2015: A Year in Books


Last year I posted a bright year-end reading blog, talking about how I fail at all New Year’s resolutions, except for reading. “It was a cool year,” I wrote, “with rich reading from beginning to end.” I had set a 2014 reading goal of 150 books, essays, or lecture series. Because of a strong first half of the year, I hit that goal on June 30th, finishing the year with 225 pieces in total, including 108 books. It really was a great year.

HooperBooksI knew that 2015 was going to be a challenge going in, so I set the goal of 200 books, essays, and lecture series. If I only met that goal, it would be the first time I hadn’t grown as a reader (in quantity) for a decade. I wanted to read 100 books in total, knowing that if I went into a deep literature review the number of articles I read fully could really mount up.

One year ago, I couldn’t have anticipated how difficult 2015 was going to be. We began the year at the hospital bedside of a suddenly disabled parent, and have ended it preparing for the loss of another parent. I have lost teaching opportunities, faced simultaneous work pressures and financial strain, and saw a dream lurch suddenly over the horizon of possibility. While my writing has not gone dry, my hunt for an agent and publisher has. It has been a tremendously difficult year.

Yet, I am reading. As a PhD student it is my “job” to read. More than this, though, through the difficulties and disappointments of 2015, reading is a solace to me. Books are for me mental playgrounds, intellectual exercises, escapes not from something but into everything all at once.

In 2015 I met my goals and exceeded them a little. I read 109 books (Goodreads recognized 105 of them in the banner below), representing more than 30,000 pages of reading. I also listened to 5 lecture series and read 115 articles or essays. In total, not counting media, scans, quick reads and the like, I read more than 1,000,000 words in the stories, poetry, and nonfiction works that filled my year.


Essentially, I read just a little bit more in 2015 than in 2014. I’ll share the whole Goodreads infographic on Friday, but I’ve noticed an interesting pattern in my reading. While the number of articles and essays I might read goes up and down in my patterns of C.S. Lewis reading and academic writing. my book reading has a regular pattern. Here are my last two years of literature in graph form.

reading charts

I did a literature review in spring 2015, so you can see how the essays count goes up. But watch what happens when I select out just the books.

book charts

Except for March 2015, a stronger beginning to 2014 and a stronger ending to 2015, the charts are identical. I begin the year strongly, read a lot in summer, and finish each year well. Despite the fact that I am starting new classes in January as well as September, it is the fall semester preparation and spring marking that are the greatest barriers to reading.

It has been an eclectic year of reading. In 2014 I explored the 1980s SF and Fantasy writers. In 2015, I went back to the 1950s and 1960s, reading authors like Arthur C. Clarke, Brian Aldiss, and James Blish as they published work that C.S. Lewis may have read in his last decade, as well as some that came later (like Frank Herbert’s Dune or Ursula K. Le Guin’s earlier work).

In fantasy, I am reading through Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett‘s work–up to the 15th Discworld novel–and was sad to hear that we lost Pratchett in 2015. I look forward to continuing on this path and rereading Harry Potter with my niece in 2016.

2015_picsThis classic SciFi and contemporary fantasy reading is a kind of canonical recovery for me–returning to books that have formed me whether or not I have actually read them. I also did this by reading Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, and classical Christian writers: Dante, Augustine, Athanasias, Chaucer, Milton, Chesterton, Calvin, Reinhold Niebuhr, Thomas à Kempis, Dallas Willard, and Watchman Nee.

These books contributed to a theologically strong year, adding to it work from emerging thinkers like Rachel Held Evans, Scot McKnight, and Anna Fisk’s groundbreaking Sex, Sin, and Our Selves. In 2016 I’ll continue moving toward a feminist theology reading path as part of my PhD work.

9I finished a paper for the upcoming King Arthur and the Inklings collection, and spent a great deal of time in Charles Williams and literary criticism in the first half of the year. Williams continues to capture my imagination, and I will move deeper into his world by reading Grevel Lindop’s new biography. I also started working in Owen Barfield and reading more deeply in Dorothy Sayers and G.K. Chesterton.

