Sunday, 31 December 2017

Top Twenty 2017 Books

I have completed the reading challenge that I have been following for the year, just finishing before 2018. These are the books that I have read: here, here, here, and here.

The Final List - All Completed!

Although it has been a bit of a stretch to keep up the pace at times, I have really enjoyed reading more varied material across the year. I've been pleasantly surprised by how much I have enjoyed some of the non-fiction choices that I made, and I have certainly benefited from reading more Christian books over the last months.

Here are my top twenty books from the year (listed in the order I read them):

1) The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert  by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield

I loved this brilliant, beautifully written book about the experiences of the author as she turned to Christ. I've written about it more hereOpenness Unhindered by the same author is also well worth reading.

2) Germany: Memories of a Nation by Neil MacGregor

This book examines the history, culture, and stories of Germany through the lens of a number of key objects. I found it a fascinating read.

3) Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges

A challenging and thoughtful book, this was a helpful read for me, and I can recommend it. I've written here about this book, as well as about:

4) The Good News We Almost Forgot by Kevin DeYoung

This was one of the books that was an unexpected delight - full of heart-warming, soul- enriching gospel truth as Kevin DeYoung unpacks the Heidelberg catechism.

I've written more about the next four books (numbers 5-8) here.

5)  A Better Story by Glynn Harrison

Glynn Harrison discusses the narrative that our culture tells about sex and sexuality, and how we as Christians need to tell a better story - a story shaped by the gospel.

6) The Unquenchable Flame by Michael Reeves

This book looks at key figures of the reformation, and some of the central issues in a refreshing and encouraging way.

7) The Whole Christ by Sinclair Ferguson

As it pointed me again and again to the wonderful grace of God in Christ, this was another book that turned out to be a real delight to read.

8) Invest Your Suffering by Paul Mallard

This is a really helpful, thoughtful book about suffering. It is full of stories and experiences, but centred on scripture and on the truths that we find their about our sovereign, loving God.

9) Luther in Love by Douglas Bond

Douglas Bond tells the story of Martin Luther from the perspective of his wife, Katie Luther. This was a very engaging and enjoyable read.

10) A New Day by Emma Scrivener

A New Day is an excellent book which looks at mental health struggles through the lens of the gospel. It is grounded in scripture, and given substance and grace by the personal experiences of the author.

11) Age of Opportunity, A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens by Paul David Tripp

I'm on the cusp of having teenagers, so it seemed like a good idea to read this book. It was genuinely encouraging, and I expect I will reread this at least once in the years ahead!

12) J.C. Ryle: Prepared to Stand Alone by Iain H. Murray

I've read some of J.C. Ryle's writing, so this biography was very interesting. In many ways, it was quite sad, though good to see God's work through Ryle's life and teaching.

13) Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis by Michael Ward

I've grown up loving the Narnia books, and read a lot of Lewis's other books as a teenager, so this book was tremendous fun to read. It's a bit pretentious in places, I think, but the theory is totally convincing and has been great fun to discuss with our children.

14) All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I think this is a really beautiful book, set during the second world war. The two threads of story are about a blind girl from Paris, and an orphan from Germany who works as a technician for the German army.

15) Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography: Volume One by Charles Moore

I realise that this wouldn't appeal to everyone, but I am interested in politics and I thoroughly enjoyed this fascinating and meticulous biography.

16) Honest Evangelism by Rico Tice with Carl Laferton

This is a challenging, heart-warming, encouraging book, full of gospel truth and practical help.

17) Great Britain’s Great War by Jeremy Paxman

Crisp, engaging, and thought provoking, this was a fascinating and compelling read.

18) Adventures in Human Being by Gavin Francis

This book is written by a doctor, and is an excellent and beautiful book about the human body, and how it has been seen or written about in history and literature.

19) What does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality by Kevin DeYoung

I found this a helpful and clear book, which plainly set out the Biblical teaching about homosexuality. It was particularly good at deconstructing arguments which try to claim that modern views about about homosexuality can be consistent with what the Bible says.

20) The Doctrine of God by John M. Frame

This is a huge book, and something of a challenging read - but well worth it. For a detailed and thorough tome on systematic theology, it was very readable and engaging. I appreciated how clearly Frame is motivated to understand and describe what the Bible says about the character and work of God, and to explain this carefully and thoroughly. 

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