That season has come around once again, where top ten lists abound! As you know, reading is one the few hobbies I have, regularly reading around 100 books a year. With that much reading, it’s no surprise that there’s a range of quality. Most are in that “good, but not earth-shattering” category, some were terrible… but a few were legitimately great. Here are the ones that made the cut this year—but this year, I’m doing it a little differently by sharing from a few different categories. Check it out:
Books for Christians
The Prodigal Church by Jared C. Wilson (Crossway). This is the book I want to put in the hands of every church leadership team. It’s extremely challenging, convicting and God-glorifying—and one those of us who read it need to apply to ourselves first, before we start pointing fingers to determine what’s wrong with our churches. (For more on this book, read my review.)
Good News About Satan by Bob Bevington (Cruciform Press). Most books on spiritual warfare are—how do I put this delicately?—completely and irredeemably whack. Bevington, rather than getting all hoobity boobity and indulging in too much fanciful speculation, does something unique: he sticks entirely to Scripture to try to paint a picture of the reality of the spiritual opposition we face. And in doing so, he shows us both how serious a threat demonic powers truly are while proving that they are no match for Christ.
Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney (Crossway). In all honesty, if I had to choose, this would be my top book of the year. It’s the book I’ve most immediately applied to my life and found great benefit from (I even used it as a guide for a staff prayer chapel at the ministry I work with). It is one of the most practical and easy to apply books on prayer I’ve read possibly ever, and one I’m happy to commend to any Christian seeking to improve their prayer life. (For more on this book, read my review.)
Preaching by Timothy Keller (Viking). As I shared in my review, Preaching is not a book on “how to preach the Tim Keller way”. And for that I am grateful. It is a book about the primacy of preaching, a call to put our trust in God’s word on display, and to rely on the Spirit to work through our preaching as we strive to show Jesus as the real answer to those the late-modern mind cannot answer.
Books to shepherd your kids
The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung (Crossway). As I wrote in my review, if you’re looking for a book to introduce your kids to the story of Scripture, The Biggest Story is one you’d want to strongly consider. It’s honest and faithful to the Bible, but balances that well with a kid-friendly tone and beautiful illustrations. I’m glad to have been able to share this book with my kids. I hope you’ll enjoy doing the same.
God Made All of Me by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb (New Growth Press). The Holcombs give parents a tool with which to teach their kids about their private parts, consent, and what to do if they need help. It’s thoughtfully written, easy to understand and explain, and very helpful for preparing you for difficult conversations. (For more thoughts on this book, read my review.)
Books about Canada
How To Be A Canadian by Will and Ian Ferguson. This is actually a bit older than most everything on this list, but it’s fantastic. The Fergusons gently poke fun at all that it means to be Canadian from our inefficient government and universal health care to our exotic cuisine and our peculiar proclivity to say “sorry”.
Books for fun
Boys of Blur by N.D. Wilson. I bought a copy of this to share with my oldest daughter, though so far I’m the only one who has read it (she’s not into it at the moment). It’s a super-compelling, fast read that leaves most other modern fiction books eating its dust. If you’re looking for something quick to read this Christmas, this is one I’d highly recommend.
Books with pictures
Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick (Random House). As a fan of Frumpy the Clown and Barry Ween (which are so not appropriate for children in any way, shape or form), this is a book I’ve been waiting a looooong time for. Winick hits just the right balance of drama and comedy in the first part of his new graphic novel series for the all-ages demographic. My two oldest children adore this book. I’m looking forward to seeing it fall apart from being well-loved.
Star Wars Vol. 1: Skywalker Strikes by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday (Marvel Comics). I normally don’t read comics based on movies, but Marvel’s doing a brilliant job with their entire line of Star Wars books. The storytelling is compelling, the artwork is top-notch, and most importantly, they feel like they matter to the overall story. Though they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, these are great fun if you’re a fan of Star Wars.
The Batman Adventures by Kelley Puckett, Mike Parobeck, et al. (DC Comics). I used to love the 90s Batman animated series, which inspired this all-ages series which has been out of print for far too long. Thankfully, DC has started collecting and republishing the series as graphic novels.
Here are a few books I really enjoyed, but didn’t quite make the “best of the best”:
- The Story of Everything by Jared Wilson (review coming soon)
- Onward by Russell Moore (reviewed here)
- Experiencing the Trinity by Joe Thorn (reviewed here)
- The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler (reviewed here)
See what made the cut in years past: