Books read in 2023


This past year I read 58 a books, a few more than last year, but still nowhere near my pre-pandemic average. I’m hoping that this year I will be to get a bit closer to the amount I read back in, say, 2019, before the routines of daily life got scrambled. My concentration–which was certainly thrown off for awhile during the shut-in period of the pandemic–largely seems to have returned. I know that’s directly connected to being able to resume something that resembles a regular routine and social life and maintain those things across many months. In all honesty, I think that the ways in which we have been impacted by the pandemic–psychologically, socially, spiritually, and intellectually–won’t be fully understood for years to come.

As in past years, much of my reading was driven by work. I read several works related to First Unitarian Universalist’s “Lives of the Spirit” program, a fair amount connected to the book on contemporary Unitarian Universalist theology I am finishing up, and a bit related to a new project I’ve started on the religious roots of white supremacy. My first efforts from that project will be published in Race & Class later this spring. I didn’t read all that much related to my ongoing work in populism, largely because I spent much of the year waiting for reviews from Wayne State University Press. Now that those are in, I am revising my manuscript for publication and so will be reading more on the subjects that it covers in the coming months.

In terms of what I enjoyed, I really got into Sally Rooney at the end of 2022 and appreciated the opportunity to finish Normal People and Conversations with Friends in 2023. It is fun reading millennial intellectual fiction–her books are basically high-brow romance novels–and I treasure the opportunity to sit down and just devour something. As for non-fiction, I read a lot of Alasdair MacIntyre because I was part of a reading group devoted to his philosophy over the year. I don’t know if I precisely enjoyed his books, they are pretty dense, but the conversations that came out of them were very rich and his understanding of the nature of tradition, character formation, and virtue ethics has shaped a lot my recent preaching.

I didn’t read anything particularly awful in 2023 so there’s nothing I would lift-up as the worst book of the year. Anyway, here’s my list, in order of texts read:

Poor Richard, Philip Guston
Normal People, Sally Rooney
The Communist Manifesto (audio book), Karl Marx and Frederick Engels
Frontera de Ordesa (Red de evasión Ponzán), Juanarete and David Tapia
Writing God’s Obituary: How a Good Methodist Became a Better Atheist, Anthony Pinn
Our Covenant: The 2000-01 Minns Lectures: The Lay and Liberal Doctrine of the Church: The Spirit and the Promise of Our Covenant, Alice Blair Wesley
Hungarian Catholic Intellectuals in Contemporary Romania: Reforming Apostles, Marc Roscoe Loustau
Black Freethinkers: A History of African American Secularism, Christopher Cameron
The Magnificent Spinster, May Sarton
Whose Justice? Which Rationality?, Alasdair MacIntyre
The Coming Good Society: Why New Realities Demand New Rights, William Schulz and Sushma Raman
Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie
Acts of the Apostles
Love & Politics, Judith Malina
The Books of Jacob, Olga Tokarczuk
Children of the Same of God, Susan Ritchie
The South: Jim Crow and Its Afterlives, Adolph Reed, Jr.
Conflagration: How the Transcendentalists Sparked the American Struggle for Racial, Gender, and Social Justice, John Buehrens
All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things, Robert Fulghum
Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry: Encyclopaedia, Genealogy, and Tradition, Alasdair MacIntyre
Conversations with Friends, Sally Rooney
The Lagoon of Venice, Edoardo Salzano
The Enchantress of Florence, Salman Rushdie
Usagi Yojimbo: The Green Dragon, Stan Sakai
The Bell, Iris Murdoch
The Boys, Omnibus Vol. 1, Garth Ennis
The Letter of Paul to the Romans
Abbott: 1973, Saladin Ahmed
Neonomicon, Alan Moore
John Constantine, Hellblazer, Vol. 5: Dangerous Habits, Jamie Delano and Garth Ennis
Modern Virtue: Mary Wollstonecraft and a Tradition of Dissent, Emily Dumler-Winckler
H.P. Lovecraft’s the Call of Cthulhu for Beginning Readers, R. J. Ivankovic
Dependent Rational Animals: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues, Alasdair MacIntyre
Usagi Yojimbo Saga, Book 8, Stan Sakai
Usagi Yojimbo Saga, Book 9, Stan Sakai
Abraham Joshua Heschel: A Life of Radical Amazement, Julian Zelizer
The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leading Multi-Racial and Multi-Cultural Congregations, Jacqueline Lewis
Man’s Quest for God, Abraham Joshua Heschel
Mountains and Rivers Without End, Gary Snyder
The First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians
The End of God Talk: An African American Humanist Theology, Anthony Pinn
What Torture Taught Me; And Other Reflections on Justice and Theology, William Schulz
Borderlands/La Frontera; The New Mestiza, Gloria Anzaldúa
The Boys, Omnibus Vol. 2, Garth Ennis
Saga, Vol. 10, Brian Vaughan
Grave Attending: A Political Theology for the Unredeemed, Karen Bray
Time Bites: Views and Reviews, Doris Lessing
Jesus and the Disinherited, Howard Thurman
The Three Body Problem, Cixin Liu
The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist, Dorothy Day
Reconquest and Conquest in Medieval Spain, Joseph O’Callaghan
Father Christmas Goes on Holiday, Raymond Briggs
The Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians
The Way of the Mystics: Walking with God: the Sermon Series of Howard Thurman, Vol. 2, Howard Thurman
Father Christmas, Raymond Briggs
The Boys, Omnibus Vol. 3, Garth Ennis
Monstress, Vol. 7: Devourer, Marjorie Liu
Monstress, Vol. 8: Inferno, Marjorie Liu

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