If you follow book and publishing sites, this is the time where they post their best books of 2017. I suspect part of the idea is to aid those shopping for their bibliophile friends in choosing just the right gift. Here are my own “best books.” A few caveats. I read some fiction but not a great deal. My selection is an older work many of you have already heard of or perhaps read, but which I enjoyed. Many but not all of the books listed were indeed published in 2017, but some earlier, and I’ve just gotten around to reading them and considered them among my “best” of the year. So without further ado, here is the list:
Best of the Year: Culture Care, Makoto Fujimura. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2017. Here’s what I wrote in my review of the book:
“To read this book was a moving experience for me, one about which I wrote (“Culture Care Instead of Culture War“) while reading the book. I found a voice that resonated deeply with my longing for alternatives to the banal, rancorous and ugly expressions of culture around us. Fujimura invites us to care for our culture rather than engage in war over it, to give our selves to a common pursuit of beauty to sustain and renew our common life.” (Full Review)
Best book not published in 2017: Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies, Marilyn McEntyre. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009. I found this an eloquent book by an author who cares for words and truth, and utterly relevant to our present time. (Full Review)
Best book in Biblical Studies: The Temple and the Tabernacle, J. Daniel Hays. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2016. A rich, and richly illustrated, study of how God encountered and dwelled among his people and how this anticipated the coming of Christ. (Full Review)
Best Theological Work: Engaging the Doctrine of Creation, Matthew Levering. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2017. The doctrine of creation is foundational to so much else in Christian theology and anthropology and I thought Levering engaged this well. I wrote, “I would consider this a sterling example of excellent theological writing. Levering is not content to engage the writers of the last ten or fifty years, but roots his work in biblical teaching, the work of the church fathers, as well as major teachers of the church like Thomas Aquinas.” (Full Review)
Best Sermon Collection: As Kingfishers Catch Fire, Eugene H. Peterson. Colorado Springs: Waterbrook, 2017. Peterson’s valedictory work that captures so many of the themes of his writing and serves as an example of skillful pastoral work. (Full Review)
Best Christian Memoir: Single, Gay, Christian, Gregory Coles. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2017. I easily could have chosen this as my overall best book. I’ve read several narratives this year of LGBT persons coming to terms with their faith and sexual identity. I appreciated the combination of conviction and modesty in this narrative and his longing for a better conversation that moves beyond the binary “side A/side B” discussion. (Full Review)
Best Book on a Contemporary Issue: Evicted, Matthew Desmond. New York: Broadway Books, 2017. Matthew Desmond’s powerful book studying the impact of eviction, how it perpetuates poverty, and his incarnational research approach merit the Pulitzer Prize awarded this book. (Full Review)
Best History or Biography: The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965, William Manchester and Paul Reid. New York: Bantam Publishing, 2013. I had long awaited the final installment of this three volume biography by Manchester completed posthumously by Paul Reid. Flawed as all humans are, we nevertheless see the incomparable greatness of Churchill. (Full Review)
Best Science and Technology: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2017. Tyson explains complex phenomena in understandable terms, and also explores the wonder and haunting questions that face all of us as we consider the cosmos of which we are a part. (Full Review)
Best Fiction Work: Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel. New York: Picador, 2010. This historical fiction account of Thomas Cromwell explores what it was like to be this powerful and competent figure, serving at the pleasure of Henry VIII. (Full Review)
No two best books lists are alike. All I can say for this one is that it reflects what I have read (at least so far) in 2017. Had I more time, I suspect Ron Chernow’s new book on Grant would probably be on the list, and no doubt some others. Many others just missed my very arbitrary “cut.” I’d love to hear about some of your best books of this year!
5 thoughts on “Bob on Books Best of 2017”
What about poetry? There is a lot out there. Mine, for example. “Almost Entirey” from Paraclete Press. If you are interested, I can send a copy.
LikeLiked by 1 person
There is a lot out there. Truth is, I did not read any poetry, other than in a work on Gerard Manley Hopkins, so could not include it. Probably to my detriment. Thank you for the offer of your book of poetry. I’m afraid I must decline because of the books I’ve committed to review.
Pingback: Most Viewed Reviews of 2017 | Bob on Books
Pingback: Your Favorite “General” Posts of 2017 | Bob on Books
After I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the exact same comment. Is there a means you can remove me from that service? Thank you!