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2011 Books

2011 December 31

For the past six years I have been posting at year’s end all the books I read in the previous year. The list is mostly for myself as it is a convenient way to keep track of when I read certain things, but I know I also love looking at other people’s reading lists, so I might as well put mine out there as well. This year’s list is not as diverse as in past years as seminary has me reading mostly theology books, but they were good reads and I finally got to read some books that I had been meaning to for some time. I did return to favorites this year – reading the Hunger Games again and the Kushiel books for what must have been the 7th or 8th time. I also finally got around to reading the Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, which I highly recommend. In the fiction realm as well, I also really enjoyed Veronica Roth’s Divergent – a dystopian young adult novel about a world where people are divided into factions depending on the virtue they exhibit most strongly. It reads a bit like Hunger Games meets Ender’s Game, but if you’ve spent time in Chicago, the book is worth it just for the post-apocalyptic downtown Chicago setting. As for non-fiction, it was nice to finally read through Moltmann’s Theology of Hope and Desmond Tutu’s No Future Without Forgiveness – both were great reads. I also loved James Loewen’s Lies My Teacher Told Me, which I think should be required reading in order for anyone to graduate college. The book highlighted for me how much I don’t know about history as well as the ways education is often used as a tool of control instead of as a means of teaching truth or encouraging students to think. It’s a disturbing, but helpful read.

I wish I had more time to read these days, but here’s my list of books I read this past year. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these books, and any recommendations for what I should read next year.

Non-fiction

Fiction

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9 Responses leave one →
  1. December 31, 2011

    Happy to send you a copy of mine if you’d like to read it. Sample chapter here…

    http://books.simonandschuster.com/Flirting-with-Faith/Joan-Ball/9781439149874/excerpt_with_id/16479

  2. Adam Shields permalink
    December 31, 2011

    Thanks for the Divergent recommendation. A cross between Hunger Games and Ender’s Game sounds great. Even better than a person I share a kindle account picked it up last week. What did you think of Race A Theologican Account? I was thinking of picking it up but haven’t yet.

    Also I have thought about reading both the Kushiel and Girl With… Books but have been wondering about the sexual violence. I believe there are multiple instances of rape, how bad are they?

  3. December 31, 2011

    Joan – I’ve been wanting to read your book, so I would love a copy :) Email me when you get a chance.

    Adam – Race A Theological Account is heavy, but well done. It takes a genealogical approach to the idea of race itself (as opposed to just racism). Carter is gracious yet persuasive in his writing – it’s worth the read.

    Yes, both the Kushiel and the Girl with books are very sexual, and yes they both include violent sex. I’ve read books where that violence exists for the sake of violence alone – not so in these books. While the scenes are disturbing, they exist for the purposes of seeking justice. Telling the truth about what is done to women is the first step in working to help end such violence and to respect women as people (with their own sexual desires/choices) and not just see them as objects to be used. The Kushiel books walk a really fine line with that since the main character is a courtesan, but they also take assumptions about such a character and flip them on their head.

  4. Wes Howard-Brook permalink
    December 31, 2011

    A nice list, Julie. I do recall that earlier in the year, you also read a little book called “Come Out, My People!”: God’s Call Out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond, and liked it. :)

  5. December 31, 2011

    It’s a great book. It made last year’s list, cuz I think I read it the week it came out. :) I have recommended it to a number of people this year, and have heard from a few they are loving it.

  6. Emily permalink
    January 1, 2012

    I love reading your recommendations, Julie. I read Struggle to be the Sun from your 2010 list and really appreciated it. There are not enough books on theology from Asian women’s perspectives.

    A couple of my recommendations (also written by women of color): Conquest by Andrea Smith and Sister Citizen by Melissa Harris-Perry.

  7. January 2, 2012

    I’m amazed that you’ve had time to read that Kirk book. I still haven’t finished…

  8. January 5, 2012

    Love Schussler Fiorenza!

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