2018’s Reading in review

Following on from my post of similar content last year, here is a rough overview of what I’ve read this year, broadly subdivided by a few categories… (I’ve also tried putting stuff into GoodReads for the last year, though that is incomplete).

I managed to read 103 books in 2018, and this post breaks that down. If you’d rather just find out what my Top Ten of 2018 were, then read this post. I was pleased to have read over 100 books – having made that my intention – and also to review at least one book a week. In 2019 I’m hoping to finally read 125 books, as I planned to back in 2017, and am hoping to write a higher-than-2018 number of reviews.


Read and reviewed – 55 books

Glen Scrivener’s Love Story – a great little book suitable for both evangelism and encouragement.
Brent Fulton’s China’s Urban Christians – a fascinating academic book looking at the state of the Chinese Church in urban areas.
Peter Philips, Engaging the Word – a superb book on the Bible, reading it, and what it means to be biblical.
Stephen Guthrie’s Creator Spirit – a brilliant academic theology book on how the Holy Spirit makes us more human and more creative.
Swee Hong Lim and Lester Ruth’s Lovin’ On Jesus – a helpful and thoughtful academic book on contemporary Christian worship. [R] Graham Tomlin’s Luther’s Gospel – a brilliant bit of theological/historical writing.
Kate Bowler’s Everything Happens for a Reason – a powerful and poignant memoir of suffering, interspersed with reflection on the Prosperity Gospel. [R] John Mark Comer’s God Has a Name – brilliant and deeply biblical reflection on who God is. [R] J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy – a powerful memoir offering a lot of insight into parts of American culture. [R] Glen Scrivener’s Divine Comedy, Human Tragedy – a helpful little book on how comedy and tragedy can illuminate spirituality.
Danielle Strickland’s The Zombie Gospel – a useful little book on the Walking Dead tv phenomenon.
Susan Eastman’s Paul and the Person – a helpful and thoughtful academic book on Paul’s view of the human person. [R] Jimmy Dodd and Larry Magnusson’s Pastors are People Too – a book that should be required reading for pastors and those of us who love them. [R] Matt Chandler’s Take Heart – a superb little book that encourages and envisions Christians for our time.
John Benton’s Why Join a Small Church? – a helpful little book that does what it says on the tin.
William Philip’s Why We Pray – a helpful book on prayer from a conservative evangelical perspective.
Justin Welby’s Dethroning Mammon – an excellent little book from the current Archbishop of Canterbury.
Scott Hahn’s The Creed – this is a very good book from a Roman Catholic apologist on why the Creed is so central.
Captivated – a Keswick yearbook that collects the talks from a great convention.
John Behr’s Becoming Human – a beautiful little hardback, blending art and words, by a leading Eastern Orthodox theologian.
Rowan Williams’ Being Human – an excellent little book, completing a helpful trilogy. [R] Adam Mabry’s The Art of Rest – a superb little book on a vital subject, much needed in our busy world.
Mez Mcconnell’s Preparing for Baptism – a helpful and practical book, doing what it says on the tin from a refreshingly simple evangelical perspective.
Chris Cippolone’s Down, Not Out – a brilliant new book on depression and faith.
Mark Meynell’s When Darkness Seems my Closest Friend – a superb book on depression and other mental health issues, with particular help and encouragement for leaders. [R] Matt Knell’s Defenders of the Faith – a brilliant little book looking at historical and contemporary heroes of the church.
Todd Wilson, Mere Sexuality – probably the best book I’ve read this year on sex and spirituality. [R] Wallace Benn, Ministry of the Word – a helpful book from a retired Bishop and bible teacher on preaching and ministry.
Douglas and Jonathan Moo, Creation Care – a father and son addition to the helpful Biblical Theology for Life series from Zondervan, this is an excellent resource and catalyst. [R] John Inge, A Christian Theology of Place – an Anglican perspective on theology of place. Thought provoking and rooted in deep research.
Craig and Medine Keener’s Impossible Love  – an amazing story of how this pair of saints came to be married, well worth reading.
Various, This is My Body – an interesting and sobering book, gathering the stories and theology of some transgender Christians.
Tom Wright, For All the Saints – a helpful look at heaven, hell, purgatory and so on from NTW.
Douglas Pett, The Healing Tradition of the New Testament – a disappointing but still interesting book on the New Testament miracles from a unique perspective.
Vicky Beeching’s Undivided – a well written but theologically unconvincing book, telling a personal story around sexuality.
John Grisham, Camino Island – a pretty good novel from one of my favourite fiction authors.
Mark Gornik and Maria Liu Wong, Stay in the City – a short but provocative book about mission and urbanisation. I look forward to reading the longer book that this was a sort of trailer for.
Andy Johnston, Convinced by Scripture – a nicely written and accessible biography of Martin Luther with practical pointers about bible reading.
Tim Chester, Enjoying God – a beautiful book about God, the Trinity, and how we can enjoy and experience relationship with him.
Rachel Newham, Learning to Breathe – a beautiful, profound and painful book about depression and suicide. One of my top ten, easily. [R] Calvin Samuel, More Distinct – an excellent and intelligently readable primer on holiness from the principal of LST.
Various, Two Views on Homosexuality and the Church – a helpful and thoughtful introduction to the discussion, demonstrating the fundamental binary that exists.
Derek Prime, A Good Old Age – a nicely produced A-Z of following Jesus, focused on older folk but with lots of wisdom for readers of any age.
Helen Thorne and John Nicholls, 5 Things to Pray for Your City – a helpful little book to practically equip us to pray for the places we live.
David Leong, Race and Place – a profound book that draws links between issues of geography and ethnicity in a challenging way.
Peter Grier, Travel – an interesting book that is both a helpful Christian reflection on travelling, and a decent bit of spiritual writing.
Various, So Great a Salvation – a superb book about soteriology in the majority world, offering beautiful views on salvation. [R] Laurence Rees, The Holocaust – a sobering, monumental book. Popular history with serious lessons for today. [R] Chris Lane, Ordinary Miracles – a nicely written, self-deprecating book, which challenges perceptions and practice around church planting and leadership. [R] Marty Boller, The Wisdom of Wimber – an interesting book, interspersing key ‘Wimberisms’ with Boller’s reflections.
David Bennett, A War of Loves – a superb book, blending a personal story and profound theological reflection on issues of sexuality and desire. [R] Adrian Reynolds, Progress – a helpful little book on continuing to develop as a leader.
John Lennox, Have No Fear – a short book about evangelism and apologetics.
Jennifer Bute, Dementia from the Inside – a small book blending memoir and theology. [R] Sarah Perry, The Essex Serpent – an excellent novel.
Melvin Tinker, That Hideous Strength – a provocative and potentially prophetic piece of writing.