And, of course, I have continued on in my project of reading C.S. Lewis chronologically. Half of the pieces I read in 2015 were by Lewis–though he is a brief writer, so that’s probably only 1/4 or 1/3 of the actual reading time. I began 2015 in Lewis’ 1945, and am now closing in on the end of his 1958. In that period of time:

  • WWII ended but rationing continued in England
  • Lewis finished his Ransom Cycle and never returned to long-form Science Fiction
  • He lost his close friend Charles Williams, his step-mother, and a literary pen-friend, Dorothy L. Sayers
  • He completed his magnum opus in 16th century literary history
  • He began and completed Narnia, changing his literary destiny forever
  • He changed his academic position, moving to a Chair in Cambridge from a support position in Oxford
  • He wrote Till We Have Faces, which almost nobody read (at the time)
  • He wrote his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, and fell in love with a dying woman

books1It was an absolutely transformational period for Lewis, and effected me as I read it. In my 2015 reading, Lewis began as a Christian public intellectual who dabbled in fiction, and ended as an eminent literary historian and globally recognized children’s author. He began as a bachelor and ended as a lover. He began as a young, fiery contender and ended as a quiet and witty professional writer in the twilight of his life.

Because of where Lewis was in his historical moment, I explored dystopian literature (like Aldous Huxley and George Orwell), and did a good amount of reading about the context of late war and post-war Britain. I spent a good deal of the year in the 16th century, because that is where Lewis’ work led. I think my 2015 bookshelf is darker than you might guess from my personality–not least because of Lewis’ context in the 1940s and 1950s.

What of 2016?

It is difficult for me to predict. I don’t know my teaching load past the winter, but this semester I am working with a team on an intro course at UPEI called, “Inquiry Studies.” I have a handful of graduate students with Regent College’s excellent distance program–a great Eugene Peterson course on Soulcraft–and I have been invited to be a preceptor for a course called “The Inklings and Science Fiction” at the Mythgard Academy. I look forward to Doug Anderson’s course, and putting “preceptor” on my resume should raise some eyebrows! I would encourage you to sign up for one of these great courses.

MythgardHeaderThere are personal struggles ahead, I know. And my work in consultation is intense right now, and may be intensifying. I think 2016 is going to be a challenge. There is grace, I trust, in these times too.

Still, I would like to set my sights high. In 2016 I aim to hold steady, with 5 lectures series, 115 articles, and 110 books–230 pieces overall. We’ll see. But I would rather fail in actuality than in intention.

Here is my list of books in my 2015 reading. “CSL” below means “C.S. Lewis.” I’ve linked some of the blogs that connect with the things I’ve read. Are any of these books yours? If so, feel free to link my list. If you have your own year-end list or best-of blog, make sure you list it!

