There aren’t many topics I could go on endlessly about, but when it comes to good books, count me in on that conversation. I’m never without a book, never without a plan of what’s next on my list to read, never without a load of holds at the library, and never without recommendations for the poor sucker who’s stumbled into a books conversation with this passionate and crazed reader!
Every year I share my favorites (see previous lists at the end of the post), and today’s the day I’m sharing what I loved most in 2017. These books weren’t necessarily published in 2017 but made my favorites list because I read them this past year and I found them either fascinating or helpful in some way. I also can’t stop recommending them to people in my off-line life.
This year I’ve also invited my husband to share his favorites. Long ago I converted him into a reader and it is now often what we do or talk about when we have quiet moments together. We tend to like similar genres, so you’ll find that both our lists are primarily nonfiction, Christian, or history books. (Sorry, fiction readers!) We even overlapped in some of our favorite titles from the year, which I’ve highlighted below.
Happy reading in 2018! And don’t forget to comment with your favorites from this year. I’m always up for a recommendation.
Humble Roots by Hannah Anderson
When I read the first chapter of this book, I was immediately hooked. In describing her own restlessness and anxiety, Anderson describes my life. She then diagnoses an underlying pride and, using nature as a guide, teaches her readers how to cultivate humility.
Steal Away Home by Matt Carter and Aaron Ivey
I’d never read a book quite like this one before: it’s fiction but also covers real people and events. Carter and Ivey take their readers inside a friendship between Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson, one a world-famous, white, English preacher and the other a freed African-American slave. I appreciated the focus on friendship, suffering, and also the influence of the wives of these men.
Strong and Weak by Andy Crouch
There is one chapter — on leaders’ hidden vulnerabilities — that has stuck with me months after reading this book. I felt as if Crouch helped me understand myself and my role as a pastor’s wife in ways I hadn’t previously been able to identify. I’d recommend this book for that chapter alone, especially to those in leadership positions.
The Tech Wise Family by Andy Crouch
I’ve felt the technology takeover in my house within the past year, and both my husband and I read this book looking for wisdom and help for what we’ve seen as an increasing problem in our lives and in our home. Crouch doesn’t give rules for technology; instead he gets to the heart of how and why we use it. I highly recommend this for parents, no matter the age of their children.
Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick
There are a few subjects I’ll read anything on, and one of them, strangely enough, is North Korea. Demick’s book takes us inside the Hermit Kingdom through the lives of North Koreans who have since escaped. Her writing makes her reader feel as if they’re living there themselves, experiencing the desperation and hopelessness. This is a well-written and fascinating read.
Devoted to God by Sinclair Ferguson
I didn’t expect to like this book, but in fact I loved it! Ferguson answers the questions I’ve been mulling for a few years now: How does sanctification work? How do we grow and slay sin according to the grace of Christ? I found this book immensely helpful, as well as convicting.
Romans 8-16 for You by Tim Keller
I love the book of Romans, but I’ve always been deeply confused by chapters 9-11. I picked up Keller’s book for help. The best way I can think to describe the book is that it’s a combination of a devotional and an easy-to-read commentary. I read it alongside the book of Romans to help me clarify and comprehend the parts I’ve found difficult. Keller has a way of making difficult concepts simple and understandable, which is why I liked this book.
Struck by Russ Ramsey
Ramsey is a poetic and introspective writer, and in Struck he takes on the subject of suffering, illness, and death. Although not facing these things at the time I read it, the book helped me think through how I might face suffering well and how I can help others in theirs.
Hellhound on His Trail by Hampton Sides
Sides takes his readers through the days leading up to and following the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. A page-turner, there were many details I didn’t already know.
God’s Good Design by Claire Smith
This year, I’ve been researching and studying what the Bible has to say about women and the church. Smith’s book, which is available in paperback here, was the most straightforward I found. She goes straight to the “problematic” texts and exegetes them. (Another helpful book in my reading on this topic was Jesus, Justice, and Gender Roles by Kathy Keller.)
Below are Kyle’s favorites. Some of my favorites were also his: Humble Roots, Devoted to God, Strong and Weak, and The Tech-Wise Family. Here are the rest:
- Messy Beautiful Friendship by his wife, so take his biased opinion for what it’s worth (but thanks, babe!)
- Martin Luther by Eric Metaxas
- The Last Lion: Winston Churchill by William Manchester
- Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus by Reggie Williams
- The Sacred Journey by Frederick Buechner
- Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
- Rebel Yell by S.C. Gwynne
- The Whole Christ by Sinclair Ferguson
- Essentialism by Greg McKeown
This post was originally published here.
Published January 11, 2018