Read but not Reviewed

Fiction – 19

  • Dan Abnett, First and Only – think the Sharpe novels set in the future (in the Warhammer 40,000 universe) and you’ve got it. Good ripping yarn.
  • Davis Bunn, The Pilgrim – an interesting but not brilliant novel set in the 4th Century Holy Land.
  • David and Leigh Eddings, The Mallorean and The Belgariad, as well as Belgarath the Sorcerer and Polgara the Sorceress – 10 books fleshing out a fascinating fantasy world. I read The Belgariad in 2017, so revisited that reasonably quickly, before reading around it.
  • Dmitry Glukhovsky, Metro 2033 – a dark, brooding but interesting post-apocalyptic book, set in the Russian subway system.
  • Antonia Honeywell, The Ship – a good dystopian book, focusing on a girl born near the end of the world.
  • William King, Space WolfGrey HunterWolfblade – three novels about a Space Marine from the Warhammer 40,000 Universe. (I read this in 2017 too – good easy reading, in my opinion!)
  • Alex Preston, The Revelations – a boring and frankly disappointing novel loosely disguised as a conspiracy theory about the Alpha Course.
  • Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged – I trudged through this.

Theology/Christian – 23

  • Walter Brueggeman, The Land – a fantastic bit of Old Testament theology.
  • David Coffey, All One in Jesus Christ: A Passionate Appeal for Evangelical Unity – a great little book from an evangelical statesman, read as part of my prep for an SVS paper.
  • Richard M. Davidson, The Flame of Yahweh – a monumental and magesterial doorstop of a book, looking at sexuality in the Old Testament
  • Gordon Fee, Listening to the Spirit in the Text – a really helpful book, collecting a range of incisive essays.
  • Sinclair B. Ferguson, Love Came Down at Christmas – a great little advent book from The Good Book Company.
  • ed. Timothy George, Evangelicals and Nicene Faith – a great collection of essays by key evangelical theologians looking at how the Nicene Creed can be taught, practised and understood today.
  • Hans Gustafson, Finding all Things in God: Pansacramentalism and Doing Theology Interreligiously – an interesting book that I’m trying to write a review of for a journal.
  • Larry Hurtado, How On Earth did Jesus Become a God? – a fascinating overview of some key issues in the early Church.
  • Eric and Bill Johnson, Momentum: What God Starts Never Ends – a disappointing and frustrating book.
  • Stephen Kampowski, Embracing Our Finitude – a powerful and reflective book looking at what it means to be human in terms of gift and limitation.
  • John F. Kilner, Dignity and Destiny: Humanity in the Image of God – a gripping and eschatologically shaped look at what it means to be human.
  • Gerardo Marti, Worship Across the Racial Divide – an interesting, interview/evidence-based book that looks at how worship and multi-ethnicity in churches relate. Reviewing it for a journal.
  • Dale B. Martin, The Corinthian Body – finally got round to properly reading this classic.
  • Derek Morphew, Breakthrough – a modern Vineyard classic, looking at the Kingdom of God.
  • Henri Nouwen, A Spirituality of Living – always good to read Nouwen, this didn’t disappoint.
  • Ben Quash, Found Theology – a gripping book, weaving together history, theology and art/culture. Well worth reading.
  • Ian Randall, What a Friend We Have in Jesus – an academic introduction to evangelical spirituality.
  • Eugene F. Rogers, Sexuality and the Christian Body – an interesting liberal book on two interconnected and vital topics.
  • Andrew Rumsey, Parish: An Anglican Theology of Place – an interesting, if very Anglican, book, which fed helpfully into the reading I was doing around theology and place.
  • Howard Snyder, The Community of the King – a great evangelical ecclesiology.
  • John Wimber, Kingdom Suffering – a powerful and profound short book that I leant on for a recent talk.
  • Various, Simply Eat – an interesting concept book, blending food and faith in a nice hardback.
  • Alexander Ventner, Doing Church – a Vineyard classic on what church is and how it works.

Other – 6

  • Gordon Corrigan, The Second World War: A Military History – a gripping book, dealing with this complex bit of history with aplomb.
  • Ben Fogle, Land Rover and Labrador – two books packaged as one, focused on, you guessed it, the classic Land Rover Defender and Labradors.
  • Ben Judah, This is London – a powerful piece of journalism, looking at life in London through the eyes of a wide range of people.
  • Ian Kershaw, The End: Hitler’s Germany, 1944-45 – a sobering but important book which shed new light for me on this bit of history.
  • A. J. McKinnon, The Unlikely Voyage of Jack De Crow – a bonkers but brilliant little book about sailing a small dinghy across England and beyond.
  • Charles Stock, Sailing Just for Fun – a classic, idiosyncratic and wonderful book about sailing on the East Coast.


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