Monday, December 21, 2009

My Top Ten Books of 2009

Best Books of the Year

Ok I read a lot of books each year & I don't even remember which ones I have read this year or not but I a looked at my 2009 reading pile and tried to give you a top ten. (I would be glad to loan you any of these books)

1. Money, Greed, and God "Why Capitalism is the solution and not the problem" by Jay Richards

Maybe I am just an idiot when it comes to how the economy works but this book was very enlightening & informative - especially given the times we are in! The book is structured around 8 common myths of capitalism like: "Isn't capitalism based on greed?" and "Doesn't Capitalism lead to an ugly consumerist culture?" Jay Richards, the author, is from Acton Institute that is producing some excellent stuff from a Christian worldview (see also Acton's "Environmental Stewardship")

2. Counterfeit gods "The empty promises of money, sex, and power, and the only hope that matter "by Tim Keller

Tim Keller is, hands down, my favorite preacher to listen to right now. I probably have 200 of his sermons on my iPod right now. His three books: The Reason for God, Prodigal God, and Counterfeit gods, are all excellent, but you really need to hear him preach. Unfortunately his sermons will cost you 2.50 to download! But there are some free downloads on his site. God to -sermons store

3. 5 Cities that Ruled the World "How Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, & New York shaped Global history by Douglas Wilson

I first heard about Doug Wilson when he was debating Christopher Hitchens (see the excellent documentary "Collision") and I was very impressed with him. On a whim I picked one of his books that looked most interesting & it turned out to be excellent. Needless to say I we be picking up more of his books this year.

4. (tie) Total Truth "Liberating Christianity from its cultural captivity" by Nancy Pearcey & I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist by Fran Turek

Both of these books are re-reads for me so maybe they don’t belong on the list but I spent so much time in them this year I thought they should be on my list. As for apologetic & worldview books these two are 'musts' in my opinion

5. Unlikely Disciple "A sinner's semester at America's holiest university" by Kevin Roose

As someone who went to three Christian institutions of higher learning (names left out to protect the innocent) this book was hilarious & so powerful. It is about an atheist student at Brown univ. who decides to transfer to Liberty Univ (did I say o would leave names out?) to write a book about all the backward, hate filled, crazy evangelical Christians he met. He was very surprised that most of the students were normal and in fact he liked them! He does not come to faith & many of his conclusions are shockingly naïve & elitist but as one who spent a semester at Liberty it was a great read.

6. (tie) The unfolding Mystery & Preaching Christ in all of Scripture both by Edmund Clowney

These two seminal books really opened my eyes to seeing Jesus in the Old Testament. They lead to a 8 week sermon series on 'seeing Christ in the OT." It was like a whole new world was opened up to me when I read these books. The entire Bible is about Jesus Christ.

7. God is Back "How the global revival of faith is changing the world" by John Mickletwait & Adrian Wooldridge

This book is so valuable because it is not written from a Christians' point of view. One is a nominal catholic and the other an atheist, both work for the 'Economist' magazine. I think the book was first written as a counter to Hitchens & Harris & Dawkin's attacks on Christianity. But here is a excellent reply not form within the 'Christian camp' but from outside observers that see validity and excellences of Christianity.

8. Evening in the palace of the King "Bach meets Fredrick the Great in the Age of Enlightenment" by James Gaines

Gaines does an excellent job not just contrasting Bach with Fredrick but more importantly contrasting the Reformation and the Age of Enlightenment. I knew very little about Bach and nothing about Fredrick before I read this book and learned so much about them & their times.

9. The search for God and Guinness: a biography of the beer that changed the world by Stephen Mansfield

I just finished this book this week and it was excellent. How many of us know the history of beer? Arthur Guinness was a committed Christian who started hundreds of Sunday Schools all over Ireland, funded hospitals & orphanages, and treated his employees to free health care! He was greatly influenced by Wesley & Whitfield. I've always liked drinking Guinness and now that I have read this it is now my favorite beer (sorry Blue Moon).

10. Columbine by Dave Cullen

This is the definitive work on the terrible Columbine tragedy. Can you believe it has been 10 years since this happened! And now this book comes out to put all the details in order but still no answer of how Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris could have done such a thing. Cullen reports that Harris was most probably a psychopath and Klebold suffered from depression but the reader is still left with many questions at the end of the book.

Well there you have it. Let me know what you think.


  1. Hi Alan,
    Just some words on one of the books you've read this year, "Columbine" by Dave Cullen. I would most definitely hesitate to call this book the 'definitive' work on the subject. I think that book has yet to be written.

    This has been my opinion ever since I read some very negative reviews of "Columbine", chief among those being one by Randy Brown. Brown's son Brooks was a classmate and friend of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and Brown has spent as much or probably even more time than the author Cullen studying the events surrounding what happened at Columbine High School. Brown is so displeased with Cullen's "Columbine" that he all but calls it a 'work of fiction' and says that it's full of errors. I urge you and anyone else who's read "Columbine" or plans on reading it to check out Mr. Brown's scathing review of the book at Amazon:

  2. Thanks very much for including my book (Columbine), Allan.

    I'm honored to make your list.