We pride ourselves of being one of the most thorough and academic trends and innovation agencies in the world. Our Summer Reads 2013 Top was dominated by literature about the Cloud, Big Data and the Ubiquitous Blur between Online and Offline.
The best seller lists on iTunes and Amazon can provide great research as you’re brainstorming cover art, titles and blurbs. Selecting any of these categories will now take you to the Top 200 books in that subcategory.
You will see we are back to that same view that has the category listed (purple), the ranking in that category (red) and the ability to arrange by Bestsellers, Name or Release date (Blue). If the Winter is making you wistful, why not channel that nostalgia into your seasonal reading list with a few YA books?
Beyond the helpful insider’s glance from the autistic point-of-view, there’s a larger vision here.
This book is the perfect antidote to the prosperity gospel, both the gauche ones we see on TV and the subtler shades of Baalism we find in our own hearts. Of most interest to me was Haggard’s reflection, showing up so often in his songs, on the life of his father. The book didn’t prompt me to think, “Take that, you false teachers!” It prompted me to think, again and again, “Thank you Lord for your mercy to this sinner.” That’s always worth the price of a book. This book is the testimony of one who traveled from socialism to so-called “neo-conservatism,” through a life working with figures from Sargent Shriver to Ronald Reagan. When I was a youth minister back in the 1990s, I would start every Bible Study time or student activity with a quote from Handey’s Saturday Night Live-era Deep Thoughts.
As one deeply influenced by the Kuyperian tradition, I was waiting a long time for this intellectual history of the great Dutch theologian and politician’s life to come to my door.
At the same time, the book points out the personal side of this great man, with both heroism and flaws. I like the book because I like Calvin and Hobbes, but I liked it also because it highlights some important lessons for all of us. I put this book down several times to find myself in the strips in one of Watterson’s collections.
I don’t remember ever hearing the Battle Hymn of the Republic sung in the patriotic services at my church growing up. Contemporary progressives don’t tend to like hymns with militant imagery (see the controversies over “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “In Christ Alone”), and it’s hard to get more militant than “stomping out the vineyard where the grapes of wrath are stored.” But this book shows that the song was controversial with conservatives, such as J. The first time I ever read Rod Dreher, I think in the pages of National Review, I found a kindred spirit. Wherever you’re from, whether you’re right next door to “Mama and them” or connected only by Skype and memories to your roots, this book will give you much to think about. The book is about how all of us exercise power—regardless of whether we are an unemployed janitor or President of the United States—and how this power will be directed either for or against human flourishing. About Russell MooreRussell Moore is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the moral and public policy agency of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.


Studying the Best Reads is part of our routine and twice a year we like to share our thoughts with you. Twice a year wee start to count down the Best Books. You can also find valuable information here about what works and doesn’t work in any given genre.
They are not all 2013 books (though most of them are), but they’re all books I found especially meaningful this year.
The subject is a man I came to know in his elderly years, and whose theology, especially in his tract The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism changed my whole life. The book closes with Haggard, late in life, playing “Okie from Muskogee” at a concert, introducing it this way. The book highlights the brilliance and prophetic insight of Kuyper as a thinker and activist.
This book pictures the author of the strip Calvin and Hobbes as something of a loner, who grated at the publicity his work brought, sometimes to the irritation of his fans and colleagues. Watterson alienated many around him because he refused to turn his strip over to sellable cliches, and to cash in the strip for the plush toy and animated movie market.
The author suggests that the little boy and his tiger in the strip my have been named based on Horace White’s observation that the United States “is based upon the philosophy of Hobbes and the religion of Calvin.
They’re often boring because they’re abstract, disconnected from the lived-out questions of most people. Maybe that’s because it was seen as a “Yankee song,” and the 1980s were too close for south Mississippi to the close of the Civil War. Gresham Machen who found it to be a Christless, gospel-free anthem of crusading progressivism. But this book traced a fascinating series of cultural divides in America, and reminded me how what we sing embeds itself in our hearts, sometimes driving us apart and sometimes bringing us together—and sometimes both in different ages.
In the years since then, we’ve been in touch often through technology and though we’ve yet to meet in person, I think of him as a friend. I planned to read a little at the time, expecting to like it because I’ve loved Andy Crouch’s previous work Culture Making. You will wince at some points as you see how your use of power is more Pharaoh-like than Christlike, or at least I did. With a mix of timeless coming-of-age novels, must-read sci-fi books, and contemporary classics, here is a range of sweet, funny, and inspiring reads you can bring to the beach and beyond.
The author contends that we have a hard time with disability because we have a hard time with limitation, especially in an American Dream culture that says our possibilities are endless.
The author is my friend since the days we were neighbors in Southern Seminary housing and fellow research assistants in the basement of the President’s home. The book is a sophisticated cultural history, tracing Haggard’s experience as the son of “Okie” migrants to California, as despised and stereotyped as other immigrants were in other times and places. Westerholm doesn’t write like a partisan, defending his tribe, but as a faithful witness seeking to find where his interlocutors are right and wrong. Woven through a fascinating personal history is a series of brilliant insights on everything from why socialists could never be persuaded that socialism was wrong to why conservatives shouldn’t be so quick to bash popular culture.


It also shows some flashes of a path forward for Christians in a rapidly pluralizing American society. The book reminded me to show some mercy to the grumpier among us, and to resolve to try not to be that way myself. Whether you think Watterson was right or wrong, he stood with his artistic convictions, and that’s one reason why so many of us love his work.
They’re often dated because they can’t keep up with the whirring nature of technology and culture. I don’t know, but I remember hearing it first as a child in Elvis Presley’s “American Trilogy,” in which he fused it with “Dixie” and a Bahamian lullaby, seeking to transcend lyrically the Mason-Dixon line. Of course, the Battle Hymn returned during the civil rights era, linking the just cause of the Freedom Marchers and others with the earlier abolitionists.
Rod sent me this book when it was in early manuscript form, and I was drawn in from start to finish. I read through the whole thing almost in one sitting and found it plowing through my heart, leaving idol shards everywhere. He argues that O’Connor’s limitations, lupus and the resulting need to stay at home in Georgia, made her who she was.
It also traces his Forrest Gump-like life of cameo appearances in almost every important historical trend of the last forty years.
In the end he shows persuasively from the Scriptures how Augustine didn’t invent the concept of an “introspective conscience,” later picked up by Martin Luther and superimposed on Paul. This book seems to be a collection of “Deep Thoughts,” with a narrative strung between them, maybe even done on a bet. Thornbury shows that Henry’s biblical orthodoxy matched with philosophical savvy and cultural mission wasn’t a fluke of the last century, but is needed more than ever. He was imprisoned at an early age, though not quite doing “life without parole.” He was pardoned by Gov. Mitchell traces why moral philosophy isn’t just for specialists but for the whole Body of Christ.
He explains with clarity the various ways of approaching these questions, and offers ethical reflection that isn’t ashamed of the gospel or embarrassed to claim, “The Bible says.” I plan to give this to lots of budding young ethicists, preachers and leaders. And part of it is that we come from roughly the same part of the world, and I feel every day of sense of loss that I’m not at home in Biloxi.
His “Okie from Muskogee” and “Fighting Side of Me” became anthems of the Nixonian “Silent Majority” in the culture wars, though Haggard himself was never much of a culture warrior. Once you are looking at the full Top 200 Best Seller list, you can find lots of great information. In blue, I have pointed out a drop-down menu where iTunes lets you look at this list in 3 views.



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