2015 Reading List
# Date Book
1 Jan 01 Henry Adams Bellows, “Introduction,” some poems, and critical notes of The Poetic Edda (1936)
2 Jan 01 John Hollander, The Figure of an Echo (1981)
3 Jan 01 Neil GaimanAnansi Boys (2005)
4 Jan 02 Andrew Lang, Blue Fairy Book (1889)
5 Jan 03 Stephen KingOn Writing (2000)
6 Jan 06 Mary McDermott Shideler, “Introduction” to Williams’ Arthuriad, plus read some of the poems and Lewis notes.
7 Jan 08 Joe H. McClatchy, “Charles Williams and the Arthurian Tradition” (1994)
8 Jan 08 Mary Shelley, Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel (1818; 2009)
9 Jan 09 David Llewellyn Dodds, ed. “Introduction” and other features of Arthurian Poets: Charles Williams (1991)
10 Jan 09 Susan Wending, “Charles Williams and the Quest for the Holy Grail” (2010)
11 Jan 09 Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (1932)
12 Jan 13 Virginia WoolfA Room of One’s Own (1929)
13 Jan 15 CSL, The Abolition of Man (1943)
14 Jan 15 Barbara Newman, “Eliot’s Affirmative Way: Julian of Norwich, Charles Williams, and Little Gidding” (2011)
15 Jan 18 Paul Fry, “Eng 300: Introduction to the Theory of Literature” class at Yale University (2007)
16 Jan 19 Barbara Newman, “Charles Williams and the Companions of the Co-inherence” (2009)
17 Jan 20 Humphrey Carpenter, The Inklings (1978)
18 Jan 21 Claude Lévi-Strauss, “Myth and Meaning” CBC Massey Lectures (1977)
19 Jan 24 Robert Fulford, “The Triumph of Narrative: Storytelling in the Age of Mass Culture” CBC Massey Lectures (1999)
20 Jan 25 Charles Williams, War in Heaven (1930)
21 Jan 31 Various, Literary Criticism: Key Terms and Concepts, class in Cambridge
22 Jan 31 CSL, An Experiment in Criticism (1961)
23 Feb 04 Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind (1963)
24 Feb 05 Arend Smilde, “Alister McGrath, C.S. Lewis: A Life: A Review Essay” (2012)
25 Feb 05 C.S. Lewis, interviewed by Wayland Young (1962)
26 Feb 10 Stanley J. Grenz, Primer on Postmodernism (1996)
27 Feb 11 Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice (1812)
28 Feb 16 William O’Flaherty, “Not Quite Lewis: Questionable Lewisian Quotations” (2015)
29 Feb 16 Chaucer, “Canterbury Tales: Prologue” trans. by Nevill Coghill (late 14th c.; 1951)
30 Feb 16 CSL, “Screwtape Proposes a Toast” (1959), read by John Cleese
31 Feb 17 Anna Fisk, Sex, Sin, and Our Selves (2014)
32 Feb 18 Franz Kafka, The Castle (1924/1998)
33 Feb 20 George M. Marsden, The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: 1950s & the Crisis of Liberal Belief (2014)
34 Feb 25 Alan Jacobs, The Narnian (2005)
35 Feb 26 Charlie Starr, “Two Pieces from C.S. Lewis’s ‘Moral Good’ Manuscript: A First Publication” (1924, 1928; 2014)
36 Feb 26 CSL, George MacDonald: An Anthology (1945)
37 Feb 26 CSL, “Work and Prayer” (1945)
38 Feb 26 CSL, “Screwtape Proposes a Toast” (1959)
39 Feb 27 CSL, “Meditation in a Toolshed” (1945)
40 Feb 28 CSL, “Oliver Elton (1861–1945): an obituary” (1945)
41 Feb 28 CSL, “The Sermon and the Lunch” (1945)
42 Feb 28 CSL, Letter “A Village Experience,” (1945)
43 Feb 28 CSL, “Hedonics” (1945)
44 Mar 01 CSL, Spirits in Bondage (1919)
45 Mar 04 Scot McKnight, The Blue Parakeet (2010)
46 Mar 04 CSL, “Addison” (1945)
47 Mar 06 Marilynne Robinson, Gilead (2004)
48 Mar 06 CSL, “After Priggery—What?” (1945)
49 Mar 06 CSL, “Scraps” (1945)
50 Mar 08 CSL, Narrative Poems (1930s; 1969)
51 Mar 10 CSL, Collected Poems
52 Mar 11 CSL, “Screwtape Proposes a Toast” (1959)
53 Mar 12 Orson Scott Card, The Ender’s Game (1985)
54 Mar 13 CSL, “Charles Williams, Taliessin Through Logres” (1946)
55 Mar 13 CSL, “Miserable Offenders” (1946)
56 Mar 13 G.K. Chesterton, A Short History of England (1917)
