by Steve Laube
In 1957 H.L. Mencken coined a new word to describe a group of people which he called the bibliobibuli, which means “People who read too much.” (From the Greek “biblio”, meaning books, and the Latin “bibulous”, from “bibere”, to drink.)
But how much is too much? And who decides that? I happen to believe that there is always room for more. I was once asked what I did for a living. I answered, “I read.” They followed up with the question, “What do you do for fun?” I smiled and said, “I read.” It is both a privilege and a blessing to work with so many gifted authors and to be immersed in their ideas every day.
But there are tons of books I read outside of work. When thinking about the variety of books I read these past few months it became a fun exercise so I decided to describe a few of them below. I have intentionally avoided books by clients or other prospective authors.
As mentioned in an earlier post I teach the Bible in a small class every Sunday morning of about 20 people. Last week we completed our eight month journey through the Apocrypha and the history of the Western world during the 400 years between the book of Malachi and the book of Matthew. As part of my research I was able to finish working through:
- The Anchor Bible Commentaries on both 1 & 2 Maccabees by Jonathan A. Goldstein (1,200 pages of extraordinary scholarship).
- The World of Jesus by Dr. William H. Marty (highly recommended introductory material, especially on Rome and Herod).
- The appropriate sections of The Romans for Dummies by Guy de la Bedovere (there is something to be said for the critical simplicity of this series!).
- I struggled with Selina O’Grady’s And Man Created God: A History of the World at the Time of Jesus because the author believes Paul invented Christianity. But the historical elements of the book were fascinating.
- Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan. Whenever a book on the life of Christ becomes #1 on the New York Times bestseller list it is important to find out what it claims. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. The book goes to great lengths to undermine Jesus’ divinity and turns him into a frustrated zealot whose warlike desires were ultimately thwarted. The author’s selective exegesis is truly astounding in its scope, picking only parts of the gospels that support his position and ignoring those that don’t. I do not recommend this book. For a couple of excellent critiques read John Dickson and Darrell Bock.
Fiction is my “mind candy.” The way I lose myself in stories of wide variety and scope. I am unable to list all those read these past few months but this should give a taste.
- Wool by Hugh Howley
- Leviathan Wakes by James A. Corey
- Inferno by Dan Brown (could not finish it. It failed to hold my attention.)
- The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey
- The Program by Suzanne Young
- Slow Apocalypse by John Varley
- The Intercept by Dick Wolf
- The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough
Feel free to tell us what you read these past few months in the comments below.