Though not always successful, Len tries to read three books a month, the titles of which are duly logged into a journal.  At the end of the year he migrates to the Nyack Starbucks and conducts a "Book of the Year" award ceremony in his head, naming the top three books that he most enjoyed, influenced him, or for some other reason became an award winner.  He has been doing this (logging books, naming "top books" for three decades).   Below are the titles (and a brief description when necessary) of award winners since 2000.

Inside view of the Nyack Starbucks.

Inside view of the Nyack Starbucks.


On the Trail of Richard Roesiger


(tied for 3rd)

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, (and) Biological and Chemical Weapons in the Ancient World


D-Day Thru German Eyes (Holger)

The Grace of Dogs (Root)

Tied for third:

Shackelton’s Heroes (McOrist) (and) The Happiness Effect (Freitas)


Our Grandchildren Redesigned

The Edge of (Roman) Empire

Tied for third place:

Life of the Beloved  (Nouwen)  and Moving Mountains (Eldridge)


Dataclysm (Christian Rudder)

Prayer  (Timothy Keller)

(Tied for 3rd place)

Zillow Talk  (Spencer Rascoff)

Boys in a Boat (Daniel Brown)

The Klondike Fever  (Pierre Burton)


In the Kingdom of Ice   (an epic story of arctic expedition catastrophe)

The Gospel in a Pluralist Society     

Soul Care in Academic Administration


Religion for Atheists  (A French philosopher bemoans those without Faith are missing out.)

Who is Your City?  (Sociology, what cities "creative class" people are flocking to.)

(tie for 3rd)

A Year of Biblical Womanhood  (She actually does it, with grace and humor.)

Roman Britain  (New archaeology especially on late-Roman urbanism.) 


Into the Silence   (The generation of British men aspiring to conquer Everest.)
Distinctively Welcoming  (Christian ministry in multifaith UK.)
(tie for 3rd)
Between Naivety and Hostility  (Christian ministry in multifaith UK.)
The Nowhere Legion   (Novel of Roman army near the end of empire.)


Brain Rules   (Neuroscience:  what we now know and what it means.)
The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom  (Mommy wars genre:  Western parenting is weak)
(tie for 3rd)
Worlds Apart   (Roman Britain novel, very exciting.)
The Infidel’s Guide to the Koran   (A summary of the main teachings of the Koran.)


Unlikely Disciple   (A skeptical 21 year old tries a year at a Christian university.)
God is Back   (The global growth of Christianity.)
(tie for 3rd)
The Lost City of Z  (Archaeology in Central America.)
God’s Continent   (The renewal of Christianity within Europe.)


Souls in Transition   (Sociology: youth and religious faith.)
Nurture Shock   (Social science research on parenting.)
(tie for 3rd)
Outliers   (Why some succeed.)
Justinian’s Flea    (How plagues in late Roman Europe impacted history.)



44 Scotland Street   (Hilarious novel set in Edinburgh, Scotland.)
The Reason for God  (Powerful answers to normal skeptics about Faith)
(tie for 3rd)
Oxford’s Roman Britain   (Roman Britain is one of my hobbies. Not sure why, just is.)
After the McDonaldization of the Church   (Ways the church in the UK can flourish.)

Orbiting the Giant Hairball  (Business, how organizations get stuck in a rut.)
Good to Great  (Business, how companies excel.)
The Kids are Alright  (Benefits of some aspects of popular culture, especially video games.)


Why Men Hate Going to Church  (Sociology, so sad but true.)
Why Everything Bad is Good for You  (Sociology, benefits of video games.)
Sarum (all 3 volumns)  (History of one small valley in the UK over 3000 years.)

Soul of the American Teenager  (Sociology, humongously important findings.
Now Discover Your Strengths  (The test shows your top five.)
Island at the Center of the World  (History of Manhattan.)

How the Scotts Invented the Modern World  (A bit hubristic, but they did have large impact.)
The Natural History of the Rich (Sociology, with a sense of humor.)
The Nanny Diaries  (Part of the mommy wars genre of lit coming out of NYC)

Nickel and Dimed in America  (Sociology, getting along on minimum wage.)
Intercessory Prayer
Bitch in the House  (The travails of being the parent of small children.)

The Clash of Civilizations  (Islam vs. the West)
The Unstoppable Force  (The Church on offense, in a good way.)

Acts of Faith  (Sociology of Religion)
Fame at Last (New York Times Obituary Column, the last 100 years.)
Long Hard Road Out of Hell (Biography of Brian Warner, aka Marilyn Manson)

Developing the Secret Closet of Prayer; 

The Case for Marriage  (Research about positive outcomes of being married.):  

Guns, Germs, and Steal (Why countries in Northern Europe prevail.)