57 Mar 13 CSL, “The Transmission of Christianity” (1946)
58 Mar 15 Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man (1991)
59 Mar 17 CSL, “Is Theology Poetry” (1945)
60 Mar 18 CSL, “Different Tastes in Literature” (1946)
61 Mar 18 Charles Williams, Sørina Higgins, The Chapel of the Thorn (1912; 2014)
62 Mar 20 CSL, “Talking About Bicylcles” (1946)
63 Mar 20 CSL, “Modern Man and his Categories of Thought” (1946)
64 Mar 21 G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (1908)
65 Mar 23 CSL, “Period Criticism” (1946)
66 Mar 23 CSL, “Religion without Dogma” (1946)
67 Mar 23 CSL, “Naturalism is Self-Refuting” (1947)
68 Mar 23 CSL, “Man or Rabbit” (1946)
69 Mar 23 Heather Walton, Writing Methods in Theological Reflection (2014)
70 Mar 25 CSL, “The Grand Miracle” (1945)
71 Mar 26 CSL, Miracles (1947)
72 Mar 29 J.B.S. Haldane, “Auld Hornie, FRS” (1946)
73 Mar 29 CSL, “A Reply to Professor Haldane” (1947?)
74 Apr 06 CSL, “Modern Translations of the Bible” (1947)
75 Apr 06 CSL, “Douglas Bush, “Paradise Lost in Our Time: Some Comments” review (1947)
76 Apr 06 CSL, “On Forgiveness” (1946)
77 Apr 11 CSL, “Vivisection” (1947)
78 Apr 11 CSL, “The Morte Darthur” (1947)
79 Apr 12 George Sayer, Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis (1988, 1996)
80 Apr 14 CSL, ed. Essays Presented to Charles Williams (1947)
81 Apr 15 Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (1963)
82 Apr 16 Gregory M. Anderson, “Reflections on the Psalms: C.S. Lewis as Biblical Commentator” (2015)
83 Apr 18 Anthony Rose, “The Lost Legacy of Josiah Royce and its Implications on American Psychology”
84 Apr 19 Reinhold Neihbuhr, The Irony of American History (1952)
85 Apr 21 CSL, “Kipling’s World” (1948)
86 Apr 21 Lyle W Dorsett, Surprised by Love (1982)
87 Apr 22 CSL, “Life in the Atomic Age” (1948)
88 Apr 22 CSL, “The Trouble with X” (1948)
89 Apr 22 CSL, “God in the Dock” (1948)
90 Apr 22 Frank Herbert, Dune (1965)
91 Apr 22 CSL, “Some Thoughts” (1948)
92 Apr 23 Tom Clancy, Executive Orders(1997)
93 Apr 26 CSL, “Imagery in the Last Eleven Cantoes of Dante‘s Comedy (1948)
94 May 02 Walter Hooper, “Warnie’s Problem: An Introduction to a Letter from C.S. Lewis to Owen Barfield” (1949; 2015)
95 May 02 Michael Dobbs, 6 Months in 1945: FDR, Churchill, Stalin, Truman and the Making of the Modern World (2012)
96 May 04 CSL, “Priestesses in the Church” (1948)
97 May 07 CSL, “Screwtape Prepares a Toast” (1959)
98 May 08 Thomas More, Utopia (1516)
99 May 08 CSL, “On Church Music” (1949)
100 May 08 CSL, “The Novels of Charles Williams” (1949)
101 May 13 Matthew Dickerson, “Affirming the Creative and the Heroic” in The Mind and the Machine (2011)
102 May 14 CSL, “Selected Sermons of Ronald Knox” Review (1949)
103 May 14 CSL, “The Lefay Fragment” (1949)
104 May 14 CSL, Letters on The Church Liturgy and Saints (1949)
105 May 15 CSL, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1949)
106 May 15 CSL, “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment” (1949)
107 May 17 CSL, Prince Caspian (1950)
108 May 18 CSL, “The Pains of Animals: A Problem in Theology” (1950)
109 May 18 CSL, “What Are We to Make of Jesus Christ?” (1950)
110 May 18 Walter Hooper, The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis: Vol 2: Books, Broadcasts, and the War 1931-1949 (2004)
111 May 19 CSL, “Eustace’s Diary” (1950)
112 May 20 Lila Abu-Lughod, “Writing Against Culture” (1991)
113 May 21 CSL, “Owen Barfield, This Ever Diverse Pair: Review” (1950)
114 May 21 CSL, Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1950)
115 May 22 CSL, “The Literary Impact of the Authorized Version” (1950)
116 May 23 CSL, “Historicism” (1950)
