It is always interesting to me to see the books my blog readers are interested in. I’ve previously noted that the reviews my readers view the most are often not my best choices. This year, two of them made my Bob on Books Best of 2022 out of the ten listed here. Four of the ten on this list were Louise Penny books, partly because I have been reading through the series which I finished in July, along with her newest, released in November, which made my “best of” list as well. I was fascinated that a pair of “five things” books both made the list. I guess people find lists interesting. I hope that will be the case with this one. I was also surprised both that Agatha Christie had written a murder on a train book before Murder on the Orient Express, and that it made this list. The links are to my reviews which do provide links to the publisher of the book.
10. Review: Five Things Theologians Wish Biblical Scholars Knew. This was part of a pair of works. In theological studies as other areas, there are silos, and this and its companion, which also made the list, are an effort to promote understanding across the silos.
9. Review: Saint Francis of Assisi. I propose that this is less biography than a reflection by Chesterton on the meaning of St. Francis’ life in Chesterton’s own inimitable way.
8. Review: Glass Houses. One of four Louise Penny books to make this list, in which we learn the reason a black-cloaked figure known as a cobrador has appeared in Three Pines.
7. Review: The Madness of Crowds. In a society emerging from a pandemic, explores the psychology of movement leadership in the person of a highly rational professor promoting mercy killing.
6. Review: The Mystery of the Blue Train. This preceded Murder on the Orient Express and was one Agatha Christie struggled to write. I thought Katherine Grey an interesting counterpart to Poirot and enjoyed the plot twists in this “other” Christie train mystery.
5. Review: Five Things Biblical Scholars Wish Theologians Knew. Scot McKnight highlights the need for theologians to constantly return to scripture, to understand their impact on biblical studies, to be informed by historically shaped biblical studies, to make more space for narrative and to be lived. Wonderful dialogue and respect between the authors of this and its companion (#10 above).
4. Review: The Kingdom of the Blind. Gamache, Myrna, and Benedict, a young building maintenance worker who hopes to be a builder are named as liquidators of the estate of a cleaning woman while Amelia Choquet, caught with drugs, is expelled from the Academy to the streets as a powerful and lethal drug is about to hit. Choquet is a recent addition to Penny’s cast of characters and one of the most interesting.
3. Review: The Samaritan Woman’s Story. This was one of two cases where a “most viewed” review overlapped with one of my “Best Book” picks. A great study of one of my favorite stories, that convinced me that the Samaritan woman wasn’t the “loose” woman we are inclined to portray her as.
2. Review: The Psychology of Christian Nationalism. I read a couple books on Christian nationalism. I liked the other one better, so much that I named it my “best book of the year.” But this one offers some helpful insights on the rise of Christian nationalism, what its attraction is, and how to talk across our divides.
1. Review: A World of Curiosities. The striking thing was that this was my most recently posted review, and far outstripped the others in views. I suspect the interest had to do with its recent release and perhaps Christmas giving. It also made my “best of” list for its two sinister villains and heart-stopping ending. I wrote in my review, “All I will say about the ending of this book is that if you have a heart condition, you may want to seek your physician’s advice before reading it.” It is intense!
There was one interesting anomaly as I reviewed my statistics. While this list represents reviews written in 2022, my top viewed review in each of the last two years has been one I wrote in 2021 on Amor Towles’ The Lincoln Highway. It’s a great book, and I suspect one that may be popular in book clubs, which may account for all the views
I’m so grateful for all of you that follow these reviews. This list as well as my “Best of” post represent under ten percent of the books I’ve reviewed this year on a wide array of topics. If you wish to get a sense what else I’ve reviewed, you can visit my Month in Reviews, which gives a quick summary of everything I reviewed that month and links to the full review.
Look for my 2023 Reading Challenge tomorrow!