My favourite books of 2019

I’m relatively pleased with my reading this past year but only relatively. I think it’s dawned on me this year how much more I could read by squirrelling away a chapter here and there, putting down Twitter (every day), leaving the phone, cutting down on the X-box binges and even reading fewer blogs in favour of more books.

I think it’s clear to me that when I read more fiction, I read more of everything. It greases or fuels my reading habit. The easy page turns of a Grisham say, make the harder reading of a different style of book easier.

I’m also aware that I don’t think I read enough substantial books this year. I stayed in the shallows, the books were all manageable, none of them particularly dense or large. Particularly the Christian books. I think that’s quite a paltry list and should be doubled or tripled at least. I do need to defend the idea in my head that often reading is my work but I rarely treat it that way. Reading is a hobby, right? Wrong. I’m an editor and a church leader, reading is part of my work and despite all the other hundreds of things that need doing, reading needs to be a priority. I’m upping the stakes and planning on increasing my reading by 50% in the next 12 months. Maybe more.

So to my favourites: John Ortberg’s Faith & Doubt is outstanding and he is among the best at making deep thinkers, hard questions and Christian truth accessible and all too often very funny. The better half and I read Tim & Kathy Keller’s devotional book on the Psalms, My Rock, My Refuge, each day and benefitted hugely from it.

I’m still thinking through Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team but found it full of insights. Vassos Alexander’s Don’t Stop Me Now will get you wanting to run. The Spy and the Traitor is as good a thriller as you can get and made even more so by the fact that it’s a true story. William Wilberforce is more a hero of mine than ever after reading William Hague’s excellent biography. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road put into the words the task of a father better than any parenting book ever could. The Just William books are hilarious and Arthur Ransome’s are gems.

* =Audiobook; Bold = favourite; links = Amazon Associate link.

Christian: Faith & Doubt, My Rock My Refuge, Opening up Ecclesiastes, The Trellis & the Vine, The Prayers of Many, The Minor Prophets, Miraculous Movements, Can we trust the Gospels?, Exploring Ezra, Missionary Methods, The Gospel According to Ruth, Apostolic Church Planting

Family: Just William*, The Enchanted Wood*, Three Men in a Boat*, The Eagle in the Snow*, The Secret Garden*, Coot Club*, 101 Dalmatians*, Pigeon Post*, Ten boys who used their talents, Ten girls who used their talents, More William*, Black Beauty*

Running: Don’t Stop Me Now*, Finding Ultra*, This Girl Ran*,

Leadership: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Turn the Ship Around*, Tribes*, Leaders Eat Last*

Biography: Dreams of my Father, William Wilberforce

Non-fiction: Spitfire, Why We Sleep, The Spy and the Traitor, The Gifts of Imperfection*, Fifty Things that Made the Modern Economy, Boomerang, Bookworm,

Fiction: The Road, The Rooster Bar, The Confession, Toast-on-Toast*,

Fantasy: Magician, Silverthorn, A Darkness at Sethanon, King of Ashes, Guardians of the West, King of the Murgos, Demon Lord of Karanda, Sorceress of Darshiva, Seeress of Kell,

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