117 May 24 Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene: Vol 1 (1590s)
118 May 26 CSL, “Howard Rollin Patch, The Other World According to Descriptions in Medieval Literature” (1951)
119 May 27 CSL, “The World’s Last Night” (1951)
120 May 28 CSL, The Silver Chair (1951)
121 May 29 Anne Meneley and Donna J. Young, “Introduction: Auto-ethnographies of Academic Practices” in Auto-ethnographies: The Antrhropology of Academic Practicies (2005)
122 May 30 Larry Niven, Ringworld (1970)
123 Jun 01 Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene: Vol 2 (1590s)
124 Jun 03 CSL, “The Empty Universe” (1952)
125 Jun 03 CSL, “On 3 Ways of Writing For Children” (1952)
126 Jun 03 CSL, “Hero and Leander”
127 Jun 05 CSL, Mere Christianity (1952)
128 Jun 08 Sidney, Selections from Arcadia and Other Poetry and Prose, ed. T.W. Clark (16th c., 1965)
129 Jun 09 Dante, The Divine Comedy (trans. J.A. Carlyle, 1308-1320)
130 Jun 09 CSL, “Is Theism Important” (1952)
131 Jun 13 Thomas Penn, The Winter King (2013)
132 Jun 14 CSL, “Edmund Spenser, 1552-1599” (1952)
133 Jun 15 Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad (1991)
134 Jun 17 CSL, The Horse and His Boy (1953)
135 Jun 20 Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travel (1735)
136 Jun 23 CSL, The Last Battle (1953)
137 Jun 25 CSL, “Alan M.F. Gunn,” The Mirror of Love, review (1953)
138 Jun 30 CSL, Oxford History of the English Language: 16th Century English Literature Excluding Drama (1954)
139 Jul 01 Dorothy L. Sayers, Whose Body? (1923)
140 Jul 03 Niall Ferguson, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power (2003)
141 Jul 03 CSL, “Petitionary Prayer: A Problem Without An Answer” (1953)
142 Jul 05 CSL, The Magician’s Nephew (1953)
143 Jul 06 Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle, Inferno (1974)
144 Jul 06 St. Augustine, Confessions (late 4th c.)
145 Jul 14 Ian Mortimer, The Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England (2012)
146 Jul 16 Roger Lancelyn Green and Walter Hooper, C.S. Lewis: A Biography (1974)
147 Jul 18 Gary Paulsen, Hatchet (1992)
148 Jul 19 Ursula K. LeGuin, Left Hand of Darkness (1969)
149 Jul 20 Courtney Reissig, The Accidental Feminist: Restoring Our Delight in God’s Good Design (2015)
150 Jul 22 Aren Roukema, A Veil that Reveals: Charles Williams and the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross,” Journal of Inklings Studies 5.1 (April 2015): 22-71
151 Jul 23 CSL, “The gods return to earth: J.R.R. Tolkine, The Fellowship of the Ring,” a review (1954)
152 Jul 25 Andrew C. Stout, “‘It Can Be Done, You Know’: The Shape, Sources, and Seriousness of Charles Williams’s Doctrine of Substituted Love.”  SEVEN 31 (2014): 9-29.
153 Jul 27 CSL, “A Note on Jane Austen” (1955)
154 Jul 28 Lois Lowry, The Willoughbys (2008)
155 Jul 28 Stephen King, Eyes of the Dragon (1984)
156 Jul 31 CSL, “Xmas and Christmas” (1954)
157 Aug 03 CSL, “De Descriptione Temporum” (1954)
158 Aug 05 C.F. Cooper, Songs of the Metamythos (2014)
159 Aug 05 Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child (1994)
160 Aug 06 CSL, “George Orwell” (1955)
161 Aug 08 CSL, Surprised by Joy (1954)
162 Aug 08 CSL, “Prudery and Philology” (1955)
163 Aug 12 CSL, “Men Without Chests” (1943)
164 Aug 14 Alister Fowley, “CSL: Supervisor” (2003)
165 Aug 18 CSL, Foreword to Joy Davidman, Smoke on the Mountain (1955)
166 Aug 18 William Wordsworth, Poems in Two Volumes, vol. I (1803)
167 Aug 18 Joy Davidman, “The Longest Way Round” (1952)
168 Aug 19 Neil Gaiman, American Gods (2001)
168 Aug 21 Rachel Held Evans, Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church (2015)
170 Aug 26 CSL, Till We Have Faces (1955)
