In 2019, I went back to school full time. For that reason, I decided not to set a reading goal at the beginning of the year. I still read quite a few books, but not as many as usual, due to having to write A LOT of papers over the year. Sorry to say, but the first half of 2020 will be much the same– until I graduate.
I won’t review every single book I read this year, rather, I’ll review the ones I had strong opinions on and just list the rest. If you want to know more about what I’m reading, be my friend on Goodreads. Maybe this will help as you make your book list for the year.
A Thousand Gifts
I’m probably the last person in the world to read A Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I’ve read Ann’s blog off and on for years because her writing is so beautiful. Our ladies’ book club at church read this one and I was glad I did. It was heartbreaking, but at the same time game so much practical advice on how to live in this moment. I know the focus is on gratitude, but Ann’s suggestions really help bring you back to the here and now and learning to see and appreciate what is write at your feet. It was definitely a worthwhile read.
I had to take a refresher Comp 2 course for college, so of course, I had to read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It is a classic story. It is a super easy read for a classic science fiction novel. It was required, which is probably the only reason people still read Frankenstein.
Let’s Start with Jesus
I actually misplaced our physical copy of this book, but found it worthwhile to buy a second copy. Let’s Start with Jesus by Dennis Kinlaw is a great introduction to theology. The writing is intelligent, but not so scholarly that it is a difficult read at all. My teachers probably got tired of the number of times I referenced this book in writing. But when talking about the nature of personhood, sin, and redemption– this book is just excellent. I highly, highly recommend this book.
Trouble I’ve Seen
Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism by Drew G.I. Hart was a heartfelt book looking at racism in the church and how we can address that in Christian ways. Hart explains the theological side of fighting racism and challenges the American church to be better than it has been in the past. An excellent, well-written book for any Christian to read. I recommend this book.
Simply Christian by N.T. Wright was another book we read in our ladies’ theology book club. The book was so easy to read and easy to digest. Wright has a way of simplifying the most complex topics and making them so easily graspable. I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it.
Integrative Approaches to Psychology and Christianity
I know this is an odd book to include, but it was really revolutionary in changing how I think about certain things. I have to be honest, this was a textbook for one of my classes and it was a book the publishers sent me a free copy to review. However, I also purchased my own copy because I needed to have a paper copy in addition to my digital copy and I’m not the least bit sad about owning two copies. Entwistle lays down the approaches to integrating theology and psychology. While he does come at this from the viewpoint of someone who is secularly licensed, but biblically informed– I do find he provided so much information about all sides of the arguement that it really did allow you to choose for yourself what you think about the topic. I actually ended up with a completely different view than Entwistle based on the information he provided and followed up with many of his referenced sources. If you are trying to wrap you head around a career in psychology as a Christian or trying to wrap you head around the role of psychology in Christian persepctive, this is an excellent book to lay some groundwork and give you resources to keep pursuing the topic more in-depth. I highly recommend this book.
If You Can Keep It
I actually read this book aloud to the kids as part of our modern history in the beginning of the year in homeschooling. It is so compelling and interesting. Metaxis does a great job of writing in such an accessible way, even the kids were able to follow along and it prompted some very interesting discussions. Having just learned about the world wars, reading this book was very impactful for us to continue the conversation of the role of liberty in our lives and how that liberty can be eroded. I recommend this book to adults and even kids. My younger ones didn’t get as much out of it as the fifth grade and above crowd. As far as reading level, a 7th or 8th grader and above would easily be able to read and follow.
Spiritual and Religious
Tom Wright lays down the case for religion. You’ve heard people say that they are spiritual but not religious. Religion is almost a dirty word in many, even Christian, circles. This book will tell you what it is really like to have spirituality devoid of religion and why both matter so much. I highly recommend this book.
Books without Reviews
For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
She Reads Truth by Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Footprints of Thunder by James F. David
Reading People by Anne Bogel
The Reciprocating Self by Balswick, King, and Reimer
Delay, Don’t Deny by Gin Stephens
The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr
Hiding in the Light by Rifqa Barry
Foundations for Soul Care by Eric L. Johnson
Please Understand Me II by Keirsey
Understanding Gender Dysphoria by Mark Yarhouse
12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson
Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith by Myers and Jeeves
While I do plan on reading in the coming year, I’m not setting goals or making promises. I’ll be finishing up school this next semester and graduating in the summer. And I’m going to have a newborn. So, I know life will be hectic and I don’t want to add unnecessary pressure on myself by setting goals that aren’t productive right now. Likely, that means that like this year, I’ll probaby read between 25 and 30 books.