Some books which turned me around and changed my outlook on things this year.
Communion and Otherness: Further Studies in Personhood and the Church Metropolitan John Ziziolas uses modern ontological language, especially Sartre, via the Patristic Fathers in a dizzying performance.
The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It. Of the 6.5 billion of us humans on this planet, the top billion are wealthy, 4.5 billion in the middle are getting wealthy quite rapidly, the bottom billion are stuck. Traps, costs, and the possible methods of helping those in the bottom are discussed. The interesting part is that the right and left are both wrong with their one line slogans for “what to do”. Two essential details to remember is that first, right and left have it wrong (specifically aid sometimes helps (and sometimes hurts) and so does military intervention sometimes helps and sometimes hurts) … secondly one line slogans of what needs to be done are all wrong. Each country and situation is unique now and is a changing situation.
A Secular Age I’m not finished with this book … and the prose isn’t especially flowing and easy but this book is very information and idea dense and provocative.
Spiritual Psalter or Reflections on God from the Works of our Holy Father St. Ephraim the Syrian, Arranged in the Manner of the Psalms of David, Together with the Life of St. Ephrem When I was Chrismated and joined the Orthodox church this last spring, having gone through Lent, on the spur of the moment I chose as my name saint, St. Ephraim the Syrian. Ephraim is known as the Psalmist of the New Testament just as David of the Old. This book is a collection of his writings, 150 short psalms selected by St. Theophan the Recluse in the 19th century.
Solving Mathematical Problems: A Personal Perspective I bought this for my daughter. But is a really enjoyable read, even if you don’t have time to work the exercises. Math is a lot of fun.