171 Aug 27 CSL, Studies in Words (1960; 1967)
172 Aug 27 Jean Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion: Book I, including extended prefaces (1559)
173 Aug 28 Sheldon Vanauken, A Severe Mercy (1977)
174 Sep 01 CSL, “A Tribute to E.R. Eddison” (1940s-50s)
175 Sep 01 CSL, “Lilies that Fester” (1955?)
176 Sep 01 CSL, “On Obstinacy and Belief” (1955)
177 Sep 02 Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana, Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions (2011)
178 Sep 09 CSL, “On Science Fiction” (1955)
179 Sep 09 Warren Berger, A More Beautiful Question chs. 1 & 5 (2014)
180 Sep 11 Margaret George, The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers (1986)
181 Sep 13 Flannery O’Connor, Everything That Rises Must Converge (1950s-1960s)
182 Sep 15 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers (1954)
183 Sep 15 G.K. Chesterton, Heretics (1905)
184 Sep 18 Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy (1998)
185 Sep 29 Virginia Woolf, Orlando: A Biography (1928)
186 Oct 02 Terry Pratchett, Small Gods (1992)
187 Oct 02 CSL, “Dante’s Statius” (1955-56)
188 Oct 03 CSL, “The Language of Religion” (c. 1955-63)
189 Oct 04 CSL, “The Shoddy Lands” (1956)
190 Oct 04 CSL, “Sir Walter Scott” (1956)
191 Oct 04 CSL, “Interim Report” (1956)
192 Oct 04 CSL, “A Slip of the Tongue” (1956)
193 Oct 07 CSL, “Imagination and Thought in the Middle Ages” (1956)
194 Oct 11 Scot McKnight, A Fellowship of Differents (2015)
195 Oct 15 John A.T. Robinson, intro of Honest to God (1963)
196 Oct 16 David Crystal, The Story of English in 100 Words (2013)
197 Oct 26 Jean Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion: Book II (1559)
198 Oct 31 Owen Barfield, Poetic Diction (1928)
199 Nov 03 CSL, “Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What’s to Be Said” (1956)
200 Nov 03 CSL, “Behind the Scenes” (1956)
201 Nov 07 Jane Austen, Sense & Sensibility (1811)
202 Nov 10 J. Aleksandr Wootton, A First or Final Mischief (2015)
203 Nov 15 Jane Austen, Persuasion (1817)
204 Nov 15 Belleville, Keener, Blomberg, Schreiner, Two Views on Women in Ministry, Counterpoints (2005)
205 Nov 21 Rebecca Stead, When You Reach Me (2009)
206 Nov 22 CSL & Alistair Fowley, Spenser’s Images of Life (1967)
207 Nov 22 CSL, review of Werner Schwarz, Principles and Problems of Biblical Translation (1957)
208 Nov 25 Dalai Lama, The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality (2006)
209 Nov 30 CSL, “Is History Bunk” (1957)
210 Dec 07 Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (early 15th c.)
211 Dec 08 Abigail Santamaria, Joy: Poet, Seeker, and the Woman Who Captivated C. S. Lewis (2015)
212 Dec 09 Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies (1992)
213 Dec 14 CSL, Reflections on the Psalms (1957)
214 Dec 15 CSL, “What Christmas Means to Me” (1957)
215 Dec 15 CSL, “Delinquents in the Snow” (1957)
216 Dec 15 CSL, “Religion and Rocketry” (1958)
217 Dec 15 CSL, “A Panegyric for Dorothy L. Sayers” (1958)
218 Dec 15 CSL, “Ministering Angels” (1958)
219 Dec 15 CSL, “The Psalms” (c. 1957-8)
220 Dec 15 Terry Pratchett, “Troll Bridge” (1992)
221 Dec 17 Watchman Nee, The Life that Wins (1935)
222 Dec 21 Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood’s End (1953)
223 Dec 22 Brian Aldiss, Hothouse (1962)
224 Dec 27 Mark H. Williams, Sleepless Knights (2013)
225 Dec 27 Rachel Held Evans, Faith Unravelled: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions (2010)
226 Dec 28 CSL, “Is Progress Possible? Willings Slaves of the Socialist State” (1958)
227 Dec 28 CSL, “Revival or Decay” (1958)
228 Dec 29 CSL, The Four Loves broadcast (1958)
229 Dec 29 James Blish, A Case of Conscience (1958)


