As I go though the books I read this year, I should clarify right away that very few if any of them were published this year. This isn't like my movies list; it's just everything I read.
I don't typically read a lot of non-fiction, but I'm trying to get better at that. With limited reading time, I've traditionally focused on made-up stories. Sometimes though, you wanna know what other people think about stuff without having to dig through symbolism and characters to get at it. Here's what I was interested in last year.
Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask by Anton Treuer
I've been interested in American Indian people and culture since I was a kid. As a fan of Westerns, it always bugged me that Indians were assumed to be villains and I always perked up when a movie or show offered a different perspective.
As an adult, I haven't been as involved in Indian issues as I would like to be, but I want to change that. Minnesota has a large Indian population and there's an American Indian school in my neighborhood that we sent David to for Middle School. That was a great experience for him and through the school we started getting a glimpse of the issues that are important to the local Indian community.
In an effort to learn more, I picked up Anton Treuer's book. He writes that American Indian culture is something that is imagined by outsiders, rather than understood. That's been true of me, but Treuer's book has helped. It's a collection of questions and answers, divided into categories, that can either be read cover to cover or just referred to by whatever topic the reader is interested in. I read it cover to cover and am eager to continue learning.
God Has a Name by John Mark Comer
I heard about this on Phil Vischer's Holy Post podcast where Comer was a guest. It got me interested in hearing more of what he had to say. I don't talk much about religion here, but it's a deep interest of mine and I was attracted to Comer's vision of God as a being with a specific personality, as opposed to a construct or model based on what worshipers want him to be. Comer digs into a passage in Exodus where Yahweh reveals his nature to Moses. I don't agree with every assertion Comer makes, but his understanding of God's nature is thoughtful and lovely.
God According to God: A Physicist Proves We've Been Wrong About God All Along by Gerald Schroeder
This is older than Comer's book, but it's been sitting on my shelf for a while and it was Comer's book that made me pull it off and read it. I don't remember why I originally purchased it, but it was probably the same impulse that made me interested in Comer. Using scientific observations of nature, Schroeder asserts that God has a personality and that he wants to partner with humanity rather than control us.
Coming at it through the lens of science is interesting, but I found Schroeder's voice rather dry and other authors cover the same ideas in more compelling ways. Comer is more persuasive about the personality aspect in God Has a Name and professor John Walton covers the partnership aspect especially well in his Lost World of Adam and Eve. To anyone interested in this kind of theology, I recommend those books instead.