My Favorite Reads of 2013
I barely reached my goal of reading forty books this year, and though some of the books were very short (like the eleven Doctor Who books), some of them were very long (like Quo Vadis, Les Miserables, and The Count of Monte Cristo).
Of the books I read, these were my favorites (in the order I read them):
- Les Miserables (unabridged): I read an abridged version with my students every year, but it had been a while since I read the full novel. I really appreciated this translation, and it was helpful to reacquaint myself with the entire story.
- Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus by Sherry Weddell – This is a book I will come back to again and again as I continue in my diaconal ministry and my work with Catholic education.
- The Everyday Catholic’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours by Daria Sockey – The Liturgy of the Hours is an under-used treasure of the Church, and I hope this book helps to bring about an increase in its use.
- J.R.R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-earth by Bradley Birzer – More than any other book I’ve read, this book explains the significance, beauty, and meaning of The Lord of the Rings.
- Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz – This is one of the new novels I ended up choosing to teach this year. This was my third time reading it, and it is always a spiritual experience for me. This particular translation/adaptation is much easier to read than others. My eighth graders loved the story, despite its length and difficulty.
- The Global War on Christians by John Allen – An eye-opening, well-researched book on possibly the most important issue confronting the world Church.
- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – I read an abridged version because I was considering teaching it to my eighth graders, but it was still a great read. I have not been disappointed by anything I’ve read by Dumas.
- Murder and Magic by Randall Garrett – The lightest book on the list, this collection of short stories is a mixture of mystery, alternate history, fantasy, and Victorian-era literature.
- The Joy of the Gospel by Pope Francis – I have a feeling this Apostolic Exhortation from Pope Francis will become a spiritual classic. The last section alone on Spirit-Filled Evangelizers is worth daily meditation, but the entire exhortation is something I will be studying and trying to put into practice.
- Company of Voices: Daily Prayer and the People of God by George Guiver – I’m not done with this book yet, but I can already tell it will be a favorite. Guiver tells the story of how daily prayer has evolved over the course of the centuries, with particular emphasis on The Liturgy of the Hours.
- Out of Solitude by Henri Nouwen
- The Nutmeg of Consolation by Patrick O’Brian
- The Robe by Lloyd Douglas
- The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
- The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
- Moneyball by Michael Lewis
- And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
With 2014 beginning tomorrow, my reading goal for the year is to try and read the unread books that I’ve purchased before buying any new ones. This fits in with my overall goal of trying to simplify and purge all but the essentials from my life this year.
If you like reading, I’d love to connect with you on Goodreads, my favorite book site.