Steven’s Reading List from 2017

Finally released from my doctoral studies, and the required reading, this year allowed me the opportunity to read more freely and broadly, and I’m appreciative of that. I’ve been pleased with much of what has come my way this year, and want to share some of the texts that have played their part in my intellectual life over the past year. I don’t think this is quite a complete list, but it’s close to the sorts of things that caught my attention over the past year.


Counting Descent by Clint Smith

Application for Release from the Dream: Poems by Tony Hoagland

The Works of George Herbert

I really enjoy reading poetry, when I can get my mind in the right frame for reading it. Tony Hoagland has been a favorite for a few years, and this little time didn’t disappoint, though its a shade darker than his earlier work. The poems by Clint Smith are often fantastic, and I look forward to seeing what comes from him later. Herbert’s verses take a little more work for me, but I was daily struck by the way he used poetry as a pastoral tool. In 2018, I’m starting off with some work by Mary Oliver, but hope to greatly increase my intake of good poetry this year. Suggestions are solicited!

Biblical Studies and Theology

Psalms Old and New: Exegesis, Intertextuality, and Hermeneutics by Ben Witherington III

Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus by Ched Myers

Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places by Eugene Peterson

Desiring the Kingdom by James K.A. Smith

Faithful Presence: Seven Disciplines that Shape the Church for Mission by David Fitch

Reaching Out by Henri Nouwen

Among these, the book by Nouwen was a reread—it’s a top 3 book for me, ever, and I could read it annually. The books by Peterson, Fitch, and Smith are each striking and useful, and I think many people would benefit from hearing each author. The Peterson book is a particular masterpiece, and I hope will someday be seen as a true classic.


Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

H3 Leadership by Brad Lomenick

Mastering Leadership: An Integrated Framework for Breakthrough Performance and Extraordinary Business Results by Robert Anderson and William Adams

Peak Erik Anders and Robert Pool

Good to Great by Jim Collins

The Ideal Team Player: How to recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues by Patrick Lencioni

Start with Why Simon Sinek

Drive by Daniel Pink

The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner

A stack of leadership books was in the cards for this year, too. Of those, the Sinek book and Mastering Leadership were probably the most useful. However, Just Mercy might have been the best book I read in 2017, period. It’s just an amazing piece, full of story and meaning and mission. Can’t recommend it highly enough. I also found the Kinnamen book eye-opening, as a reflection of the way we humans think and the kinds of biases we are prone to in our decision-making.


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

I need to read more fiction, too. Here I come, 2018!