THE Best Books of 2011 – by Bill Dahl

From where Reggie and I sit, here’s our annual ranking of The BEST BOOKS of 2011. (photography by Bill Dahl 2011).

As I have said before, I read approximately 100 books a year. 2011 was an exception for several reasons:

  1. I read some MONSTER volumes re: U.S. history – inhabited with microscopic print. Digesting these behemoths takes time.
  2. I have experienced an unanticipated, disruptive, enduring health issue.

(In any event..I read dozens and dozens of books in 2011 – I follow a very strict discipline NOT to review books I don’t care for) The result of this annual process was the following ranking (1= BEST)  by Category:

 

I.                  Faith & Culture Category – Non Fiction

 

    1. Naked Spirituality – A Life With God in 12 Simple Words by Brian McLaren – HarperOne  New York, NY

 

 

2. You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church and Rethinking Faith: – by David Kinnaman – BakerBooks Grand Rapids, MI

 

 

3. Practice Resurrection – a conversation on growing up in Christ - by Eugene Peterson (a 2010 publication I didn’t get to until 2011) – Eerdmans Publishing Grand Rapids, Cambridge, U.K.

 

 

4. God Without Religion – by Andrew Farley – BakerBooks Grand Rapids, MI

 

 

5. Love Wins – by Rob Bell – HarperOne

 

 

6. The Sword of the Lord – The Roots of Fundamentalism in an American Family by Andrew Himes – CreateSpace

 

 

7. Healing The Heart of Democracy by Parker J. Palmer – Jossey-Bass

 

 

8. The Cause Within You – by Matthew Barnett and George Barna – Tyndale/Barna

 

9.  Stumbling Toward Heaven – On Cancer, Crashes and Questions by Mike Hamel – CreateSpace

 

 

10. The New Evangelicals – by Marcia Pally – Eerdmans Publishing

 

 

 

 

        II.                   Fiction

 

  1. Matterhorn – by Karl Marlantes – Grove Press New York, NY

 

2. The Ambition – by Lee Strobel – Zondervan

 

 

III.    Public Policy/Socio-Cultural Commentary/Investigative Reporting

  1. Reckless Endangerment – How Outsized Ambition, Greed, And Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon by Gretchen Morgenson & Joshua Rosner – Times Books

 

2. The Evolving Self – A Psychology for the Third Millenium by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi – Harper Perrenial

 

3. Boomerang – Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis – W.W. Norton & Company

 

4. That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back by Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum – Farrar, Straus and Giroux

 

 

5. The Social Animal by David Brooks – Random House

 

 

Bill Dahl’s – THE Best Books of 2011

  1. Naked Spirituality – A Life With God in 12 Simple Words by Brian McLaren…simply THE BEST BOOK of 2011. A treasure.

 

2. The Evolving Self – A Psychology for the Third Millenium by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi – I have a personal discipline – For every 5 books I read, one of those books MUST be at least five years old. This one was published in 1993. READ IT TODAY.

 

 

  1. You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church and Rethinking Faith: – by David Kinnaman

 

4. Reckless Endangerment – How Outsized Ambition, Greed, And Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon by Gretchen Morgenson & Joshua Rosner

 

 

5. Practice Resurrection – a conversation on growing up in Christ - by Eugene Peterson (a 2010 publication I didn’t get to until 2011)

 

 

6. God Without Religion – by Andrew Farley

 

 

7. Love Wins – by Rob Bell

 

 

8. That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back by Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum.

 

 

9. The Social Animal by David Brooks

 

 

10. Matterhorn – by Karl Marlantes

 

 Honorable Mention in my Top 10 for 2011 — just because it’s so darn good….

 

CLASSICS – Enduring Contributions to American LiteratureRead in 2011. Please consider at least one of the following for your reading in 2012:

In 2012, I hope you will make an intentional choice to read some of the titles I have identified in my Best of 2011 and a “classic” – as identified above.  Please keep me posted on what your insights and recommendations.

 Blessings to you and yours in 2012.

 

 

 

 

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One thought on “THE Best Books of 2011 – by Bill Dahl”

  1. Based on your recommendation, I’ve added “Bearing the Cross” to my “to read” list. Easily one of the most important books I was assigned in seminary was “A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.” (http://amzn.to/sRx9jD). Your recommendation looks like an important supplement.

    If you are interested, here’s my list of the top ten book I read in 2011: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/carlgregg/2011/12/top-10-best-books-read-in-2011/.

    May the Joy of Advent be yours this day,

    Carl

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