Notable Films, Music, and Books of 2011

Here are my selections for notable films, music, and books of 2011. Please share your favorites in the comments.


  • The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)
  • Of Gods and Men (Xavier Beauvois)
  • Downton Abbey (Julian Fellowes)
  • The Help (Tate Taylor)
  • The Iron Lady (Phyllida Lloyd)
  • A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg)
  • Higher Ground (Vera Farmiga)
  • Coriolanus (Ralph Fiennes)
  • Drive (Nicolas Winding Refn)
  • Meek’s Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt)
  • Buck (Cindy Meehl)
  • Contagion (Stephen Soderbergh)
  • Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols)
  • Wuthering Heights (Andrea Arnold)
  • Jane Eyre (Cary Fukunaga)



  • Bon Iver, Bon Iver
  • Radiohead, The King of Limbs
  • Feist, Metals


  • Ebène Quartet, Fiction
  • London Philharmonic, Mahler: Symphony No. 2 ‘Resurrection’


Top Picks

  • Craig Bartholomew, Where Mortals Dwell: A Christian View of Place for Today (Baker Academic)
  • William A. Dyrness, Poetic Theology: God and the Poetics of Everyday Life (Eerdmans)
  • Gabriele Finaldi, The Image of Christ (Yale)
  • Michael Horton, The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way (Zondervan)
  • Alan Jacobs, The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction (Oxford)
  • Jenell Williams Paris, The End of Sexual Identity: Why Sex Is Too Important to Define Who We Are (InterVarsity)
  • Alvin Plantinga, Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism (Oxford)
  • Miroslav Volf, A Public Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good (Brazos)


  • Jane Austen, Persuasion: An Annotated Edition (Harvard)
  • Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights. Illustrated by Tracy Dockray (HarperDesign)
  • Rachel M. Brownstein, Why Jane Austen? (Columbia)
  • Geoffrey Chaucer, The Selected Canterbury Tales: A New Verse Translation. Translated by by Sheila Fisher (Norton)
  • Edward Copeland & Juliet McMaster (editors), The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen: Second Edition (Cambridge)
  • William Deresiewicz, A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter (Penguin)
  • Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Becoming Dickens: The Invention of a Novelist (Harvard)
  • Marjorie Garber, The Use and Abuse of Literature (Pantheon)
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sufferings of Young Werther: A New Translation. Translated by Stanley Corngold (Norton)
  • Jim Scott Orrick, A Year With George Herbert: A Guide to Fifty-Two of His Best Loved Poems (Wipf & Stock)
  • Nathaniel Philbrick, Why Read Moby-Dick? (Viking)
  • Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet. Translated by Mark Harman (Harvard)
  • John Sutherland, How Literature Works: 50 Key Concepts (Oxford)
  • Claire Tomalin, Charles Dickens: A Life (Penguin)
  • Susan VanZanten, Mending a Tattered Faith: Devotions with Dickinson (Cascade)
  • Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray: An Annotated, Uncensored Edition (Harvard)

Reading & Writing

  • 25 Books Every Christian Should Read: A Guide to the Spiritual Classics (HarperOne)
  • Stanley Fish, How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One (HarperCollins)
  • Tony Reinke, Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books (Crossway)
  • John Mark Reynolds, The Great Books Reader: Excerpts and Essays on the Most Influential Books in Western Civilization (Bethany)
  • Francis-Noël Thomas & Mark Turner, Clear and Simple as the Truth: Writing Classic Prose (Princeton)

Religion & Theology

  • David Baggett & Jerry L. Walls, Good God: The Theistic Foundations of Morality (Oxford)
  • J. Todd Billings, Union with Christ: Reframing Theology and Ministry for the Church (Baker Academic)
  • Anette Ejsing, The Power of One: Theological Reflections on Loneliness (Cascade)
  • Timothy George, Reading Scripture with the Reformers (InterVarsity)
  • Michael Horton, For Calvinism (Zondervan)
  • Belden C. Lane, Ravished by Beauty: The Surprising Legacy of Reformed Spirituality (Oxford)
  • Mark A. Noll, Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind (Eerdmans)
  • Gary Scott Smith, Heaven in the American Imagination (Oxford)
  • Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World’s Largest Religion (HarperOne)
  • Kenneth J. Stewart, Ten Myths About Calvinism: Recovering the Breadth of the Reformed Tradition (InterVarsity)
  • Jerry L. Walls, Purgatory: The Logic of Total Transformation (Oxford)
  • N. T. Wright, Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters (HarperOne)


  • John Fea, Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? A Historical Introduction (Westminster John Knox)
  • Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern (Norton)


  • Karl W. Giberson & Francis S. Collins, The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions (InterVarsity)
  • Alister McGrath, Darwinism and the Divine: Evolutionary Thought and Natural Theology (Wiley-Blackwell)
  • Alister McGrath, Surprised by Meaning: Science, Faith, and How We Make Sense of Things (Westminster John Knox)


  • William T. Cavanaugh, Migrations of the Holy: God, State, and the Political Meaning of the Church (Eerdmans)
  • Darryl Hart, From Billy Graham to Sarah Palin: Evangelicals and the Betrayal of American Conservatism (Eerdmans)
  • Amy A. Kass, Leon R. Kass, and Diana Schaub (editors), What So Proudly We Hail: The American Soul in Story, Speech and Song (ISI Books)


  • Nicholas Holtam, The Art of Worship: Paintings, Prayers, and Readings for Meditation (National Gallery)
  • Steven Ozment, The Serpent and the Lamb: Cranach, Luther and the Making of the Reformation (Yale)


  • Stephen Backhouse, Kierkegaard’s Critique of Christian Nationalism (Oxford)
  • James Miller, Examined Lives: From Socrates to Nietzsche (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Charles Taylor, Dilemmas & Connections: Selected Essays (Harvard)
  • Clifford Williams, Existential Reasons for Belief in God: A Defense of Desires & Emotions for Faith (InterVarsity)


  • James K. A. Smith & David I. Smith, Teaching and Christian Practices: Reshaping Faith & Learning (Eerdmans)


  • Christian Smith, Lost in Translation: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood (Oxford)


  • William J. Bennett (editor), The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood (Thomas Nelson)

3 thoughts on “Notable Films, Music, and Books of 2011

    • Dave: VanDrunen’s Living in God’s Two Kingdoms was published in 2010. Are there any titles on my list that you may want to explore?

  1. Pingback: Best of the ‘Best of’ Lists List « EerdWord

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