I love to read.
And this year reading was a challenge.
It was hard to focus and get sucked into the pages because, for the first time in my life, I liked what was happening in my own life better than what was happening in the world of books.
Who knew that was possible?
Instead of spending every free second reading about other people living their lives, I was actually living mine. And it was wonderful and hard and beautiful and excruciating, and I would choose every second all over again to see God the way I do today and to get to know and love (and be known and loved by) the extraordinary people in my life.
Anyway, here are the books I did read. (And, minus the top five, these are in no order whatsoever).
“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”
Five favorite reads from 2017:
1. Steal Away Home: Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson, Unlikely Friends on the Passage to Freedom by Matt Carter and Aaron Ivey
Without a doubt, this was my favorite read from 2017. I loved every sentence and grieved when the last page came. It was beautifully written and I feel closer to Charles, Susannah, Thomas, and the Lord for reading this gem.
2. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Tim Keller
Excellent resource for every believer, regardless of background. This helped to examine, ask, and wrestle with questions I had never previously considered but ones people around me ask every day. It fueled many profitable discussions and soared my heart to the incomprehensible One who saw fit to save a wretch like me. Also, after listening to this audiobook more than a couple of times throughout the year, I feel like TK and I became buddies (he just doesn’t know it yet).
For a long time, my love for the St. Louis Cardinals rivaled my love for the Lord. Though I still love it, my heart has cooled substantially toward baseball (and sports in general), as other priorities have taken their rightful place, but this book was wonderful. Our theology might not be exactly the same, but Mike Matheny’s philosophies on sports, faith, coaching (and parenting), were encouraging and refueling. (And you can’t help but appreciate the influence of John Wooden in pretty much every chapter.)
4. Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
My love for baseball might have cooled some, but my heart for the Olympics is still blazing. I loved the story, the writing, and the history packed into each page of this book.
5. The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can’t Get Their Act Together by Jared Wilson
This book came at exactly the right time for me. The chapter on the fruit of the Spirit is worth the price of the book—I sobbed my way through the part on God’s goodness leading to repentance. What a Savior. Also, praise for a Christian not taking himself so seriously.
The Rest of the Reads:
This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years by Jaquelle Crowe
I love Jaquelle and I love this book. If you’re a teenager, a youth leader, a parent, or if you might possibly, potentially ever speak to a teenager at some point in your life, you should read this book. So rich. So good. I can’t wait to go through it with my small group babies this year.
You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis and Lisa Chan
Hands down one of the best marriage books I’ve ever read because it’s not really about marriage as much as living on mission for the glory of the One who created every relationship for His honor.
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Emerson Eggerichs
“Oh my word, I’m not crazy.” –My continual thoughts while reading this book. This is such a good book in discovering how God made the sexes gloriously different and how to better navigate those differences.
I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read this book but my heart, so prone to believe the lie that God is not good to me, needs to be reminded of its message often. He gives the best gifts.
The Radical Disciple by John Stott
Gospel Fluency: Speaking the Truths of Jesus into the Everyday Stuff of Life by Jeff Vanderstelt
Jeff Vanderstelt is one of my favorites and this book is wonderful. The forward by Jackie Hill-Perry is stellar as well. We should all read this book and let these truths seep into our souls and into lives.
Once Upon A Prince by Rachel Hauck
A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis
Full of raw vulnerability, Clive shares his journal entries after the death of his best friend (and wife) Joy. One of my favorite quotes: “And now that I come to think of it, there’s no practical problem before me at all. I know the two great commandments, and I better get on with them.”
Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber
One of my all-time favorite books ever written. This is not my first time reading this jewel and I will undoubtedly return again and again. Ugh, I love it.
All the Gallant Men: An American Sailor’s Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor by Donald Stratton
Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot
Hinds Feet in High Places by Hannah Hurnard
Confession: I didn’t like this book at all. I love John Piper but this didn’t feel like his writing and I don’t think I could recommend it to people.
The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden by Kevin DeYoung
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
This classic did not disappoint.
Church in Hard Places: How the Local Church Brings Life to the Poor and Needy by Mez McConnell and Mike McKinley
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
What are you reading?
What were your faves from this year?
What’s on your list for 2018?