I (Sean) have been keeping a reading log for 10 years. For some reason I read more books in 2009 than any year previously - 83, for a total of more than 25,000 pages. For those of you who enjoy reading as much as Rebecca and I do, here are the books I enjoyed most from among those 83.
The most important book I read in 2009 was 'The Transition Handbook' by Rob Hopkins. Having become increasingly informed of the looming crisis "peak oil" presents, I wanted to read this book, which friends had recommended as a hope-full response to what seems an insurmountable reality. It chronicles the history of the "Transition Movement" (which began in the U.K. and is now spreading globally) and also provides hands-on advice for what it will take to make the transition from oil-dependence to local resiliency. I highly recommend this as an introduction to this vital issue that continues to remain 'off the radar'. (See also the excellent documentary "A Crude Awakening.") In a similar vein I also enjoyed Bill McKibben's "Deep Economy."
My favourite biographical work was "Drinking: A Love Story" by Caroline Knapp, a non-sentimental, and wryly humourous account of her 20 years as a high-functioning alcoholic. Also in autobiography (in the "I did something for a year and wrote about it" category), I thoroughly enjoyed "The Year of Living Biblically" by A. J. Jacobs.
In the "books about the Book" category, I loved "Genesis: The Story We Haven't Heard" by Paul Borgman. Dr Borgman is a professor of English at Gordon College, who has spent 25 years wrestling with the Genesis stories with his undergraduates. His exploration of the Abrahamic narrative is particularly excellent, and there is insight and profound pondering on every page. Highly recommended. I also found Sandra Richter's "The Epic of Eden" excellent - a very helpful introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures.
An 'honourable mention' goes to Rob Bell's and Don Golden's "Jesus Wants to Save Christians" - which i re-read in 2009 for a small group study.
That wraps up my favourite non-fiction books I read last year - the fiction recommendations will be up next.