Here is my reading list for 2006. I read 45 books this year, which is 3 fewer than in 2005. That's primarily due to my school and work schedule, which began in late September. You can see a distinct drop off after that time. It'll be much the same this year, with me in school all year. I'll probably be lucky to finish 25 books this year. Oh well.
Anyway, here's the list. I've put a few relevant comments next to some of them.
Shock Wave – Clive Cussler…1/22
The Closing of the Western Mind – Charles Freeman…1/23 -- This was an excellent book discussing how the rise of Christianity destroyed the Greek intellectual tradition and sent the western world into a 1000-year dark age. Despite the name and the subject matter, the book is very neutral and non-biased...it's a historical and factual look at how Christianity impacted the ancient world, rather than a condemnation of Christianity as a religion.
A Game For Heroes – Jack Higgins…1/28
A Million Little Pieces – James Frey…2/5 -- This is the now infamous autobiography by James Frey, a former hardcore drug and alchol addict, recounting his 6 weeks in rehab, for which he later admitted he had made some of the "facts" up. It was the book that had Oprah up in arms because she had picked it for her bookclub, without realizing he had made some stuff up. Regardless, the book was still a moving and disturbing account of the realities of addiction.
A Study in Scarlet – Arthur Conan Doyle…2/6
Archangel – Robert Harris…2/19
The Case for Christ – Lee Strobel…2/25 -- Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged was the first book I ever read that I seriously considered throwing across the room and/or destroying. The Case for Christ was the second.
Stonehenge – Bernard Cornwell…3/4
The Sign of Four – Arthur Conan Doyle…3/7
A Season in Hell – Jack Higgins…3/11
Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time – Marcus Borg…3/11 -- Highly recommended to anyone who grew up as a Christian and later grew disillusioned with some of the beliefs of their younger years.
Flood Tide – Clive Cussler…3/18
Flight of Eagles – Jack Higgins…3/21
Velvet Elvis – Rob Bell…3/24 -- A pretty good Chrsitian apologetic by a progressive non-denominational mega-church pastor in Michigan. A nice change of pace from the typical shallow, cheesy crap put out by most mega-church pastors.
The Last Templar – Raymond Khoury…4/2
No Death, No Fear – Thich Nhat Hanh…4/8
It Can't Happen Here – Sinclair Lewis…4/14
This Hebrew Lord – John Shelby Spong…4/20
Atlantis Found – Clive Cussler…4/30
The Eagle Has Flown – Jack Higgins…5/4
God is a Verb – David Cooper…5/13 -- This is a book covering the Jewish mystical tradition, including Kabbalah. Very enlightening and eye-opening, but also a bit hard to stay with in places.
Christ the Lord – Anne Rice…5/21 -- The first book I ever attempted to read by Anne Rice was Interview with the Vampire. I quit after about 50 pages because it was so overtly graphic, bloody, and disturbing. Thus, it was odd for me to read a fictionalized account, by her, of the childhood of Jesus, written from a strict Catholic dogmatic perspective. She's apparently returned to faith after years of atheism, and while she hasn't overtly "recanted" all her earlier works, she apparently doesn't intend to be the "Queen of Horror" anymore. While she may view her previous work as the brainchild of her evil atheist days, she sure isn't rejecting the royalty checks, I'm sure!
Valhalla Rising – Clive Cussler…6/7
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle…6/8
Traveling Music – Neil Peart…6/14
Sons and Lovers – D.H. Lawrence…7/9 -- I like D.H. Lawrence, and Sons and Lovers is the third book I've read by him (the previous two being Lady Chatterly's Lover and a book of short stories). I wish, after having read this book, that I could say I understand why it is consistently included on lists of the best novels of the 20th century. Sadly, I can't. It was certainly vintage D.H. Lawrence, but it dragged something awful.
The Book of the Dead – Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child…7/22
Blue Like Jazz – Donald Miller…7/23 -- Another good Christian apologetic. However, Miller's theology and view of the world is one of the most unusual, perplexing, and enigmatic that I have ever encountered in the realm of Christianity. He is a raging left-wing liberal. In the book, he uses curse words and other off color language (from time to time), and recounts stories of attending anti-Bush rallies and anti-war rallies. He talks about smoking pot and drinking, and doesn't condemn those things. Yet, his theology is basically in line with traditional evangelical theology. God is a supernatural being, up in heaven, invading history to control events, responding to specific individual prayers, and taking an active role in the lives of human beings. Jesus was God in the flesh, born of a virgin, rose physically from the dead, and ascended to heaven. The Holy Spirit is a living, active, life-changing force in the world. I don't think I've ever encountered an individual with such seemingly contradictory ideas about theology vs. culture/society/politics.
Night of the Fox – Jack Higgins…8/4
Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas – Elaine Pagels…8/6
The Eye of the Needle – Ken Follett…8/16
Beyond the Influence – Katherine Ketcham, et al…8/26
Black Order – James Rollins…8/27
Keep the Aspidistra Flying – George Orwell…9/10 -- This was my third time reading this great early Orwell novel. I suppose this is the only Orwell novel that has a happy ending.
Congo – Michael Crichton…9/17 -- This was another re-read. Oh for Michael Crichton to still write relevant, engaging, techno-thrillers like Congo, Sphere, and Jurassic Park, instead of the neo-con drivel he passes off as fiction these days.
The Templar Legacy – Steve Berry…10/8
Walking the Bible – Bruce Feiler…10/15
River God – Wilbur Smith…11/3 -- Another re-read. One of my all time favorite novels. Set in ancient Egypt.
The Tao of Sobriety – David Gregson & Jay S. Efran…11/21
Warlock – Wilbur Smith…11/24 -- Another re-read, also set in ancient Egypt.
The Bormann Testament – Jack Higgins…11/25
The Seventh Scroll – Wilbur Smith…12/12 -- Another re-read. This is the book that is in between River God and Warlock, but unlike those two, this book takes place in the modern day, and is about the archaeological search for the tomb of the pharaoh who was buried in River God. This may be my favorite thriller novel.
A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens…12/14 -- After years of seeing the various movies and stage reproductions, this was my first time reading this book, and also my first time reading Dickens. It was absolutely sublime. No movie or play quite captures the spirit of the book itself (although Scrooge with Albert Finny comes damn close!).
The Last Kingdom – Bernard Cornwell…12/25
Breakfast of Champions – Kurt Vonnegut…12/27