Best Nonfiction Books of 2013 | Kirkus Reviews

Best Nonfiction Books of 2013 | Kirkus Reviews.

KirkusReviews-2013For eighty (80) years Kirkus has been publishing reviews of the latest books in many different categories. I am not interested in all categories – perhaps even most categories – published in the world at large, but I am always interested in non-fiction books (true stories/history). Among other “best book” lists, Kirkus has also published their list of best non-fiction books for this year (2013).

The list is worth browsing, if not simply to see what is new in this category, than to gather some ideas for the next book from this category you may wish to read. Look for your interests and perhaps you will find one that grabs your attention.

OnPaper-BasbanesOne already has for me – the latest from bibliophile Nicholas A.Basbanes – On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History (Knopf, 2013) – a history of paper! This past year I picked up two used copies of his other books on the world of books (including A Splendor of Letters: The Permanence of Books in an Impermanent World, HarperCollins, 2003).

Don’t forget, books make great gifts! Anytime of the year 🙂 Happy reading!

My Top 10 Theology Stories of 2013 – C.Hansen, The Gospel Coalition Blog

My Top 10 Theology Stories of 2013 – The Gospel Coalition Blog.

Though my own list in this category would be different – reflecting my own Reformed (and Dutch!) lineage -, yet I find Collin Hansen’s year-end summary of the top theology stories from a broader Evangelical perspective always interesting and revealing.

It is healthy for us to take spiritual stock of what has happened around us in the church world theologically and in the world culturally, so that we may also learn to respond Biblically and confessionally. As you read over this list, make a mental note – and maybe some literal ones on paper – on how you would evaluate these stories as a Reformed Christian.

Here are Hansen’s top two stories (he has them in reverse order on his post). Visit the Gospel Coalition link above to view the rest.

2. Strange Fire book, conference force evangelicals to pick sides.

We’re living in perhaps the most dramatic global expansion of Christianity in history. Yet many evangelicals often have little idea about what Pentecostals and charismatics believe. Longtime charismatic critic John MacArthur’s new book Strange Fire forces evangelicals off the fence and demands they pick a side: you either see this growth as the work of God or Satan. He contends that if you’re cautiously open to the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, then you implicitly endorse common Pentecostal malpractices, such as the prosperity gospel. Already MacArthur has emboldened cessationist allies even as critics pick apart his biblical arguments. When self-described “charismatic with a seat belt” Mark Driscoll showed up uninvited at MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference, social media documented this heavyweight clash in real time. That odd encounter produced more heat than light, but MacArthur’s influence will ensure that none of us can remain agnostic to the purpose and practice of the charismatic gifts.

1. Pope Francis makes fast friends.

With Billy Graham nearing the end of his life, only one church leader can compel the world’s attention. Pope Francis assumed leadership of the Roman Catholic Church under peculiar circumstances, and he has captivated attention ever since. It may not be surprising that Pope Francis was named Time magazine’s person of the year when you consider that his competition included the aforementioned Bashar Assad and Miley Cyrus. But when you learn The Advocate, a gay magazine, also awarded him the same recognition, you start to wonder what the world sees in him. When he says “I am a sinner,”do they see humble confession or tolerant surrender? When he says “proselytism is solemn nonsense,” do they see careful differentiation between forced conversions and the gospel call to repentance and faith, or do they see an ally in the effort to privatize religion? When Time first congratulated Pope Francis as person of the year, the editors credited him for his “rejection of church dogma.” But they failed to point to one church teaching he had rejected. Wishful thinking, perhaps?