The end of the year is a time of lists. Top news stories of the year, top movies, top books.
Each year I keep track of the books I read. (I have previously written about my system of reading here: Reading Two Five). Here is my list of the books I read in 2018. I did a much better job of keeping my categories balanced than I did in 2017.
Under each category I share a standout and a couple runners-up. I’ll tell you right now that the best book out of all of the standouts is Liturgy Of The Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren.
Looking ahead at next year, I have a number of good academic and experience books on my to-read list, which should make for another good year of reading.
- The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger
- Paradise Lost by John Milton
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- Tales From Ovic by Translation by Ted Hughes
- Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- For One More Day by Mitch Albom
- Our Town by Thornton Wilder
Standout: Crime And Punishment. I have tried to read something from Dostoyevsky each year, and this year I delighted in reading Crime And Punishment.
Runners-up: Paradise Lost and Tales From Ovic. These were not easy, but John Milton’s work gave a fresh perspective on the stories of creation and the fall of humanity. There were also many familiar stories in Tales From Ovic.
- Sinners In The Hands Of A Loving God by Brian Zahnd
- The Temple And The Church’s Mission by G.K. Beale
- The Jesus Way by Eugene H. Peterson
- Teaching And Christian Practices ed. by David I. Smith & James K.A. Smith
- The Evangelist by Marie Miller
- The Art Of Biblical Poetry by Robert Alter
- From The Margins To The Centre ed. by Michael Krause
- Advent: The Once And Future Coming Of Jesus Christ by Fleming Rutledge
Standout: The Jesus Way. My favourite so far of Peterson’s Conversations In Spiritual Theology series, this book gave an excellent picture of the way of Jesus and how to live the Jesus way.
Runners-up: From The Margins To The Centre and Advent. My father-in-law edited the first of these two, and it had some fascinating ideas related to ministry in our current Canadian, multicultural context. The second was a great series of sermons on Advent that helped me in preparation for Christmas and Advent services.
- For The Glory Of God by Daniel I. Block
- For The Beauty Of The Church ed. by W. David O. Taylor
- Canadian Pentecostals, The Trinity, And Contemporary Worship Music by Michael A. Tapper
- Essential Worship by Greg Scheer
- Creative Quest by Questlove
- Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin
- The Holy No by Adam Hearlson
- Ulite Dulci by Thomas Symmes
- The Spirit Of Praise ed. by Monique M. Ingalls & Amos Yong
Standouts: Essential Worship. This book offers a great perspective on worship, with great biblical and historical influences.
Runners-up For The Beauty Of The Church and Ulite Dulci. I ended up using the first as the textbook for a course I co-taught on Worship And Creative Arts. The second was fun to hunt down, read, and write about.
Honourable Mention: Worship Matters. I re-read this book when I used it for a small group of new worship leaders I was developing at church. It once again proved to be a valuable resource.
- Confessions by Saint Augustine
- Chronicles: Volume One by Bob Dylan
- I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
- Bossypants by Tina Fey
- 7 Men by Eric Metaxas
- The Innocent Man by John Grisham
- 7 Women by Eric Metaxas
- The Color Of Water by James McBride
Standouts: Confessions. I was intimidated picking up this book, but it captivated me from the start. It felt as though I was listening to a friend living in Toronto or New York, struggling to live out their Christian faith.
Runners-up: The Innocent Man and I Am Malala. John Grisham’s first work of non-fiction was absolutely infuriating and you should read it (before watching the new Netflix Documentary Series). Malala’s story of courage and strength was inspiring and illuminating.
- Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey
- Liturgy Of The Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren
- Comeback Churches by Ed Stetzer & Mike Dodson
- The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team by Patrick Lencioni
- Anonymous by Alicia Britt Chole
- Messy Grace by Caleb Kaltenbach
- The Shallows by Nicholas Carr
- Smarter Than You Think by Clive Thompson
- How To Be Here by Rob Bell
- The Pursuit Of God by A.W. Tozer
- The Road Back To You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile
Standouts: Liturgy Of The Ordinary. This is one of the best books I have read. I have thought for years that God calls us to the small things, and this book captured how the small movements of our day are opportunities to live out our faith and worship.
Runners-up: Anonymous and The Road Back To You. Alicia Britt Chole has written a beautiful little book that opened up a new way of viewing the temptation of Jesus. The Road Back To You was my first foray into the world of the Enneagram, and it proved helpful to understanding certain things about myself and others.
What are some of your favourite books from the last year? What should be on my list for 2019? Comment below!