Books Vanity

Every Book I Read in 2021

This is the fifth New Years row I have listed the books I read in the previous year. It is a useful way to organize my thoughts and then to look back on longer patterns and connections. Briefly, the years I have previously written this, along with the “Best” and “Runner-up” books from each year, are

The best book I read this year was Joseph Ratzinger’s Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life. Ratzinger explores classic Catholic conceptions of life and the afterlife (the basis for the imagery in Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain), and does so in a way that surveys modern theology, the Bible, the Church Fathers, and the beliefs of Second Temple Judaism and even the Eastern Orthodox. Ratzinger describes Purgatory as both “Hades” and “Paradise” in the Bible, as the expected destination for nearly all, and possibly endless but not eternal. It is an amazing book.

Unfortunately, my reading of the Qur’an slowed way down this year. The utter mystery and confusion I remember feeling in early chapters is gone. The Qur’anic author seems to be writing homilies for an Arian Catholic audience, living after the last Arian bishops, teaching the progressive revelation of Sacraments, and referencing readings from an extended canon with particular attention to Syrian writings. My existing style of close reading feels like tedious overkill given this, and I may need to reconsider how I take notes on the Qur’an going forward.

The Holy Bible

The Holy Gospel According to Luke
The Holy Gospel According to John

The Qur’an

32. The Prostration
33. The Confederates
34. Sheba
35.The Originator
36. Ya Sin
37. The Ranged Ones

Christian Writings

Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life, by Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
Faith Alone: The Heart of Everything, by Bo Giertz
Jesus of Nazareth From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration, by Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
The Lost World of the Flood: Mythology, Theology, and the Deluge Debate, by Trempor Longman III and John H. Walton
Testing the Boundaries: Windows to Lutheran Identity, by Charles P. Arand

Comparative Religion

A Rabbi Talks with Jesus, by Jacob Neusner
The Ras Sharma Discoveries and the Old Testament, by Arvid S. Kapelrud

Business Strategy

The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of Movies, by Ben Fritz
The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, by Robert Iger with Joel Lovell
Slugfest: Inside the Epic, 50-year Battle Between Marvel and DC, by Reed Tucker

Speculative and Science Fiction

The Martian, by Andy Weir
Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir


The Godfather, by Mario Puzo
The Testament of Solomon

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