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2018

I read more than I ever have this year. Here’s the list:

1. A River In Darkness
2. The American Spirit
3. The Lost Kingdom of the Monkey God
4. The Innovators
5. Even If You Don’t: A Love Story
6. The Martian
7. Yes, Chef
8. Gosnell: The Untold Story
9. The Way of Kings
10. All American Murder
11. The New Jim Crow
12. Remains of the Day
13. Words of Radiance
14. Oathbringer
15. Endure
16. Educated
17. Cork Dorks
18. What the Dog Saw: and Other Adventures
19. After the Prophet
20. I Contain Multitudes
21. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
22. For We Are Many
23. A History of the World in Six Glasses
24. Jurassic Park
25. The Vanished Smile
26. North
27. Preaching That Changes Lives
28. The Feud that Sparked the Renaissance
29. The Cuban Affair
30. The Rooster
31. Star Wars: Top Shot
32. When Breath Becomes Air
33. Only Human
34. Airframe
35. Mistborn: The Final Empire
36. Hell Divers
37. God Save Texas
38. Thrawn
39. Ghost in the Wires
40. PROOF
41. Gut
42. The Girl Who Smiled Beads
43. Redshirts
44. Springfield Confidential
45. Christianity Considered
46. Insurgence
47. Jurassic Park: The Lost World
48. The History of Jazz
49. How to Lose a Marathon
50. Moonwalking with Einstein
51. Survival Guide for the Soul
52. Brief Insights into Bible Study
53. Thrawn 2
54. The Bible Unfiltered
55. A Mouse Divided
56. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
57. Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America
58. Captain to Captain: Star Trek Legacies
59. The Darkness and the Glory
60. Mistborn: The Well of Ascension
61. Mistborn: The Hero of Ages
62. English History Made Brief, Irreverent, and Pleasurable
63. Michelangelo: His Epic Life
64. Scientism and Secularism
65. Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling
66. Dopesick
67. Grit
68. What is the Gospel?
69. The Collapsing Empire: the Interdependency Book 1
70. Love God with All Your Mind
71. The Consequences of Ideas
72. On Desperate Grounds
73. Consuming Fire: the Interdependency Book 2
74. Steelheart: the Reckoners book 1
75. Tactics
76. Firefight: the Reckoners book 2
77. Ethics and Moral Reasoning: a Student’s guide
78. Calamity: the Reckoners book 3
79. Skyward
80. Prey
81. The Lost World of Genesis 1
82. Legion: the Many Lives of Stephen Leeds
83. Mitosis: a Reckoner’s Story
84. Tell the Truth
85. Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God
86. The Great Evangelical Recession
87. Armada
88. Knowledge of the Holy
89. Elantris
90. Bad Blood
91. Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone
92. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
93. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

As I have done in the past, here are some best/worst of 2018:

Best Non-Fiction book: This was so difficult for me this year because I read a diverse amount of very compelling books. But I think if I had to pick just one, it would be “Even If You Don’t: A Love Story.” Brian Taylor writes with a style that is engaging and thrilling. The story is both gripping and poignant. I couldn’t put this book down and shed a tear or two at the end.

Runner Ups: Bad Blood; Educated; When Breath Becomes Air

Best Fiction Book: I think this one is a much more discernible choice. I was introduced to Brandon Sanderson this year and fell in love with his imagination and story telling. So this year I read all three of his “Stormlight Archives” books. And hands down the best fantasy novel I think I’ve ever read, and coincidentally the best of the year, was “Words of Radiance.” I read a large section of fantasy, science-fiction, and fiction in general this year, but I love Brandon and I loved reading his works.

Runner Ups: Mistborn; Elantris; Jurassic Park

Best History Book: Following my love of history, no reading would be complete without some kind of history. This area was surprisingly thin this year, but I did read a few that stood out. Overall, the best has to be the History of Jazz. Being a lover of Jazz music helped, but it was also well-written and told the stories of countless performers and their legacy in the idiom of music.

Runner Ups: Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America; Michelangelo: His Epic Life; the Innovators

Best Theological Book: Starting Seminary has given me many opportunities to read new books of various different genres. The best theological book I read this year, however, comes from before that time. It would have to be “Insurgence: Reclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom.” I need to read it again for clarity, but I think there is something so profound in this book and I think it’s brilliant.

Runner Ups: Scientism and Secularism; the Great Evangelical Recession; Knowledge of the Holy

Worst Book: There’s always one book that I regret reading by the end. This year, it would have to be the Feud that Sparked the Renaissance. Usually this is a book I’d be all about. Unfortunately, it did not deliver!

Runner Ups: A Mouse Divided; How to Lose a Marathon; Hell Divers (Book 1)

Thanks for reading!

I didn’t truly understand the idea of grace until I read this book. Throughout my childhood and even into my college years, I espoused the doctrine of “Calvinism” to my friends and family. Little did I know that this word that was so divisive to my friends would be renamed in my later years to the “doctrine of grace”; an idea that was beyond words describing everything that was and is beautiful

“PROOF” is a book that doesn’t meet the controversy, but rather provides better arguments for the doctrines of grace. In fact, PROOF seeks to dispel the mythology and reinvent the idea of Calvinism. Calvinism is typically associated with the doctrine of “Presdestination,” which the book supports. However, it is not the focal point, as are so many books on this subject. Rather, PROOF is about the doctrine of grace: what is grace and how is it’s power made manifest in the Gospel?

This is accomplished by the acronym that isn’t just the name of the book, but attempts to reinvent the five points of Calvinism called “TULIP”: Planned Grace, Resurrecting Grace, Outrageous Grace, Overcoming Grace, and Forever Grace.

There are many parallels with TULIP, but this book does so much more than the followers of Calvin sought to do. Instead of making the issue divisive and confusing, more about drawn lines than biblical doctrine, PROOF actually clarifies the idea of grace. In fact, my own perception of grace has been irrevocably matured and strengthened because of this book.

To understand the nuance of the argument, I highly recommend you pick up this book yourself. But if you, like me, think you know what grace is because you heard it in church, I would challenge you to pick this volume up to truly understand the beauty of grace.

Hacking is a profession that is becoming more and more important in the modern era. No longer is it unacceptable to be called a “hacker,” because, as we know now, there are good and bad hackers. Kevin Mitnick was probably one of the first, if not the first, hacker in the modern sense. Growing up during the technological revolution, Kevin cut his teeth on “phone phreaking,” where the caller would jump around the system to make phone calls free of charge to whomever he or she wanted. Mitnick discovered that he could make people do what he wanted by what he called “social engineering.” For example, he could get a piece of information and call a phone company, sound like he knew what he was talking about and get whatever he wanted out of them. This is a topic that Mitnick frequently references; master this and it doesn’t matter how technologically savvy you are.

This book is a repeat from last year (you can read my review here). The reason behind my re-reading of it is because this year, Zahn released a brand new book in the same series called “Alliances” which follows the relationship of Darth Vader and Grand Admiral Thrawn as they quell the rebels and bring peace to the Galaxy run by the fearsome Empire.

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