I’ve made the offer again to let others choose my reading list, and sadly I have not gotten nearly the response as I have in years past. I think getting so precise on my themes for the year affected that, and it’s certainly reasonable to think that the more narrow my focus the fewer people will have books that meet the criteria.
For this year I wanted to focus on books that are either about other religions or were published at least 100 years ago. The list is not that long because I’ve learned from past years that I never complete any list made in January because other books end up getting added for various reasons. My goal is to work on books from prior years as I have time in 2018.
Inspiration and Authority of the Bible by B.B. Warfield. The author lived at the turn of the last century and was a well known leader in the defense of the reliability of the Bible against critics of that era. Of course the critics never stopped so I’m interested to see how his setting is different than our age and how he handled those who denied the inspiration of the Scriptures.
Sharing Your Faith With a Hindu by Madasamy Thirumalai. This book was recommended by a friend so it made the list. By the title it’s clear that it will be a Christian take on Hinduism so there is always a risk that the presentation of what Hindus actually believe will be skewed, but I have a second, more neutral book on Hinduism on my list as well.
Holiness by J.C. Ryle. This book was one of the top things I read in 2012 and it’s time I re-read it. Ryle was a faithful gospel advocate in the U.K. in the 19th century but his wisdom and insights are powerful today as well.
The History of Mr Polly – HG Wells. My friend Nick sent me a list of the Guardian newspaper’s best 100 books of all time which started a discussion of those we had and had not read. We’re going to read this together.
Holy War by John Bunyan. Bunyan’s famous work, Pilgrim’s Progress, also made the Guardian’s list. This book is lesser known but I have friends who contend it is actually better than Pilgrim’s Progress so I’ve added it to the list. Written in 1682, it is probably the oldest book on the list (if I don’t add On the Incarnation by Athanasius). I already own the Complete Works of John Bunyan, so I’ll try to read it in the original vernacular, but may need to switch to an updated version so I’m not bogged down.
Unveiling Islam: An Insider’s Look at Muslim Life and Beliefs by Ergun Mehmet Caner and Emir Fethi Caner. I got this book at a used book sale for 25 cents shortly after deciding to focus 2018 reading on non-Christian religions. When I got it I didn’t know anything about it, but it turns out some of my friends know the authors. Another book written from a Christian point of view so I’ll try to add something on Islam later in the year by a practicing Muslim, or maybe just read the Qur’an.
Hinduism, A Very Short Introduction by Kim Knott. I got this book at the same book sale. The #1 thing I liked about it was that it was also 25 cents. It’s only about 120 pages which means I’m likely to finish it. The author doesn’t seem to be a practicing Hindu, which would be better, but she is a credible academic and the work is published by Oxford University Press so I’m cautiously optimistic.
A New Buddhist Path by David Roy. I have to admit that I didn’t know there was an old Buddhist path, so reading about the new one could be over my head. Still, I’m hopeful there will be enough background in this larger than average book to keep my feet on solid ground and for 25 cents at the same book sale it seemed like a risk worth taking. (It gets fantastic Amazon reviews.)
The Souls of Black Folk by WEB DiBois. In a year where I didn’t get as many suggestions as usual, this book got two votes so it automatically makes the list. I’m guessing it’s not about white people, so that will keep my goal alive of reading things written by people who are not like me about people who are not like me.
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. My favorite librarian recommended this so I’m sure it will be wonderful given the thousands of books she sees every week that she didn’t recommend.