by Jesse Jost
I didn’t reach my goal of 65 books finished this year, mostly because I got engrossed in some mammoth tomes on Russian history, and some other large volumes that I haven’t finished yet. But I did make it though 46 books. Here are my ten favourite reads with commentary. Below you will find the 10 that just missed making the top 10. It was a tough choice and anyone of these could have easily been included. They were all really good and highly recommended. Below that you will find the rest of the list. Feel free to look me up on goodreads to see my ratings and reviews of all of these books. What was your favourite read?
#10 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
by Jordan B. Peterson,
Very thoughtful and insightful book. Each chapter gave me something to mull over and challenge me in some way. The writing style won’t be to everyone’s liking but, the ideas explored are more than worth the effort!
#9 The Spirit of the Disciplines : Understanding How God Changes Lives
I found this book so thought provoking and challenging. Really made me ponder why there is so little real life change in the church, why so little spiritual formation. A great introduction to the need for spiritual disciplines in the life of the disciple and how they work. There is a difference between trying and training. If you try to run a marathon, you will fail unless you first train. You will not succeed in in “trying” to respond in a Christ-like way, unless you, through the spiritual disciplines “train” to be daily abiding in Christ. Much to think about, and to apply. I think it is time to take the spiritual disciplines more seriously then I have in the past
#8 The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia
Heart breaking look at what people suffered under communism. Amazing what a mess for millions just a few men can create. Ideas are powerful. Very insightful book. Highly recommended!
#7 Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions
by Johann Hari
I found Johann’s discussion of the 9 causes of depression so helpful and fascinating. That part I would have rated 5 stars. But the solutions part of the book I found a little weak, even concerning. I’m not sure a universal income is a real workable solution. However, this book is very thought provoking and will help you evaluate your own life. I highly recommend it!
(For a more in depth review of the book, you can read what I wrote here.
#6 The Mission of God: A Manifesto of Hope for Society
by Joseph Boot
What a powerful, mind and heart shaping book. It was so refreshing but also very convicting to catch a fresh vision of the kingdom of God. The Kingdom is Jesus’ unstoppable mission to redeem and heal us, and extend the realization of His merciful Lordship over every area of life. We have such a kind, gentle, but relentless King. I’m so grateful for his love and power, and re-motivated to stay faithful to His claim on my life because of the thorough and well articulated clarion call this book provided. You need to read this book.
#5 Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism
Wow. What a powerful little book. Such great balance of practical advice on craft of Christ-honoring sermon, combined with a convicting call to make the truth real in your own heart. If you are called to do any amount of Christian speaking, I highly recommend you read this book. It will be a wealth of wisdom and inspiration, and humbling conviction.
#4 The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God
by Timothy J. Keller, Kathy Keller
Such a terrific book. It held my interest all the way through and was full of insight and practical wisdom. I love his perspective on marriage. After 12 years of marriage, his advice really rings true. One of the best marriage books I’ve ever read.
#3 Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High
Utterly fantastic book. So beneficial. I read it for the second time and found it even more helpful this time around. It’s full of practical tips to make others feel safe in conversation, and to prevent them from becoming silent, or forceful. The goal is free exchange of honest opinions and feelings, but this rarely happens because of habits that frequently sabotage our conversations. Highly recommended!
(I found the book so valuable I wrote out some notes on the books basic principles. They can be found here.
#2 Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ
by Tony Reinke
What an amazing book. Newton offered such a wealth of practical wisdom on what it meant to live in Christ. Newton found Christ to be the ultimate aim and treasure of the Christian life and that passion drove his Pastor’s heart. His letters are so convicting and affection-stirring. I repeatedly found myself wanting more of Christ and to be freed from the many entanglements of the old man. Newton is a skilled surgeon when he writes about the spiritual ills that plague a Christian and offers such relevant, Christ exalting solutions. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
#1 For the Glory: Eric Liddell’s Journey from Olympic Champion to Modern Martyr
Rarely have I been so moved and inspired as I was by this book. Eric Liddell has long been a hero of mine, (I named our latest son after him) but I now have an even great admiration for him. We measure greatness by many metrics: fame, wealth, power, accomplishments.
Eric achieved fame by unexpectedly winning the gold medal in the 400 meter at the 1924 Olympics, but his true greatness is measured for me by his total surrender and joyful submission to Christ, and his entirely selfless service to others. He abandoned the opportunities his gold medal could have given him, and returned to China where he tirelessly shared the gospel and educated the Chinese and offered comfort and encouragement in the midst of chaos and tragedy. He poured out his life for others until his body gave out in a Japanese internment camp near the end of WW2.
Biography can inspire us to strive for new heights in all kinds of ways, but Eric’s life is potent call to die to self, submit to God, and seek to serve everyone God puts in your path. I can’t recommend this book enough!
The 10 that just missed the cut:
A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924
The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
by David Grann
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
by Timothy Egan
The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn
JI. Packer: An Evangelical Life
by Leland Ryken,
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
Mr. America: How Muscular Millionaire Bernarr Macfadden Transformed the Nation Through Sex, Salad, and the Ultimate Starvation Diet
by Mark Adams
C. S. Lewis: A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People
by John Ortberg
The rest of my 2018 reading in no order of favourites:
Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine, 1921-1933
Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ
Servant Leadership in Action: How You Can Achieve Great Relationships and Results
A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
by Paul W. Brand, Philip Yancey
The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our “Correct” Beliefs
by Peter Enns
Reimagining Church: Pursuing the Dream of Organic Christianity
by Frank Viola
Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices
by Frank Viola
What Women Really Want
A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique & American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s
Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine
The Cure Within: A History of Mind-Body Medicine
How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels
by N.T. Wright
Kingdoms in Conflict
The Kingdom of God
Jungle of Stone: The True Story of Two Men, Their Extraordinary Journey, and the Discovery of the Lost Civilization of the Maya
The Pioneer Years, 1895 1914: Memories Of Settlers Who Opened The West
Shortgrass Country: History of Foremost and Area
Through the Looking Glass: Reflections on Christ That Change Us
by Kris Lundgaard
Who Runs the Church?: 4 Views on Church Government
by Steven B. Cowan (General Editor),
Think Like a Pancreas: A Practical Guide to Managing Diabetes with Insulin–Completely Revised and Updated
Leonardo da Vinci