My Year in Books
I love a good list. Whether it’s a to-do list, a packing list, or my favourite type of list, a year-end list. I don’t mind if it’s music or movies or books, I enjoy reflecting on the year that’s been and the content that stood out. With that in mind, here are a few books I read this year that I found stimulating, enjoyable, and helpful, which I commend to you.
‘God of All Things: Rediscovering the Sacred in an Everyday World’ by Andrew Wilson
I love the God of things and appreciate the things of God more deeply as a result of this unique book. Andrew Wilson, teaching pastor at King’s Church in London, takes ordinary things (like dust, donkeys and viruses) and unpacks the way they are used in Scripture to reveal the gospel and the glory of God. I particularly loved the chapters on pigs, tools, honey and mountains.
‘Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution’ by Carl R. Trueman
How did our world arrive at its current, disorienting state, and how should the church respond? These are the questions that Carl Trueman, Professor at Grove City College, seeks to answer in this thought-provoking and insightful book. This is the condensed version of a longer, more academic work (The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self), but it is no less helpful. If you want to understand how we got to where we are today, this is the place to start. Brilliant.
‘The Bible: A Story That Makes Sense of Life’ by Andrew Ollerton
I am a big believer in the importance of understanding the overarching narrative of Scripture. There are plenty of wonderful books written already on this topic (God’s Big Picture by Vaughan Roberts, According to Plan by Graeme Goldsworthy, Re-making a Broken World by Christopher Ash), but Ollerton’s is a fresh and accessible addition. He does a wonderful job of showing how the Bible fits together and why it matters. This was a key resource for our series ‘The Bible’ earlier this year.
‘Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament’ by Mark Vrogoep
When did you last lament? Do you even know what it is? I was certainly fuzzy on the details of this important spiritual practice before reading this helpful book by pastor Mark Vrogoep. To put it simply, lament is how we bring our sorrow to God, and it is a sadly neglected dimension of the Christian life for many Christians today. Discover how the Bible, through the psalms of lament and the book of Lamentations, gives us permission to vocalise our pain and help to tap into the rich reservoir of grace that God offers in the darkest moments of our lives.
‘Becoming You: Becoming the person God made you to be’ by Peter Sondergeld
I’m only about halfway through this (at time of writing), but I’ve already found it profoundly helpful. Peter Sondergeld, a pastor and counsellor in Toowoomba, peels back the layers of our hearts to help us discover what’s gone wrong with us, what God has done for us, and who God is helping us to become. It’s worth reading simply for the insight into the insidious nature of shame and its dehumanising effects.
‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy narrated by Andy Serkis
An honourable mention to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. This was my third time through the series but my first time listening to it as an audiobook. Andy Serkis, the actor who portrays Gollum in the film trilogy does an absolutely brilliant job of bringing the books to life.
Other notable mentions:
‘The World Next Door: A short guide to the Christian faith’ by Rory Shiner and Peter Orr
‘Read This First: A simple guide to getting the most from the Bible’ by Gary Millar
‘Jesus Through the Eyes of Women: How the First Female Disciples Help Us Know and Love the Lord’ by Rebecca McLaughlin
‘The Intentional Father: A Practical Guide to Raise Sons of Courage and Character’ by Jon Tyson
‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens
‘Crossroads’ by Jonathan Franzen
With you on the journey,