2012 Books

In years past, I’ve posted a list of the books that I’d read cover-to-cover over the course of the year. I never got around to it last year, but thought I’d resume the habit. All the usual caveats attain with regard to my categorization; it is inevitably arbitrary and disputable. For most categories, I’ve put the book that I found to be most illuminating or entertaining in Bold face, and the book that I don’t particularly recommend in a shade of the color brown.

I’m happy to say that I’ve read quite a bit more fiction this year than in several previous years, and I’m close to being able to include DFW’s Infinite Jest on the list, though it will have to wait for next year. Of course, I wish that I’d taken the time to read more, but unfortunately reading seems to be what “gives” when I’m under the gun of writing or application deadlines. Since I never posted last year’s books, I’ve included that list separately, below the break.

What books from your 2012 reading will your thoughts carry into 2013?




Christopher A. Beeley, Gregory of Nazianzus on the Trinity and the Knowledge of God: In Your Light we see Light, 396.

Sigurd Bergmann, Creation Set Free: The Spirit as Liberator of Nature, 389.

Peter Scott, A Political Theology of Nature, 275.

Kevin Corrigan, Evagrius and Gregory: Mind, Soul, and Body in the 4th Century, 245.

Daniel Colucciello Barber, On Diaspora: Christianity, Religion, and Secularity, 155.

David Clough, On Animals: Volume I, Systematic Theology, 215.

Deborah Creamer, Disability and Christian Theology: Embodied Limits and Constructive Possibilities, 156.

David Kelsey, Eccentric Existence: A Theological Anthropology vol. 1, 602.

David Kelsey, Eccentric Existence: A Theological Anthropology vol. 2, 490.



Jean-Christophe Bailly, The Animal Side, 87.

Giorgio Agamben, The Kingdom and the Glory: For a Theological Genealogy of Economy and Government, 303.

Michael Naas, Miracle and Machine: Jacques Derrida and the Two Sources of Religion, Science, and the Media, 407.

Penelope Deutscher, How To Read: Derrida, 133.

Richard Sorabji, Animal Minds and Human Morals: The Origins of the Western Debate, 267.

Georges Bataille, Theory of Religion, 126.

Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There, 228.

Donna J. Haraway, When Species Meet, 423.

Julia Kristeva, Strangers to Ourselves, 230.

Peter Singer, Animal Liberation, 320.



Ingvild Sælid Gilhus, Animals, Gods and Humans: Changing Attitudes to Animals in Greek, Roman, and Early Christian Ideas, 322.

Robert M. Grant, Early Christians and Animals, 214.

James Serpell, In the Company of Animals, 215.

David Brakke, Demons and the Making of the Monk: Spiritual Combat in Early Christianity, 308.

Julia S. Konstantinovsky, Evagrius Ponticus: The Making of a Gnostic, 217.


Biblical Studies:

Scot McKnight, Junia is Not Alone, 25.



John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra, 270.


Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, 160.

Ed Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang, 385.

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow, 776.

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, 232.

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Devils, 704.

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Uncle’s Dream, 155.

David Foster Wallace, The Broom of the System, 467.



Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen, 287.





J. Warren Smith, Passion and Paradise: Divine and Human Emotion in the Thought of Gregory of Nyssa, 296.

Kathryn Tanner, Christ the Key, 322.

Nonna Verna Harrison, God’s Many-Splendored Image: Theological Anthropology for Christian Formation, 207.

C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, 150.

Rosemary Radford Ruether, Gregory of Nazianzus: Rhetor and Philosopher, 200.

Wilis Jenkins, Ecologies of Grace: Environmental Ethics and Christian Theology, 363.

Laura Hobgood-Oster, Holy Dogs and Asses: Animals in the Christian Tradition, 176.

Andrew Louth, The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition, 215



Jacques Derrida, The Beast and the Sovereign (Vol. 1), 350.

Slavoj Zizek, First as Tragedy, then as Farce, 157.

Mary Midgley, Beast and Man: The Roots of Human Nature, 377.

Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality: Volume 1: An Introduction, 169.

Pierre Bourdieu and Loïc Wacquant, An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology, 331.

Louis Althusser, On Ideology, 179.

J.M. Coetzee, The Lives of Animals, 170.

Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, 200.

Leonard Lawlor, This is not Sufficient: An Essay on Animality and Human Nature in Derrida, 171.

Giorgio Agamben, Nudities, 120.

Giorgio Agamben, The Coming Community, 110.

Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem, 312.


Elizabeth A. Clark, History, Theory Text: Historians and the Linguistic Turn, 377.

Fernand Braudel, On History, 226.

Amy Hollywood, Sensible Ecstasy: Mysticism, Sexual Difference, and the Demands of History, 371.

Virginia Burrus, The Sex Lives of Saints: An Erotics of Ancient Hagiography, 216.

John McGuckin, Saint Gregory of Nazianzus: An Intellectual Biography, 435.


Biblical Studies:

R. Crumb, The Book of Genesis Illustrated, 224.


William Andrews, ed., Sisters of the Spirit: Three Black Women’s Autobiographies of the Nineteenth Century, 245.



Daniel Quinn, Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit, 265.

Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita, 384.


Patricia B. McConnell, The Other End of the Leash: Why We do What we do Around Dogs, 246.

Patricia B. McConnell, For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend, 330.


4 Replies to “2012 Books”

  1. Man, I don’t think I can remember clearly what I read this past year. Moby Dick and White Noise (DeLillo) are the most memorable. Last night I finished Underworld (DeLillo again) which was amazing and pretty inspiring in terms of how he structured the narrative. My aspirations for the beginning of 2013 are lofty – today I picked up not the entire Divine Comedy but just Inferno along with Faust. Or rather I should say I had to special order Faust from the Tattered Cover. I have especially high hopes for it.

    1. Sweet! Maybe after I finish this DFW kick, I’ll have to check out DeLillo. Which would you start with?

      This was the year of eco-classics for me; which I’d like to continue. I’ve got Abbey’s Desert Solitaire on my desk and I’d like to read Encounters with the Archdruid. We’ll see.

      Enjoy Faust!

      1. Well, White Noise is considerably shorter than Underworld so I’d give that a go first to see if you like his writing (kind of like trying out The Crying of Lot 49 before diving into Gravity’s Rainbow, although he isn’t as difficult as Pynchon). I’ve heard good things about Mao II, Libra, and The Angel Esmeralda but haven’t yet picked them up.

        A friend gave me The Monkey Wrench Gang a few years back but I never got around to it. I’ll see if I can find some time for it this year.

        1. It’d be good to read DeLillo while we’re living here in the Bronx. He grew up here, I believe. I’ll pick up White Noise.

          Speaking of Pynchon, I heard a rumor today that he’s got a new book being published this year!

          The Monkey Wrench Gang is a fun and fast read. There’s not much profound about it, but it certainly captures the personality of stubbly old first-wave eco-folks. It’s a good story. The one thing that bothered me was his treatment of the one female character, who pretty much just looks cute and sleeps with the guys. Maybe she shoots someone, but she’s kind of a cardboard character.

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