Every year I share with my readers what I have been reading for their edification. You will notice that I have been reading some old classics as well as new publications.



  1. The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion, William Voegeli, 2014
  2. Havel: A Life, Michael Zantovsky
  3. America’s Pastor: Billy Graham on the Shaping of a Nation, Grant Wacker, 2014
  4. The Abolition of a Man: How Education Develops Man’s Sense of Morality, C.S. Lewis, 1947
  5. A Wind in the House of Islam: How God is Drawing Muslims Around the World to Faith in Jesus Christ, David Garrison, 2014
  6. Apostle to Islam: A Biography of Samuel Zwemer, J.Christy Wilson, 1952
  7. The Moslem Doctrine of God, The Moslem Christ, Samuel M. Zwemer, 1905, 2010. Superb insights
  8. Taking Hold of God: Studies in Prayer, Samuel Zwemer. Valuable
  9. The Enigma of Anger: Essays on a sometimes deadly sin, Garret Keizer, 2002
  10. Finding the Forgotten God: Credible Faith for a Forgotten Age, Ron Hay, 2014
  11. Men in Hiding: Why Men Go Where They Go and Do What They Do, Jon Krug, 2015
  12. Private Devotions, Lancelot Andrewes: A biography, a transcript and an interpretation, Alexander Whyte, 1896, 2012
  13. Looking Forward: The Meaning of the Resurrection, Harald K. Haugan, 2014
  14. Emerging Prophet: Kierkegaard and the Post Modern People of God, Kyle Roberts, 2013
  15. Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer & Life in Christ, J.Todd Billings, 2015
  16. Raymond Lull: First Missionary to the Moslems, Samuel Zwemer
  17. How to be a Christian and Still be Sane, Bob Beverly, 2007
  18. Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You, John Ortberg, 2014
  19. John Locke, Richard L. Aaron, 1937, 1955
  20. The Grief Muscles: Poems of an Iraqi Veterans, Brandon Courtney, 2014
  21. Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis, 1955. Worth re-reading again. So contemporaneous
  22. Man In Revolt, Emil Brunner, 1939. Profound description of fallen humanity
  23. The Mediator, Emil Brunner, 1934. Magisterial – should be compulsory reading for preachers.
  24. The Misunderstanding of the Church, Emil Brunner, 1952. The best explanation of the NT understanding of the church and the historic institutions have departed from it. Gives a rationale for the development of nondenominational churches & missionary organizations.
  25. The Divine-Human Encounter, Emil Brunner, 1944. The Dangers of seeing Christianity as doctrine and the Church as an institution dominated by sacramental clergy. Important section on the problem of infant baptism and the need for the priesthood and ministry of all believers.
  26. The Scandal of Christianity, Emil Brunner, 1951. Perceptive analysis of challenges to the Gospel. Excellent, insightful, contemporary, relevant, profound.
  27. The Great Invitation: Zurich Sermons of Emil Brunner, 1955. Outstanding, perceptive, comprehensive models of contemporary theological & biblical preaching.
  28. I Believe on the Living God: Sermons on the Apostles’ Creed, Emil Brunner, 1957. Wonderful.
  29. Our Faith, Emil Brunner, 1936. Outstanding, clear expositions of basic Christian truths.
  30. The Divine Imperative: A Study in Christian Ethics, Emil Brunner, 1937.
  31. Emil Brunner: A Reappraisal, Alister E. McGrath, 2014. Thorough appreciation
  32. Finishing Our Course With Joy: Guidance from God for Engaging with our Aging, J.I. Packer, 2014
  33. Life After Death: A New Approach to the Last Things, Anthony C. Thistleton, 2012. Stimulating, exciting, thorough, valuable
  34. The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World’s Largest Religion, Rodney Stark, 2011. Insightful, illuminating, a great read.
  35. Unfinished Agenda: Autobiography, Lesslie Newbigin, 1993, 2009
  36. The Finality of Christ, Lesslie Newbigin, 1969 Very helpful
  37. The Light Has Come: An Exposition of the Fourth Gospel, Lesslie Newbigin, 1982. First-rate devotional & theological commentary. Full of insights.
  38. The Wind of the Spirit: Sermons, James S. Stewart, 1969
  39. The Road to Character, David Brooks, 2015.
  40. Addicted to Busy: Recovery for the Rushed Soul, Brady Boyd, 2014
  41. Rejoicing in Christ, Michael Reeves, 2015
  42. Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France, Caroline Moorehead, 2014. Excellent history.
  43. The Flames of Calais, Airey Neave, 1972. The defense in May 1940
  44. Conservative Heroes: Fourteen Leaders Who Shaped America, from Jefferson to Reagan, Garland S. Tucker III, 2015
  45. Saving Belief: A discussion of essentials, Austin Farrer, 1964
  46. Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert – Sexual Identity – Union with Christ, Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, 2015. Excellent on the priority of Christian identity over sexual identity & the need for compassionate ministry to the confused.
  47. Life 2: the sequel. What Happens When You Die, Alec Motyer, 1996, 2008. Comprehensive, thorough, helpful.
  48. What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? Kevin DeYoung, 2015. Excellent.
  49. Paul Among the People: The Apostle Reinterpreted and Re-Imagined in His Own Time, Sarah Ruden, 2010. Startling and revealing.
  50. Notes on the Death of Culture: Essays on Spectacle and Society, Mario Vargas Llosa, 2015. Profound, perceptive, challenging critique of our postmodern society.
  51. A Vision for the Aging Church: Renewing Ministry for and by Seniors, James M. Houston – Michael Parker, 2011. Excellent, timely, helpful for church education & as a resource for church leadership, preaching and vision-casting.
  52. Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism, Timothy Keller, 2015. Excellent, comprehensive, relevant, insightful. Read the endnotes as well as the text – invaluable.
  53. Learn to Grow Old, Paul Tournier, 1972. Full of helpful insights on how to grow old gracefully.
  54. The Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands, 1942-1944, Ian W. Toll, 2015. Amazing history of what happened.
  55. Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel, Russell Moore, 2015. Wordy, too theological, needed editing.
  56. Education of a Wandering Man: A Memoir, Louis L’Amour, 1989. Self-education by voracious reading & travel by the prolific author.
  57. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Atul Gawande, 2014. Sobering, about the limits and harm of medicine to those dying.
  58. Loving the Old Testament: One Book, One God, One Story, Alec Motyer, 2015. Excellent, brief introduction & overview.
  59. Gallipoli: The Dardanelles Disaster in Solder’s Words and Photographs, Richard Van Emden & Stephen Chambers, 2015. The military debacle my grandfather miraculously survived.
  60. Weakness is the Way: Life with Christ our Strength, J.I. Packer, 2013
  61. Next: Pastoral Succession that Works, William Vanderbloemen & Warren Bird, 2014.
  62. Measure of a Man: From Auschwitz Survivor to Presidents’ Tailor, Martin Greenfield, 2014.
  63. Simply Rich: A Memoir. Life and Lessons from the cofounder of Amway, Rich DeVos, 2014



