Books I've Read

Every now and then, I see someone asking about good books. Further, I often can’t call to mind some of the better books I’ve read in the moment. To that end, I’m going to list out some of the better books I’ve read. Keep in mind, I mostly read non-fiction so the number of fiction books to call upon is pretty slim.

In no particular order, these are some books I would recommend.

Making things

  • Saving The Season: A Cook’s Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving (Kevin West) is an incredibly approachable read on food preservation. Largely focused on sweet preservations, the book also covers vegetables and pickling. If you’ve ever thought you want to try canning, start here.
  • Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking (Samin Nosrat) is the book. I love cooking and when I finally realized that my “making things” could be done in the kitchen, this book changed my life. Similar to Saving The Season, this book explains cooking. This book actually changed my life.
  • Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Marcella Hazan) is a must read. She discusses everything from method to ingredients and then throws down too many recipes to cook in a lifetime. Something that she does quite well is providing numerous variations on many of the recipes in the book. At first it feels a bit cheap and lazy, but then you realize that gone Mr. Miyagi and is showing you what kinds of things to vary to get new dishes. Variety can be subtle and doesn’t have to come in the form of major changes.
  • 101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die: Discover a New World of Flavors in Authentic Recipes (Jet Tila). I love asian food, he teaches asian cooking while giving you some great recipes.
  • Flour Water Salt Yeast & The Elements of Pizza (Ken Forkish) are wonderful explorations of the fundamentals of bread. Both are scientific in their instruction and detail; both are worthy textbooks.
  • Tartine Bread (Chad Robertson) is the more tactile version of Forkish’s intellectual approach. I’ve found that using both leads to an incredible understanding of the fundamentals of bread.

Theology (my first love)

  • Christianity and Liberalism (J Gresham Machen) is a book that discusses the tension between Christianity and culture. It was written in the 1920’s by the guy who left Princeton to found Westminster. This book in in my top five of all time. Every day it becomes more salient. I can’t recommend this book strongly enough. Toward the end, it gets a bit wordy and there are references to contemporary events. However, neither of those are reasons this book isn’t read at least once every couple of years.
  • Desiring God (John Piper) is a book that appear once in a generation. A solid, easy to read and understand exposition of the Christian Faith. Solid theology undergirds the various discussions of how the Christian Worldview ought to look.
  • God in the Wasteland (David Wells) stands in the bloodline of Machen’s work and takes the themes from Machen and applies the same thinking to post modernity.
  • Morning and Evening (Charles Spurgeon) is a fantastic daily devotional book. The original is great and the contemporized version done by Alistair Begg is rock solid.
  • The Valley of Vision (Arthur Bennett) is a book of prayers edited together from various obscure writings of old thyme puritans. This book has never let me down when I can’t focus. Further, when God’s silence is too deafening or I don’t have the strength to preach to my heart, this book is my lifeline.
  • The Holiness of God (R.C. Sproul) and A Christian Manifesto (Francis A. Schaeffer) teamed up in college to awaken my faith and gave me the vocabulary to take it and make it mine.
  • To finish up, as the father of two twin boys and (soon) a baby girl, I don’t have much time to do in depth reading, so in times when I need something quick and thought provoking, I enjoy reading The Westminster Confession, The Belgic Confession, The Westminster Catechism, The Heidelberg Catechism, and recently The New City Catechism. They area easy to read a bite-sized snippet and jump around, but are very dense and can be good brain fodder.

Other

  • The Wingfeather Saga (Andrew Peterson) is a four book fantasy series. Self described as The Princess Bride meets the Lord of the Rings, the first half of book one is a bit juvenile, but it picks up and is one of my favorite fictions of all time. There is a fifth book of short stories from the world in which the series is set.
  • For a bit darker fiction The Dresden Files (Jim Butcher) is a fifteen (with a planned twenty-something) book series following the life of a wizard private investigator in contemporary Chicago. I’m a sucker for supernaturally themed fiction.
  • a bear and his boy (Sean Bryan) is the best kids book I’ve ever read. It might as well be a Pixar movie.
  • JRR Tolkien. He wrote The Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit.
  • The Art of Unix Programming will change your life, regardless of discipline or vocation.