Bob on Books 2017 Honorable Mentions


Yesterday, I posted my selection of “bests” for 2017. I had to make some tough choices to limit the list to ten books. So I thought I would share with you some of the “honorable mentions.” These easily could have made other lists and probably have. At very least, they seem worthy enough to me that I hope you will take a second look. I have not put these in any categories and there may be a few more not from 2017, but that I read this year.

Becoming Curious, Casey Tygrett (Foreward by James Bryan Smith). Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2017. I loved the thesis that asking questions is a spiritual discipline and curiosity is integral to our transformation. (Full Review)  grieving-a-suicide

Grieving a Suicide (Second Edition), Albert Y. Hsu. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2017. A narrative of a survivor of a father’s suicide–gentle, honest and tremendously helpful both in addressing prevention, and the grief when prevention efforts are not enough. (Full Review)


The Road Back to YouIan Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2016. Reviewed at the beginning of the year, I thought this one of the most witty, incisive, and useful books on the Enneagram. A great introduction. (Full Review)


The Long LonelinessDorothy Day. New York: HarperCollins, 1952. We read this in a reading group this fall, and thought Day a classic example of someone living a “Bohemian” lifestyle who was spiritually hungry, as well as one who combined activism with a profound inner life. (Full Review)


The Heir ApparentJane Ridley. New York: Random House, 2013. Fascinating biography of another prince under a long-lived monarch. Edward VII was a womanizer, loved the horses, and yet transformed the British monarchy, both as its face in Victoria’s later years, and in his own short reign. (Full Review)


Renegade: Martin Luther, The Graphic BiographyAndrea Grosso Ciponte (illustrator), Dacia Palmerino (text), Michael G. Parker (translator). Walden, NY: Plough Publishing, 2017. This year marked the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation and has been celebrated with a spate of new Luther books. I read several, but thought this “graphic biography”  brought a fresh perspective on a seemingly familiar life. (Full Review)


The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency, Chris Whipple. New York: Crown, 2017. I hadn’t recognized how important the President’s Chief of Staff was until reading this book. Most of the living chiefs of staff were interviewed for this book in this exploration of what makes an effective chief of staff. (Full Review)


Confident PluralismJohn D. Inazu. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016. I’ve probably recommended this book more often than any book I read this year. Inazu explores both the civic virtues and constitutional protections we need for a robust and yet civil public square for all of our people. (Full Review)


Weapons of Math DestructionCathy O’Neil. New York: Broadway Books, 2017. In the world of big data, mathematical algorithms determine our access to credit, the online ads we see, and sometimes whether we will be hired for a job or keep it. This is an insider view of these “weapons of math destruction” and the need for a code of ethics and audit of these algorithms to guard us from unjust harm. (Full Review)


The CircleDave Eggers. New York: Vintage, 2014. This dystopian novel recently appeared in the theaters. The chilling thing one realizes is that everything in the novel is, or easily could be, done in an online and networked world where we share much of our lives via social media, and much else about us exists in databases storing our online histories, health histories, purchasing histories, and more. (Full Review)

So, here are ten more books that I thought were good “reads” and worthy of your attention. Hopefully my summaries here and the full reviews give you enough to figure out if they are worth your attention. If you are still wondering about a book, drop me a line. I love connecting good friends with good books!

Look for my list of “most popular reviews” next week. These are the books those who follow this blog are most interested in. Some surprises here!




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