2019’s Reading in Review

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2019'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) If you were looking for my Top Ten books of 2019, you can find them here.

Read and Reviewed – in order from Jan-Dec (73)

John Blanchard, Does Life Have Any Meaning? – a short, clear apologetics book.
David Roberston, Magnificent Obsession – a powerful, beautiful and robust book about Jesus, for both sceptics and the faithful.
John Benton, Resilient – a helpful reflection on 2 Timothy for Christian leaders.
R. C. Sproul, Who is the Holy Spirit? – a helpful little book on this vital question from a key recent Reformed pastor/theologian.
Peter Sanlon, The Bible Theft – a provocative but useful book on false teaching in the church today.
Jon Brown, MORE: Real – an actually good book on authenticity, doubt, and navigating life today.
Don Carson, Prophetic from the Center – a robust little book, pointing us back to the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15.
Muthuraj Swamy, Reconciliation – the Archbishop of Canterbury’s 2019 Lent book was disappointing, in my view.
Various, Simply Eat – this is a beautiful cookbook, that could be a catalyst for evangelism and hospitality.
William Philip, Songs for a Saviour’s Birth – a lovely little advent book from IVP.
Sinclair Ferguson, Love Came Down at Christmas – a beautiful, richly theological advent book from The Good Book Company.
VCUKI, The Cause to Live For – a collection of lightly edited and helpful talks for young adults, a great book.
Daniel M. Doriani, Work – a brilliant new book on work, looking theologically, biblically and practically at this vital subject.
Neil Babcox, My Search for Charismatic Reality – a provocative and personal older book, which charismatics should consider reading.
Paul Mallard, Invest your disappointments – a beautiful book delving deep into disappointment. Early contender for my book of the year.
Alistair Begg, Pray Big – a helpful, short book on praying like Paul.
Putty Putman, Live Like Jesus – in my view, a disappointing book with some potential for genuine harm.
Catherine Campbell, Broken Works Best – a beautiful book about suffering and how it can help Christians grow.
Kurt Thompson, The Soul of Shame – a profound and vital book on shame – everyone should read it!
Elizabeth Gerhardt, The Cross and Gendercide – a brilliant bit of practical theology, linking the cross to an injustice and a call to action.
Tim Chester, You Can Change – an older but very helpful book on holiness.
Serhii Polakii, Chernobyl – a superbly written and educational book on the Chernobyl disaster and it’s repercussions.
Steven Burnhope, Atonement and the New Perspective – a provocative and fresh scholarly book bringing two vital conversations together.
Andy Frost, Long Story Short – a helpful, incisive little book for navigating stories in apologetics and discipleship.
Kyle Snodgrass, Who God Says You Are – probably my book of the year. A brilliant exposition of identity.
Steve Chalke, The Lost Message of Paul – a very disappointing book on Paul that does literally nothing useful.
Lawrence and Diana Osborn, God’s Diverse People – a short and readable book (from the 90’s) bringing Myers Briggs into Christian conversation.
Henri Nouwen, Turn My Mourning into Dancing – a powerful and beautiful book about suffering with Jesus.
John Stott, The Disciple – one of five helpful short books distilled from The Contemporary Christian for a new age.
John Stott, The Gospel – another of five helpful short books distilled from The Contemporary Christian for a new age.
Sam Storms, Convergence – a brilliant book that helped me articulate my own Charismatic and Reformed spirituality/theology better.
Julian Hardyman, Fresh Pathways in Prayer – a helpful, readable and short book on prayer. Recommended.
John Stott, The World – another of five helpful short books distilled from The Contemporary Christian for a new age.
Nick Groom, The Union Jack – a genuinely fascinating history of a flag, explaining UK history and politics in a fresh way.
John Stott, The Church – another of five helpful short books distilled from The Contemporary Christian for a new age.
John Stott, The Bible – another of five helpful short books distilled from The Contemporary Christian for a new age.
