Beth Fitch.
- Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit.
- Clergy: The Origin of Species by Martyn Percy.
- Encircled Lands by Judith Binney.
- The Crucifixion of Ministry: Surrendering Our Ambitions to the Service of Christ by Andrew Purves.
- The Shape of Practical Theology: Empowering Ministry with Theological Praxis by Ray S. Anderson.
- The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry by Andrew Root and Kenda Creasy Dean.
- Beside the Ocean of Time by George Mackay Brown.
- Greenvoe by George Mackay Brown.
- Rabbit Redux by John Updike.
- The Art of Fielding: A Novel by Chad Harbach.
- The Trout Opera by Matthew Condon.
- A Commonwealth of Thieves: The Improbable Birth of Australia by Thomas Keneally.
- Love’s Work by Gillian Rose.
- The Broken Middle: Out of Our Ancient Society by Gillian Rose.
- Nostalgia for the Absolute by George Steiner.
- Lessons of the Masters by George Steiner.
- The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection by Robert Farrar Capon.
- Dialogues in the Diasporas: Essays and Conversations on Cultural Identity by Nikos Papastergiadis.
- Morning Knowledge by Kevin Hart.
- The Holy Merriment by Arnold Kenseth.
- The Book of my Enemy: Collected Verse 1958–2003 by Clive James.
- Poems, 1975–1995: Hail! Madam Jazz & A Fragile City by Micheal O’Siadhail.
- Collected Poems by Ursula Bethell.
- Selected Poems by Edwin Muir.
- Provinces by Czesław Miłosz.
- Collected Poems, by John Paisley.
- Zwiegespräche, Gebete by Clemens Frey.
- Four Stories by Alan Bennett.
- When I Was a Child I Read Books: Essays by Marilynne Robinson.
- Letters, 1922/1966 by Karl Barth and Rudolf Bultmann.
- Freedom & Limit: A Dialogue Between Literature and Christian Doctrine by Paul S. Fiddes.
- The Creative Suffering of God by Paul S. Fiddes.
- The Promised End: Eschatology in Theology and Literature by Paul S. Fiddes.
- The Future of Christian Theology by David F. Ford.
- Religion und Religionskritik by Michael Weinrich.
- The Witness of God: The Trinity, Missio Dei, Karl Barth, and the Nature of Christian Community by John G. Flett.
- The Cross in Our Context: Jesus and the Suffering World by Douglas John Hall.
- Lamentations by Robin Parry.
- Inquiring about God: Volume 1, Selected Essays by Nicholas Wolterstorff.
- Divine Humanity: Kenosis and the Construction of a Christian Theology by David Brown.
- Christ the Stranger: The Theology of Rowan Williams by Benjamin Myers.
- Rudolf Bultmann by David Fergusson.
- Essays: Philosophical and Theological by Rudolf Bultmann.
- Sanctorum Communio: A Theological Study of the Sociology of the Church by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
- Act and Being by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
- Fiction from Tegel Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
- Calvin Today: Reformed Theology and the Future of the Church edited by Michael Welker, Michael Weinrich and Ulrich Möller.
- Katharina Schütz Zell, Church Mother: The Writings of a Protestant Reformer in Sixteenth-Century Germany edited by Elsie McKee.
- Ethics in the Presence of Christ by Christopher R. J. Holmes. [Reviewed here]
- Toward a Pentecostal Theology of the Lord’s Supper: Foretasting the Kingdom by Chris E. Green. [Review to come]