An Experiment in Book Reviewing

For various reasons, this blog has been rather quiet for the last couple of months. Currently lacking the inclination to return to my ordinary mode of blogging – interminably long posts, with a propensity to balloon into unwieldy series that I never find the time or will to conclude – I thought that I would experiment with something completely different. As I want to devote a greater proportion of my free time to reading over the coming months, I thought that I would try to get my blog to serve me in this regard. Until Christmas at least, I will concentrate primarily on engaging with books that I have been reading. This engagement may take the form of a full length book review, a discussion of thoughts and issues arising out of a particular book or set of books, a podcast, a conversation with another reader of the book, or something else entirely. However, it is most likely that my primary form of engagement will be by podcast.

The books that will be reviewed will range over a number of genres, fields, and levels of audience. Some will be Christian books, others will not be. I am even tempted to throw in a few children’s books (for instance, over the last week or so I have been rereading The Wind in the Willows) and a few real stinkers (among others that might fit in this category, I have recently been reading Catherine Hakim’s Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital). Other books that I have read recently, or am currently reading that may be reviewed include, among several others, the following:

Between Beast and Babel: America and Empires in Biblical Perspective, Peter Leithart
Remember the Poor: Paul, Poverty, and the Greco-Roman World, Bruce Longenecker
The Historical Jesus of the Gospels, Craig S. Keener
A New Testament Biblical Theology, G.K. Beale
Word Without End: The Old Testament as Abiding Theological Witness, Christopher R. Seitz
The Epistles of John Through New Eyes: From Behind the Veil, Peter Leithart
Job Through New Eyes: A Son for Glory, Toby Sumpter

Here’s where you come in. I would appreciate recommendations for books to review. I have started up an initial Amazon wishlist, with a collection of books that I would be interested in reading and engaging with in some manner or other. Other recommendations, especially those in which several people are interested, can be added to the list. The greater the interest, the higher that the book will be prioritized in my schedule.

Books can also be rather expensive – especially recently published ones – and as a student I am not generally flush with money. If you would especially like me to review a particular title, or just want to prevent me from reading myself out of house and home, you could purchase a book of your choice from the reviewing wishlist (if you can locate the book cheaper elsewhere, you can register the fact that you have purchased it elsewhere on the wishlist) or, alternatively, securely donate some money to the cause using the shiny new ‘donate’ button at the bottom of the sidebar on the right or at the end of this post.

Thank you!

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Public Service Announcement, What I'm Reading. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to An Experiment in Book Reviewing

  1. Just Askin' says:

    Have you tried shorter posts that don’t take so much time to write (or read)?

  2. No way! Here I’ve been waiting for the next post in the series begun by the Jared Wilson post, and you tell me it’s over. Sad days for me.

    • I thought everyone had moved on and that I had missed the window of relevance for posting due to my time away in the US. If there is genuinely still interest, I would be prepared to finish the series off.

      • Sure, everyone’s moved on, but I thought the idea was to explore interactions between old/new, male/female, using the dust-up as a foil. Hence, it’ll be applicable regardless. But perhaps I’m the only one who thinks so.

  3. Sally says:

    I’d recommend ‘Rainbows in my eyes’ by J.K.Rowbory for you to review. I’ve just finished reading it and have been blown away. It’s a book of poems and I’d love to have someone else to talk about the poems with as they’ve had such a huge impact on me. I don’t know if you’re interested in poetry usually but if you ever were to get into poetry, this book is a great way to start. It’s on Amazon.

  4. joelmartin says:

    I recommend “The Qur’an in its Historical Context” edited by Gabriel Said Reynolds.

  5. Paul D Baxter says:

    How wide of an interest area do you want to make this? I always have a lot of books to recommend, but I’m not sure how far to push you🙂

    • I like to read very widely, so go ahead!🙂

      • Paul D Baxter says:

        OK, well don’t say I didn’t warn you. This is a long list. I’d be surprised if you hadn’t already read one or two things on it already. In any event, feel free to pick and choose based on interest, price, funding, etc. I have several recommendations each from fiction and non-fiction. I’ve stayed away from theology entirely.
        Fiction:
        Patrick O’Brian: The Aubrey Maturin series (This should just be required reading for any intelligent young man or anyone with even the vaguest interest in history)
        Mark Helprin: Winter’s Tale, Soldier of the Great War (if you only read one novel again ever, this would be a good one), Memoir From Antproof Case, Freddy and Fredericka
        James Blaylock: All the Bells on Earth
        Fernanda Eberstadt: Isaac and His Devils
        Herman Hesse: Magister Ludi (aka The Glass Bead Game)
        Theodore Sturgeon: More Than Human
        Iris Murdoch: The Book and the Brotherhood
        David James Duncan: The Brothers K (contender for my favorite all time novel)
        Jack Vance: The Lyonesse Trilogy
        Donna Tartt: The Secret History
        Gene Wolfe: The Wizard Knight (two volumes)
        Philip K Dick: The Transmigration of Timothy Archer
        Jonathan Lethem: Amnesia Moon
        It should probably go without saying that you should never be too far from something by John Mortimer or P G Wodehouse

        Non-fiction
        two travel writers to start
        Paul Theroux–everything I’ve read by him has been uniformly interesting, so just start with whatever strikes your fancy
        Dervla Murphy: I’ve read two of hers–In Ethiopia With a Mule and Cameroon with Egbert– and I am fairly certain that you can’t go wrong by reading any of her works
        Peter Hopkirk is a historian of Central Asia, and his quartet of books on that region are all fascinating. The Great Game is the first chronologically, but they could all be read independently
        Khassan Baiev: The Oath
        Simon Schama: The Embarrassment of Riches
        Theodore Dalrymple: Life at the Bottom
        Philip Zimbardo: The Lucifer Effect
        Richard Rhodes: Why They Kill: The Discoveries of a Maverick Criminologist
        Elyn Saks: The Center Cannot Hold

      • Wow! Thanks for all of the recommendations! I have added a few of them to my reviewing wishlist (I can add more at a later point).

  6. Paul D Baxter says:

    A few more I meant to include (all non-fiction):
    The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, by David Halberstam (this should immediately be followed by …
    The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History, by Don Oberdorfer (one of the best written country studies I’ve come across)
    Indonesian Destinies, by Theodore Friend (the other best written country study)
    Being America: Liberty Commerce and Violence in an American World, by Jedediah Purdy (you’ll like Purdy)

  7. Pingback: ‘Year of Biblical Womanhood’ Review – Part 1 | Alastair's Adversaria

  8. Michael Snow says:

    If you would be interested in reviewing a book about the Christmas truce of 1914, [96 pp. illust.] I would be glad to send the pdf. immediately and would also be glad to mail a copy.
    http://tinyurl.com/bw5seh2

    Another review here: http://emergingjournal.blogspot.com/2011/11/book-review-oh-holy-night-peace-of-1914.html

  9. Pingback: Book Review: ‘Oh Holy Night: The Peace of 1914′ | Alastair's Adversaria

  10. Alex says:

    Love this. Just discovered your blog, and I’m a big fan. Here are books I’d love to hear from you on.
    -Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming by Naomi Oreskes
    -A Drop of the Hard Stuff by Lawrence Block (related to AA and addictions)
    -Ecclesiastes by Peter Enns

  11. Pingback: A Look Back at 2012 on Alastair’s Adversaria | Alastair's Adversaria

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