This year I read 67 books, thanks to both the last semester of seminary and a summer of job hunting. I listened to a couple through my library’s audiobook app but for most I picked up a “real” copy.
There’s only a few days left in December and I doubt I’ll get around to finishing off the last couple books in my queue and reaching my 70-book goal. Oh well!
In addition to reading many wonderful books, Aaron and I were able to visit the homes of authors I grew up loving, Robert Frost and Louisa May Alcott. Each home was beautiful. The Orchard House, Alcott’s home, was by far my favorite tour; if you’re in the area you have to make time to visit. (Both gave us free admission with military IDs.)
A Note on Theology Books
Earlier this year an old friend asked me to recommend a few books on Christian theology. She was looking for an overview, of sorts. I recommended some authors and theologians I liked in that moment, and a book or two. But honestly? Her question stumped me. Did a summary of Christian theology truly exist?
After I replied with my answers, I kept thinking about it. Each author or editor comes with their own set of biases. This means that all theology is accompanied by an adjective. (Western theology, feminist theology, reformed theology, etc.) There is no default theology, no hard answers that can’t be argued a hundred different ways, even in orthodox Christian theology. Therefore, it is difficult to select only two or three books to summarize thousands of years of history, culture, and academic study.
All that to say, if you’re looking to learn more about scripture and the concepts inside without a degree program, pick a book or author you’re already familiar with and read their appendix or bibliography in the back of the book. Read similar authors and definitely read the work of those they disagree with. Go get your toes wet and don’t be scared to make a splash!
My Top 10 Books
Picking favorite books is like trying to choose a favorite dog meme: practically impossible. 10 of my favorite books (in no specific order) of the year include:
- Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski
- Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
- Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart by Christena Cleveland
- A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband ‘Master’ by Rachel Held Evans
- The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby
- How the Bible Actually Works: In Which I Explain How An Ancient, Ambiguous, and Diverse Book Leads Us to Wisdom Rather Than Answers―and Why That’s Great News by Pete Enns
- Rich Christians in an Age Of Hunger: Moving From Affluence to Generosity by Ronald Sider
- The Preacher’s Wife: The Precarious Power of Evangelical Women Celebrities by Kate Bowler
Other Noteworthy Authors
- Mike McHauge
- Sarah Bessey
- Dorothy Sayers
- John M. Perkins
- Serene Jones
- Phyllis Trible
- Margaret Atwood
Find the whole list here on my Goodreads. I have different categories (or “shelves”) on my profile that might help you find your next read according to the particular topics I frequently read.
As for my 2020 goal, I think I’ll start with 50 books and work upwards if I happen to keep the momentum. One of my favorite instagram accounts made a goal to read more, if not exclusively, women and authors of color in 2019. I’d like to do the same in 2020.
Do you have any reading goals in 2020?
Since this is the last post of 2019, here’s a quick recap of the year:
- Find this year’s most read post here.
- This post was one of my favorites to write.
- My work on purity culture was referenced on two other blogs — here and here.
This year has been a memorable year here on this blog. It will be hard to beat. A big thank you to all my readers over this last decade, either here or other blogs I’ve created. You make me smile!
Happy new year!