I sort of read for a living (sort of; I don’t actually get paid for it), so I happily have the ability to create a top books list for 2010. I can’t say I remember every book I read, but at least that means you know these ones were real standouts. List includes books read both in class and out – I don’t buy the “classroom life” vs. “real life” dichotomy.
Insight (chapters 11-20) by Bernard Lonergan. Thomism! We read the second half of Insight during the spring semester for the second half of the full-year course on the book with Professor Byrne. This is possibly the most influential of the books on this list. Possibly.
Experience and the Absolute by Jean-Yves Lacoste. An existential analytic of living “liturgically.” Might not sound interesting to you, but fascinating to me. Great as a means of complementarily filling out the space left by Heidegger.
Deus caritas est by Benedict XVI. I and a few of my close senior friends read this for Fr. McNellis’ Capstone course last spring. This was a re-read, and a very welcome one at that after barely understanding the work the first time I read it sophomore year (which resulted in a still-funny-to-remember Sons presentation on the letter). For that reason this year’s read of the encyclical was as deep and enriching, probably moreso, than the first time. If you want to learn about love, read this text. (While you’re at it, give the Bible a try.)
The Moviegoer by Walker Percy. This novel was a summertime read, in fact the first read of summer 2010. What a perfect read for the beginning of post-grad life. Here here to alienation! Thanks, Eric, for this (seriously, thanks). This is surely the first of many Walker Percy reads in my lifetime (in addition to a few essays of his that I have read, again thanks to Mr. Hinz.)
King Lear by Shakespeare. Can it get more tragic than this? I re-read King Lear this past summer for at least the third time – that’s how good it is. One can really feel the horrible side of the depths of human existence while reading this play. A must-read for all people, period.
The Priest Is Not His Own by Fulton Sheen. An excellent book – the man knows how to write. A striking catechesis about the much-danced-around heart of the priesthood: victimhood, sacrifice for a greater good. Hard for people to understand, but nonetheless true.
A Testimonial to Grace and Reflections on a Theological Journey by Avery Dulles. Read during my trip to Notre Dame/Chicago. I can vividly remember curling up on the extremely hot and sweaty South Shore line en route to Domerville with this guy. A great short reflection by one of the great American theological minds of the 20th century.
These are only a few of the books I read during the past year, and they are certainly not the only worthy ones – just the ones worthy of mention at this time, without taking up too much space on the blog. Having taken courses on the Republic, on Augustine, Latin Patrology, and having had plenty of time to read for pleasure over the summer, I read more than a handful of masterpieces. However, it’s the one’s that stuck most that get the mention here. Here’s looking forward to many more good reads in 2011.