About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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24 Responses to 2015: A Year in Books

  1. Kris says:

    So many awesome books! I’ve read or been wanting to read many of these!


  2. wanderwolf says:

    I’m sorry about the personal/professional difficulties you’ve had this year. But I think it’s great what you’ve accomplished in growing as a reader! I love that you keep track of what you read… makes me want to do the same thing. You’ve reminded me that I used to do a lot more reading than I do now, and I think it’s time to change that again.
    Thanks! And good luck to you in 2016… in every way!


    • Thanks for the note and the encouragement. I believe I have an email open somewhere saying you are talking about boogers!
      Goodreads tracks reading and you can see my copy and paste of the annual report inforgraphic tomorrow. It’s kind of cool. I’m hoping the Goodreads app is easier than the website, but we’ll see.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. robstroud says:

    Man, you make me feel like a reading pipsqueak!


  4. loritischler says:

    Yay! Thank you for your inspirational reading list, Brenton; I’ve resolved (been conscientious-pricked) to read half the 52 UNread books I own. Because I’m committed to 2 monthly book groups and can only manage read (probably) 2 more books per month, that total is 52 for 2016. Nothing like yours, but then, I’m not you. (I’m a pithy and observant writer, ain’t I?!)
    Blessings abundant, and BE FAITHFUL AND DO NOT GIVE UP. A talent and humility like yours will be materially rewarded one day!!
    All God’s best with your reading AND WRITING.


    • A book a week is a big deal. At some point in my PhD I hope to find time to amp up, but there is a normal human level for me closer to a book a week.
      I have heard that Alister McGrath reads 15-20 books a week. I ain’t he!


  5. Karen Scheffler says:

    Dear Brenton, A raw post. Hope and prayers Love and Joy in the new year. I thank you for the Good you spread through your journey. And that list of books!! Inspiring 😊 Peace & Love to you and you family




  6. L.A. Smith says:

    Getting the high-five of respect from me, Brenton! I have been lamenting this year over my lack of reading…I used to read voraciously but now struggle to find the time. However in stepping back and examining things, I realize that a lot of my reading time has been eaten up by social media – Facebook being a big contender. I am aiming this year to cut back on social media and read more books!


    • Blogging takes time too. I have strengthened my reading in a couple of ways. Audiobooks have helped, and I do reading binges–evenings or occasionally a day of reading. Still, it is a big job to keep current as a research student.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: 2015: A Year of Reading: The Infographic | A Pilgrim in Narnia

  8. Sarah Thomson says:

    I’m curious about your no. 6 Jan. 6 entry. Can you give me a citation for Shideler’s introduction to to Williams’ Arthuriad?


    • Thanks for the question. THe full title is “The theology of romantic love: a study in the writings of Charles Williams.” I was not overly impressed with it, to be honest. Nothing negative–just never caught me.


  9. Bill says:

    I enjoy this list every year. Thanks for sharing it. I’m impressed at the sheer quantity of (often challenging) high-quality books you can finish in a year. Although I’ve read many of these, we had only one overlap for the year–Gilead. I’ve seen lots of recommendations of her writing and finally got around to reading something from her. Wasn’t disappointed and intend to go back for me.

    May you have a great 2016, filled with peace, joy and (of course) great reading.


    • THanks for the encouragement Bill. I actually thought of y’all today as I was out chopping wood. I sometimes dream of farm life, and then I do a little yard work that snaps me back to reality.
      Marilynne Robinson I discovered only about 4 years ago. It is probably the most accessible literary fiction I’ve ever read. And she is one of the few Christians (progressive, reformed) that have a general market appeal and respect.


  10. Wow, you had a great reading year! It’s encouraging to read year ending/new year posts because one realizes that the struggles we go through and the joys we experience are common to everyone. While the experiences aren’t exactly the same, there is a commonality that makes one realize that “we’re all together in this”.

    I just spent the last week with some Regent profs, on a lovely island, and met two more. As is often said, “it’s a small world”. 🙂

    All the best in 2016!


    • I TOTALLY miss Vancouver–especially in Winter. I’m hoping some day to get back again and visit Regent. Do you follow their audio email list? They often do 1/2 price on their (pretty expensive) courses.
      THanks for the encouragement. I am amazed at the level of blogging and reading you do in classical work. As you see, I’m trying to catch up. By the age of 50, I’m hoping to have the reading experience that a well-educated 15 year old should have.


  11. Joe R. Christopher says:

    What do you mean Lewis never returned to science fiction? How about “Ministering Angels”?–his best short story (say I and many others).


  12. Pingback: Changing Signs of Truth: Thinking about Postmodernism with Stan Grenz’ and Crystal Downing | A Pilgrim in Narnia

  13. Pingback: Why C.S. Lewis Says My Reading Program is Wrong, or What Cheese has to do with Reading | A Pilgrim in Narnia

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