The spirit of our times can appear
to be one of joyless urgency.
– Marilynne Robinson, The Givenness of Things
Lots of “Best Of” lists are dropping this time of year, and the editors here at the Fidelity HQ typically resist this cliché trend of surfacey, consumer-driven nonsense. What’s next, stock images?
But I also have a bit of a rule: If you’re going to join them, beat them. And do it quickly, and in under 600 words.
So, here is a far more important, insightful, and definitive Best of 2015. As always, Amazon links are provided for further research, but you’ll want to get on down to your local bookseller to purchase these all. (Yes, I recognize the hubris here in calling it the ‘Best’ and not ‘My Favorite,’ but, once again, this site isn’t called The Humility Essays.)
Let’s get to it, readers and hearers!
Ten Best Nonfiction Books of 2015
Things take the time they take. Don’t
How many roads did St. Augustine take
before he became St. Augustine?
– Mary Oliver, “Don’t Worry”
[Side Note #1: I hate having to say this, but I also hate getting concerned emails and comments—I don’t fully endorse everything in every one of these books. There you go, haters.]
Wendell Berry’s Our Only World: Ten Essays
Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me
David Brooks’ The Road to Character
Mary Oliver’s Felicity: Poems
Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance
Sherry Turkle’s Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age
Brene Brown’s Rising Strong
Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Daniel Siegel and Tina P Bryson’s No-Drama Discipline: The Whole Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind
Some of the great books of 2014, in case you missed them: Daniel Levitin’s The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in an Age of Information Overload; Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up; Matthew Lieberman’s Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect; Daniel James Brown’s The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold in 1936 Berlin Olympics; Greg McKeown’s Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less; and Amy Poehler’s Yes Please.
Ten Best Christian Books of 2015
Desire burns within you. You’ve trained and dreamt of doing large things in famous ways as fast as you can for God’s glory. But pastoral work keeps requiring your surrender to small, mostly overlooked things over long periods of time.
You stand at a crossroads. Jesus stands with you. You were never meant to know everything, fix everything, and be everywhere at once. That’s his job, not yours.
So what now?
– Zack Eswine, The Imperfect Pastor
[Side Note #2: See Side Note #1.]
Todd Billings’s Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer and Life in Christ
Bible & Theology
Joe Rigney’s The Things of Earth: Treasuring God by Enjoying His Gifts
Krish Kandiah’s Paradoxology: Why Christianity Was Never Meant to Be Simple
Discipleship & Community
Jeff Vanderstelt’s Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life
Bill Donahue’s The Irresistible Community: An Invitation to Life Together
Collin Hansen’s Blind Spots: Becoming a Courageous, Compassionate, and Commissioned Church
Marilynne Robinson’s The Givenness of Things: Essays
Zach Eswine’s The Imperfect Pastor: Discovering Joy in Our Limitations through a Daily Apprenticeship with Jesus
Tim & Kathy Keller’s The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotionals in the Psalms
Ten Best Albums of 2015
I’m out of time and had thought about doing a ‘best albums of 2015,’ even though I don’t know anything about music. Well, let’s just make it quick, cause in the words of Kanye West, who gon stop me now?
[Side Note #3: The following albums are not listed: Coldplay’s A Head Full of Stars (because the greatest band in the world sadly gave up making original and creative music in about 2002), Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly (I’m sorry, I’m still just not feeling it), and Kanye West’s Swish (because it STILL hasn’t dropped yet; come on, Ye!).]
Sandra McCracken – Psalms
Dr. Dre – Compton: A Soundtrack
Adale – 25
Lupe Fiasco – Tetsuo & Youth
Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free
Rick Ross – Black Market
Whitney Bozarth – Anchor for My Soul
Wilco – Star Wars
Taylor Swift – 1989 World Tour Live (probably)
That’s all folks.