Here are the books I read in 2017. These are not necessarily all recommendations, though I usually read stuff because they were recommended by someone. You’ll be able to tell if I liked the book or not by reading the blurbs.
- To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink – this inspired me to start my podcast and do some improv to improve communication. No matter what your profession, you’re always selling something.
- Deep Work by Cal Newport – I wrote up an exhaustive summary here. This book resonated with me and I’ve already made many of the recommended changes to my life.
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott – Not sure why it’s taken me this long to read this. Just as good as everyone says.
- Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss – A firehouse of life advice. Probably best to take this one in bite-sized chunks.
- Father Hunger by Doug Wilson – A good summary of one of our predominant cultural crises. With solutions and insight on masculinity.
- Joy at the End of the Tether by Doug Wilson – A fun romp through Ecclesiastes.
- Wordsmithy by Doug Wilson – Pithy writing advice that is helpful for all creators and artists.
- Reforming Marriage by Doug Wilson – A gut punch, and a call for husbands to take responsibility for their families. Insightful, relevant, and repentence-inducing.
- Herodotus – I haven’t finished it, but I’m slowly picking away at it. Almost done with Book 2.
- Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards – A good primer on creativity in general, with lots of good exercises. This book helped me get over a hump in my quest for drawing.
- The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle – A classic of science fiction that lived up to the hype.
- The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi – Great world-building and atmosphere, but this left a bit to be desired. There is no real hero in this story, and I didn’t particularly like any of the (admittedly well-rounded) characters.
- Pandora’s Star by Peter Hamilton – A long slog of world-building and character development, which turns up to be mainly a setup for the sequel, which is just as long. And I can’t wait to read the sequel.
- Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson – Enjoyed this sequel much better than its predecessor. I kept with the series because Alloy of Law was a lot of fun.
- The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher – Because I wanted to read something by Jim Butcher while I wait for Peace Talks to come out. A fun read.
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, and Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams – I can’t believe I haven’t read this series yet. If someone had just told me they were basically Wodehouse in space, I would have jumped on them sooner.
- Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb – This concluded the long story of FitzChivalry and the Fool. The whole series is highly recommended, and the conclusion is satisfying. Hobb takes you through every emotion in life.
- The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu – A first-contact novel that was great fun to read, heavy on high concepts and hard sci-fi. You get a glimpse into the rise of Mao’s China as well, which in many ways is more terrifying than hostile aliens.
- The Door Before by ND Wilson – The prequel to the 100 Cupboards series. I need to re-read that series now, but to the kids this time.
What I Read to the Kids
- Leepike Ridge by ND Wilson – This was a re-read. A fast paced middle-grade novel which draws inspiration from The Odyssey.
- Boys of Blur by ND Wilson – A book about outrunning zombies in the sugarcane fields of Florida. Draws inspiration from Beowulf.
- Matilda by Roald Dahl – One of my favorite books as a child, and a big hit.
- The BFG by Roald Dahl – Not as big of a hit, but they like it. We watched the movie soon after finishing this, and they were able to spot many of the changes made for adaptation.
- Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle by ND Wilson – Fun adventure, but a bit convoluted and confusing for them. Heavy Christological symbolism, and it ain’t that subtle.
- Outlaws of Time: The Song of Glory and Ghost by ND Wilson – Ditto what I said about the first one. Still worth a read.
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid, books one, two, and three by Jeff Kinney. This caused a lot of laugh-out-loud moments for them, and kept them engaged more than others. I’m not sure we’ll continue with these, because it glorifies certain behaviors I don’t really want to see in my own kids. I’d like to find something with a similar motif and humor without the baggage.
- Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis. This is the first Narnia book the kids were really engaged with. Why? Maybe because it is more of a straightforward adventure.