Where the book-worm will not die… image

Where the book-worm will not die…

I’m sure I was not the only one who read Andrew Wilson’s Books of the Year and imagined a paraphrase of Ecclesiastes: “Of reviewing many books there is no end, and such blog posts weary the body” (Ecclesiastes 12:12).

Didn’t Jesus say something along the lines of not sounding trumpets when you read a book, as the theologians do, so they may be honoured by bloggers. Truly I say to you, Wilson has had his reward in full! And I have a number of specific concerns with what Brother Wilson’s reading habits reveal. In no particular order:

Firstly, I note that the Bible didn’t feature anywhere on Wilson’s list. Not in the top ten old books, not in ‘the rest’, or as a re-read, or even in the honourable mentions at the start. Worrying, but not-unsurprising.

Secondly, I was concerned with the lack of diversity, and the fact that otters were not fairly represented in the list of authors he chose to read or celebrate. I consider this a clear case of speciesism. I would have thought, for example, that Praylexa: A Theology of Priesthood for a Digital Age, based on my recent conference, might have been in the running for best title. (That this post did not feature in the most read Think articles of 2018 is confusing – surely a mistake on the part of Google Analytics?) And due to a particularly poor proof-reading job, I do believe that my book racked up more typos than even Leithart’s two-volumes. I feel overlooked.

Thirdly, some of us consider it far more important to spend time with people than with books, and it seems clear that Wilson must have neglected a good few of his congregants in 2018 in favour of racking up more reading hours. One can hardly imagine Jesus turning away a leper, for example, because he had two chapters left in his Graham Greene novel.

Perhaps Andrew has too little work to do, in which case he is welcome to gather up the crumbs that have fallen from my to-do list. After all, the devil makes books for idle hands.

Maybe in 2019 he might like to take a leaf out of Jesus’ book (pun intended) and get out and about a little more. To paraphrase the beloved disciple:

‘Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even Dr Wilson would not have time to read all the books that would be written.’ (John 21:25)


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