Justin Humphreys and Lisa Oakley, Escaping the Maze of Spiritual Abuse – a superb start to a vital conversation.
Michael Bird, Evangelical Theology – a brilliant, readable and beautiful systematic theology. Recommended!
Matthew Bates, Salvation by Allegiance Alone – an absolutely superb book that makes much of the creed ‘Jesus is Lord!’.
Matt Croasmun, Let Me Ask You a Question... – a great little book about Jesus, perfect for individual or group study.
Richard Rohr, What Do We Do With the Bible? – a disappointing little book. Read John Stott’s instead.
John Stevens, Knowing Our Times – a thoughtful little book inviting us to think about England as a mission field.
Rose George, Ninety Percent of Everything – fascinating book about shipping and humanity. Read it!
Charlie Cleverly, Epiphanies of the Ordinary – a beautiful book that helps us see Jesus more, and live for him.
Alan Scott, Scattered Servants – a brilliant book about how the church can be all it should be.
Kristi Mair, MORE: Truth – this is the book you need to read when thinking about ‘truth’.
Alexander Venter, Doing Spirituality – this is a brilliant introduction to the theology, practice and history of Christian spirituality.
Melvin Tinker, Veiled in Flesh – this is a solid new book about the Incarnation, that explores and explains who Jesus is.
Mike Turrigano and Luke Geraty, I’m No Superman – a really helpful, short and readable about ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit.
various, The Christian Doctrine of Humanity – a vital collection of essays on theological anthropology. A great introduction.
Mark Crosby, So Everyone Can Hear – a unique and excellent book, providing practical ideas for churches to communicate.
R. W. L. Moberly, The Bible in a Disenchanted Age – a superb book looking at why the Bible is still trustworthy in this strange age.
Simon Cozens, Looking Shame in the Eye – a really helpful book on shame, think Brene Brown with more bible.
James K. A. Smith, On The Road with Saint Augustine – a surprisingly excellent book, introducing Augustine to modern readers practically.
Ashley Cocksworth, Prayer: A Guide for the Perplexed – a genuinely unique book on prayer, both theological and personal.
Matt Adcock’s Complete Darkness – an evilly brilliant dark sci-fi. The first of a series I’m excited about!
David Bentley-Hart, That All Shall Be Saved – a very disappointing book about universalism.
Tim Farron, A Better Ambition – an enjoyable and thought-provoking read for anyone interested in the interplay between faith and politics.
James Bryan Smith, Hidden in Christ – a powerful and bible-infused devotional that I would recommend.
John Smith, 74 Days – a gripping account of the Falklands War from the perspective of an islander.
Tom Camacho, Mining for Gold – a fascinating and unique book, giving a Christian slant on the popular practice of coaching.
Karen Swallow Prior, On Reading Well – this book was a joy to read and is one of the most beautiful things I’ve read this year.
David F. Wells, God in the Whirlwind – a superb book, under-known, about God. Vital reading in our contemporary culture.
David Firth, Including the Stranger – a very timely, genuinely prophetic book about God’s heart for ethnic diversity.
Emma Ineson, Ambition: What Jesus Said About Power, Success, and Counting Stuff – a great new book on leadership.
Jeremy Marshall’s Beyond the Big C – a short, punchy book about living with cancer.
Steven J. Duby, Divine Simplicity: A Dogmatic Account – a technical academic book that makes a compelling argument.
N. T. Wright, History and Eschatology: Jesus and the Future of Natural Theology – a blockbuster from Wright, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Jason Roach, Swipe Up – a great little book on sexuality and identity.
Mez McConnell, The Creaking on the Stairs – a genuinely brilliant book about child abuse, and how Christians can respond.
Graham Tomlin, Looking Beyond Brexit – a really helpful little book that would be a great conversation starter.
Noel Fitzpatrick, Listening to the Animals – a readable and entertaining biography by The Supervet!
Fleming Rutledge, Advent – a profound and moving collection of Advent sermons. Recommended!

