Reading is one of my top goals every year. I try to read through different categories, which you can learn about here. My reading this year was largely determined by unread books I already owned as well as prepping for a course I taught on Israel’s Wisdom.
Here are the books I read under each category and in the order in which I read them. I also share a standout and runner-up for each category.
- The Fall by Albert Camus
- The Testament by John Grisham
- The Essential Rumi
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- The Defector by Daniel Silva
- Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
- Coming Up For Air by George Orwell
- The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
Standout: The Reluctant Fundamentalist was assigned in my undergraduate English course. I enjoyed it then but appreciated it more now.
Runner-up: The Testament is the first novel I have read by John Grisham. I can see why my family enjoys his books so much.
- The God-Shaped Brain: How Changing Your View Of God Transforms Your Life by Timothy R. Jennings
- The Epic Of Eden: A Christian Entry Into The Old Testament by Sandra L. Richter
- Philosophy Of Religion (4th ed.) by John H. Hick
- The Wisdom Of Proverbs, Job And Ecclesiastes: An Introduction To Wisdom Literature by Derek Kidner
- Old Testament Wisdom Literature: A Theological Introduction by Craig G. Batholomew & Ryan P. O’Dowd
- The Fear Of The Lord Is Wisdom: A Theological Introduction To Wisdom In Israel by Tremper Longman III
- Purity Of Heart Is To Will One Thing by Søren Kierkegaard
- An Introduction To Israel’s Wisdom Tradition by John L. McLaughlin
- The Tree Of Life: An Exploration Of Biblical Wisdom Literature by Roland E. Murphy
- Old Testament Wisdom: An Introduction by James L. Crenshaw
- Wisdom In Israel by Gerhard von Rad
- Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach To Punctuation by Lynne Truss
Standout: The Fear Of The Lord Is Wisdom, Longman’s introduction to Israel’s wisdom writings, is academically relevant with practical and theological reflections for the reader. I used this as the textbook for my course in the fall.
Runner-up: Eats, Shoots & Leaves may not fit properly in this category but it was a fascinating read about punctuation. I will read more about punctuation, style, and writing in 2020.
- The Holy Spirit In Worship Music, Preaching, And The Altar by Josh P. S. Samuel
- The War Of Art: Break Through The Blocks And Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
- Imagining The Kingdom: How Worship Works by James K. A. Smith
- Discover The Mystery Of Faith: How Worship Shapes Believing by Glenn Packiam
- The Worship Pastor: A Call To Ministry For Worship Leaders And Teams by Zac Hicks
- Immanuel In Our Place: Seeing Christ In Israel’s Worship by Tremper Longman III
- Worship In The Spirit–The Spirit In Worship ed. by Teresa Berger and Byran D. Spinks
Standout: The War Of Art will be a book that I open regularly to help me get off the couch and start creating.
Runner-up: The Worship Pastor is a great introduction to issues of leading worship ministries in the church.
Honourable Mention: We need more books from the perspective of Canadian Pentecostals such as Josh Samuel’s The Holy Spirit In Worship Music, Preaching, And The Altar. Go pick it up and support Canadian Pentecostal scholars.
- H Is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
- Two Tears On The Window by Julia & Kevin Garratt
- Man’s Search For Meaning by Victor E. Frankl
- The Bassoon King by Rainn Wilson
- Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink by Elvis Costello
- The Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank
- Homage To Catalonia by George Orwell
Standout: Two Tears On The Window is the incredible true story of the Garrett’s detention in China. They have written out their story in a such a beautiful and moving way.
Runner-up: Just Mercy is a powerful book about the death penalty, race issues, and justice in America. It has been turned into a movie coming out in January but go read the book.
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
- Everybody Always: Becoming Love IN A World Full Of Setbacks And Difficult People by Bob Goff
- Simply Spirit-Filled: Experiencing God In The Presence And Power Of The Holy Spirit by Andrew Gabriel
- A Work Of Heart: Understanding How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders by Reggie McNeal
- Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action by Simon Sinek
- The Ideal Team Player: How To Recognize And Cultivate The Essential Virtues by Patrick Lencioni
- A Creative Minority: Influencing Culture Through Redemptive Participation by Jon Tyson & Heather Grizzle
- A Long Obedience In The Same Direction: Discipleship In An Instant Society by Eugene H. Peterson
- Is God Anti-Gay? by Sam Allberry
- Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking On Water, And Loving The Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans
- Out Of Solitude: Three Meditations On The Christian Life by Henri J. M. Nouwen
- Working The Angles: The Shape Of Pastoral Integrity by Eugene H. Peterson
- Lean In: Women, Work, And The Will To Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
- One Thousand Gifts: A DaRe To Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp
- What We Talk About When We Talk About God by Rob Bell
Standout: Simply Spirit-Filled was a timely book for me. Andrew Gabriel balances the perspective of the skeptic and the spiritual-experience-junkie, the academic and the practitioner.
Runner-up: One of the most helpful books for my personal development this year was Susan Cain’s Quiet.
What are some of your favourite books from the last year? What should be on my list for 2020? Comment below.