  1. No Man’s Land: Fiction from a World at War, 1914-1918, ed. Pete Ayrton, 2014
  2. The Four Lost Men, Thomas Wolfe
  3. A Postcard From of the Volcano: A Novel of Pre-War Germany, Lucy Beckett, 2009. A stunning study of a period we must never forget or else be condemned to repeat. A philosophical political 7 religious historical novel of the highest order.
  4. The Leaves Are Falling, Lucy Becket, 2014 Sequel to the above.
  5. Winston’s War, Michael Dobbs, 2002 Fictional retelling of Churchill’s WWII
  6. Never Surrender, Michael Dobbs, 2003 Sequel to above
  7. Churchill’s Hour, Michael Dobbs, 2004 Sequel to above
  8. Churchill’s Triumph, Michael Dobbs, 2005, Sequel to above
  9. The White Company, A. Conan Doyle
  10. The Buried Giant, Kazuo Ishiguro, 2015
  11. Nothing to Hide: A Roland March Mystery, J. Mark Bertrand, 2012
  12. The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan, 2013. Winner the Man Booker Prize. Harrowing tale of Australian POW’s on Burma railroad and their inability to enjoy life again. Not for the faint of heart.
  13. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr, 2014. A special novel of WWII
  14. Life is Perception: Satirical short story observations on family, culture and country, Carson W. Bryan, 2015
  15. Right Ho, Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse
  16. Come Rain, Come Shine, Jan Karon, 2015. A Mitford Wedding.
  17. Leaving Berlin, Joseph Kanon, 2015. Cold War spy novel.
  18. The Lonely Lady of Dulwich, Maurice Baring, 1934
  19. The Collected Short Stories, Louis L’Amour, 2003
  20. The Walking Drum, Louis L’Amour. A 12th century adventure.
  21. The Milan Grill Room, E. Phillips Oppenheim, 1941. English period mysteries of the 1930’s.
  22. A Time for Everything, Karl Ove Knausgaard, 2004. A novel about angels, OT theology, philosophy and confusion by the celebrated author of My Struggle.


The Times Literary Supplement (London), The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Florida Times-Union, Fernandina Beach News-Leader.



Thom S. Rainer

The Federalist.com



Books at a glance