Read But Not Reviewed

Theology/Christian (27)

  • W. Ian P. Hazlett, The Reformation in Britain and Ireland – a technical but fairly readable history of this movement.
  • Craig Keener, The Mind of Christ – a superb book looking at a key biblical theme.
  • Alice Fryling, Mirror for the Soul – a really helpful book looking at how Christians can use the Enneagram.
  • Christopher Wright, Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit – an excellent look at what it means to live a Spirit-filled life.
  • Debra Hirsch, Redeeming Sex – a fun and fresh Christian look at sexuality and spirituality.
  • Fred Sanders, The Triune God – a superb book offering an orthodox and intelligent doctrine of the Trinity. Technical.
  • Bill Johnson, Releasing the Spirit of Prophecy – a disappointing and rambling book.
  • Tim Chester, The Beauty of the Cross – a good Lent book based on Isaiah 52 and 53.
  • Jared Patrick Boyd, Invitations and Commitments – a rule of life written by a friend who embodies Jesus. Recommended.
  • Brian Seagraves, Gender: A Conversation Guide for Parents and Pastors – a really helpful practical tool.
  • Richard Rohr, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life – I try reading this every other year to see if I ‘get it’ yet. Still nope.
  • Tim Keller, The Prodigal God – an encouraging shorter classic. Good to give to people.
  • Keith L. Johnson, Theology as Discipleship – a brilliant book that I’m going to re-read in 2020.
  • ed. Tom Greggs, New Perspectives for Evangelical Theology – a great collection of essays.
  • Hans Gustafson, Finding All Things in God – a strange book that I found quite mixed. Reviewing for a journal.
  • Barry D. Smith, The Meaning of Jesus’ Death – a helpful technical study of the atonement in the New Testament.
  • Alice Fryling, Mirror for the Soul – a useful Christian introduction to the Enneagram.
  • Alan Mann, Atonement for a ‘Sinless’ Society – a disappointing book about the atonement and culture.
  • Max Turner, Power from On High – a long, technical but fascinating book on the Spirit in Luke-Acts. Read as a friend does his PhD in this space.
  • Martin Saunders, The Man You’re Made to Be – a great book, aimed at youth but recommended for all men.
  • Gerardo Marti, Worship Across the Racial Divide – an interesting sociological study, read and reviewed for a journal.
  • Matt Chandler, The Mingling of Souls – a solid Christian book on marriage.
  • Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Reconstructing the Gospel – a powerful, moving and profound book on the way that slavery has affected American Christianity.
  • John Piper, Taste and See – a great devotional that I enjoyed – even if some entries were a bit idiosyncratic!
  • Vaughan Roberts, The Porn Problem – a helpful short book on a very big problem.
  • Nick Baines, Freedom is Coming – a helpful short advent book from SPCK, looking at Isaiah.
  • Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day – a brilliant 40-day journey with the Daily Office. Very very helpful.

Other (9)

  • Ricky Gervais, More Flanimals – a nonsense but fun book of made up animals.
  • Kate Tristam, The Story of Holy Island – a really readable history of Lindisfarne. Recommended if you are interested.
  • Jason Hazeley, The Story of Brexit – one of the amusing new ladybird books for adults.
  • Ian Kershaw, To Hell and Back: Europe 1914-1949 – a brilliant overview of this tumultuous period of history.
  • Paul Heiney, Maritime Britain – a brilliantly readable look at aspects of Britain’s amazing nautical history.
  • Gary Larson, The PreHistory of the Far Side – a pant-wittingly funny book about a zany cartoon.
  • Ian Hazlett, The Reformation in Britain and Ireland – a reasonably readable and in-depth introduction to this important historical period.
  • Richard Dannatt, Boots on the Ground – a lengthy but fascinating history of Britain from/through the lens of the Army since 1945.
  • Stephen Clarke, 1000 Years of Annoying the French – a hilarious way of looking at recent British history. A recommended re-read!

Fiction (35)

  • Margaret Attwood, The Handmaid’s Tale – finally read this classic, which I enjoyed insofar as one does. Followed it with The Testaments, which I actually really liked.
  • Malorie Blackman, Noughts & Crosses – another classic I was late to. Gripped, but currently struggling to ‘get’ the sequel.
  • Dan Abnett, Horus Rising – the first book in the Horus Heresy series, a grand space opera setting the scene for the Warhammer 40,000 Universe. Also, The Dark King and the Lightning Tower, a Horus Heresy short story. The Unremembered Empire – 27th Horus Heresy novel. I also read the 12 Gaunt’s Ghost’s novels, which are like Cornwell’s Sharpe novels, but in space; and his Eisenhorn trilogy, which is good fun if quite dark.
  • Ben Counter, Galaxy in Flames – the second book in the Horus Heresy series, a fine story.
  • William Golding, Lord of the Flies – more than 12 years since I read it at school, I revisited this classic. Holds up well!
  • William King, Ragnar’s Claw, Wolfblade,  – a pair of Space Wolf stories.
  • Graham McNeill, False Gods – the third Horus Heresy novel, one of my favourites.
  • James Swallow, The Flight of the Eisenstein – the fourth Horus Heresy novel, and probably my favourite.
  • Graham McNeill, Mechanicum – the 9th Horus Heresy novel, some of the best action. Also the Iron Warriors Omnibus.
  • Ken Jack, United States of Europe – a hilariously so bad it’s good tale of what could happen with the EU and the UK…
  • Ben Counter, Battle for the Abyss (the 8th Horus Heresy Novel, basically awesome giant spaceships), also his Grey Knights trilogy.
  • L. J. Goulding, Mark of Calth – the 25th Horus Heresy novel, quite cleverly written and dovetailing stories.
  • Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Angron – an antihero and general, this book is complex but worth reading. Betrayer, the 24th Horus Heresy Novel and a related part of the narrative.
  • Guy Haley, Dark Imperium – the first book of a new Warhammer 40,000 story arc.
  • John French, Praetorian of Dorn – an interesting Horus Heresy Novel involving the Imperial Fists.

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