One of my favorite ways to look back on a year is through books I’ve read. It helps me piece together events and different seasons of the year. So I thought it’d only be fitting to name the top couple books I read this year with a brief description of why. Would love to hear your guys favorite in the comment section! (PS you can click on the book cover or title to check it out for yourself).
This was probably my favorite dense theological type read of the year. It’s by Richard Hays, who’s one of the leading theologians in the country. His specialization is what he calls “echoes” and connections between the OT and NT. In Reading Backwards he argues, similar to the title, you can only understand the Old Testament well when you read it backwards, or in other words when you read from the New Testament backwards. What I love about the book is it’s only 6 chapters (basically intro and outro then four meat chapters) where the main four chapters look at the four gospels and their particular “flavor” they see the Old Testament through. One of the books I had plenty of aha moments, but also little dens and weighty.
This was my favorite fiction read of the year. It’s by one of my favorite fiction writers, Francine Rivers. The reason I love her is first off she writes amazing stories. Every book I’ve picked up by her I literally can’t put down. I read until 2 or 3 am because I love it so much and usually finish them in a couple days. This one is no exception. So good. And the reason I love her is because she’s not afraid to go there. Her books are explicitly Christian fiction yet she doesn’t shy away from the grittiness of real life and really invokes the real and raw emotions that involve things like abuse, sexual brokenness, suicide, etc. Phenomenal book.
Ok so big disclaimer on this one. It’s not a Christian book by any means and has swear words throughout. But it was a fascinating book nonetheless. The entire book is basically a look at the dark side of debt collectors and the industry. It really felt like a behind the curtain peek at things that are affecting millions of lives in America. I was completely fascinated by the narrative, and saddened by our complete addiction to debt, maxing out our money, etc.
This one is similar to the one above. Not Christian at all, and in fact has some parts I even had to skip (like a chapter that looks at the porn industry, from a journalistic point of view, but one I didn’t want to read about nonetheless). But wow this book was so interesting. The whole book follows different people who have been publicly shamed in our internet culture. Justine Sacco (the lady who wrote the terrible AIDS tweet while hopping on a plane), Jonah Lehrer, and few others. As a believer it was such an interesting look at how a non Christian journalist traces shame and explains it in our new internet culture. Also it was very sobering in realizing just how powerful our words and tweets and things can be on the internet to actually affect real people’s lives. If you like Malcolm Gladwell type books this one and the above one are great reads.
I LOVED THIS BOOK! If you all have read my newest book It’s Not What You Think, then this book will sound a lot like chapter 9 of my book. Similar heartbeat to return to the metaphor and actual thing of the table. So good. Very concise and small book that you can read in an afternoon but I so recommend it. His little anecdotes and stats on different cultures and identity and how that works with the table is worth it alone!
What books would you recommend that you read this year?