Favorite books of 2011

Here is a list of my favorite reads from this year (not all of these books were published in 2011, it just happens to be when I read them). It’s more of an eclectic mix than the last few years, mostly because I didn’t have to read nearly as much for research purposes as usual. Some are light hearted and others more serious. I just started the bio of Steve Jobs, but I’m not far enough along to see where it will rank. As much as I appreciate Rob Bell’s Love Wins, especially his ability to communicate so well to such a wide audience, it doesn’t appear on my list. I liked it just fine, but as many others have expressed, it didn’t particularly feel groundbreaking to those of us who’ve been in progressive theological circles for so long now. I’m not sure the questions he is asking are the most critical ones, and the way in which the whole conversation is framed seems lacking. But as a pastor who grew up in evangelicalopolis, I recognize the value of his book for evangelicals trying to make more sense of things. I actually found Sharon Baker’s Razing Hell a bit more interesting, hence its inclusion. And I should note that yet another year has gone by without me reading Gilead, which virtually everyone tells me is a must read. Maybe next year.

8. Razing Hell by Sharon Baker
7. Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love by Andrew Shaffer
6. Awkwardness by Adam Kotsko
5. The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, & Pee by Sarah Silverman
4. Preaching from Memory to Hope by Thomas Long
3. The Return of Anti-Religion: From Radical Atheism to Radical Theology by John Caputo (Technically this is a journal article, but it’s a gem. Plus, how could I put together a list of top books without a piece by JC? Here Caputo clarifies several key points regarding criticisms of his readings of Derrida that geeks like me interested in appropriating Derrida’s work within the context of the church would do well to heed.)
2. Plato or Paul?: The Origins of Western Homophobia by Ted Jennings
1. Insurrection by Peter Rollins

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