2021 was an interesting year for reading – I probably read over 200 books, if I include the manuscripts I’ve worked on in various capacities. However, I go by my goodreads tally, and this year kept a Twitter thread (click through if you want pictures of books!) that I logged most of my reading on. I used threadreaderapp to collate that, tweaked it, and that results in the blog post below. I’d intended to read 150 books and write 100 reviews in 2021 – but health, family and work all slightly got in the way of that (And some running goals!). I ended up writing 11, 9 on my blog and 2 for a magazine. However, I enjoyed my reading this year, and will probably do some highlights posts as and when I can find the time. There’s a sentence or two plus title and author below – I hope that my list can help you discover something new to read.
Firstly, though, a note on reading and why I read comparatively so much. I always have multiple books on the go – a devotional 365 book, another book being read devotional (often a commentary), a piece of fiction to relax, a ‘big book’ I want to read, and up to three ‘other things’. I read across platforms – sometimes reading a book both physically and digitally. I also work in publishing – and this is key – so I have to read some books as part of my job, and that also gives me access to books. For more about my thoughts on reading, try this blog post.
Anyway, on with the list…
Robert D. Ballard, The Lost Ships of Guadalcanal – an engaging and haunting book about a battle I’d not known anything about…
Andrew M. Mbuwi, Jude and 2 Peter – in the New Covenant Commentary Series, a really good commentary which I read devotionallly. I’m no NT scholar! I actually reviewed it on my blog.
James Eglinton, Bavinck: A Critical Biography – this was a masterclass in how a biography should be written, both introducing someone important and yet not being hagiographic. Well worth reading if you are thinking of engaging with Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics (it made sense of it, as I’d read it in 2020).
Andrew Le Peau, Write Better – an excellent book from IVP USA on writing. A great compliment to Karen Swallow Prior’s On Reading Well, and a book that I’m regularly giving/recommending to new and established authors. Probably something I’ll re-read bits of each year. I wrote a review of it for my blog.
Jeremy Riddle, The Reset – a diamond – a cracking, sobering and inspiring book on worship. Should be read by anyone involved in the worship of the Church. A passionate book with some standout moments. Slightly let down by editing (I think it was self-published). I reviewed it for Christianity Magazine.
Nick Kyme, Old Earth – The 47th book in the Horus Heresy Series. It’s like the Old Testament to the New Testament, sort of, in terms of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Brilliant sci fi, in a big universe, perfect brain junk food.
Adrian and Celia Reynolds, Closer – A very helpful and practical book about the mechanics, principles and practice of sex. In my view not quite perfect (4/5 for me on goodreads) but brave publishing from TGBC and solid writing from Celia and Adrian. You can read my review here.
Ed Shaw, Purposeful Sexuality – A brilliant little book on the purpose of sex from the ever-wise and winsome Ed Shaw. You can read my review here, and it’s the penultimate review of a ‘work book’ from me.
Joni Erickson Tada, When God Weeps – A profoundly moving book about suffering. An older book, but well worth reading if you’ve not come across it.
Beth Felker Jones, Practicing Christian Doctrine – An excellent book on doctrine and a possible contender for one of my books of the year (I get 21 in 2021 right?). Such a mind-sharpening, heart-singing book. Good on Baker Academic for publishing it, and you can read my review here.
Charles Octavius Boothe, Plain Theology for Plain People – An excellent short intro to basic Christian doctrine from a Baptist perspective. Some marvellous turns of phrase and notable for it’s history. Well worth checking out and a nice bit of publishing from Lexham Press.
Eds. Nick Kyme and Laurie Golding, Heralds of the Siege – An anthology of warhammer short stories. A mixed bag. Some filler. Some gold. Does the job of setting the scene for a big siege…
Willie James Jennings, After Whiteness – On one hand I loved this book. On the other I found it frustrating. Regardless, this book has certainly made me think. Very helpful when read through my lens of seeing Christian publishing as a vital component of theological education. Kudos to Eerdmans for publishing this bold and provocative book.
Paul Beasley-Murray, This is my Story – A very readable (if niche!) autobiography! Some really helpful reflections on ministry, working with people, and dealing with conflict. Some entertaining overlap with Jennings above re TE! Disclosure – Paul gave me a copy as we have worked on a book for IVP together, There is Hope: Preaching at Funerals.
Douglas Murray, The Strange Death of Europe – Well written, lots of stats, lots of provocation. Worth a read and a nice cover. Heartbreaking stories and head stretching ideas. Not for everyone (some will assume I’m racist for reading it) but worth a read
Jordan Seng, Miracle Work – A challenging, inspiring and easy to read book about ‘doing the stuff’. Lots to chew on, lots to put into practice, and a joy to read.
Various, Hope: Keswick Yearbook 2020 – One I expected to be neutral about but was deeply encouraged by. Some great contributions from Mike Reeves, Amy Orr-Ewing and Andy Prime, with a particular highlight for me on hope and grief from Jo Jackson of All Souls Langham Place.
Guy Haley, Wolfsbane – another Horus Heresy Novel completed last night – I liked this one for a bunch of reasons, mostly as I’m increasingly becoming a fan of the Space Wolves!
Jonny and Joanna Ivey, Silent Cries – another double-finish work book. A genuinely stunning read that made me cry the first time I read it. I wish we didn’t need this book but I’m so glad they wrote it. It’s about baby loss, but is excellent for thinking about Grief and God beyond that. I reviewed it on my blog.
Alistair J. Roberts and Andrew Wilson, Echoes of Exodus – Quite simply a brilliant piece of readable biblical theology. Get this book. An early contender for a top slot in my 2021 reading. Also made me excited again about a God’s Treasured Possession by Terry Virgo…
Paul Morland, The Human Tide – A book that didn’t quite live up to the GORGEOUS cover. Readable overview of demographic trends and excellent quirky facts. Annoyingly social liberal but, as I say, fascinating. Good further reading from ‘Strange Death of Europe’. Takeaway? Having children is good. Death is ok.
Mark Meynell, Cross Examined – a new edition of an established modern classic. Two excellent new chapters on leadership and union with Christ, and a serious refresh inside and out. Excellent excellent excellent. The kind of book that makes me extra proud to work for IVP!
Bob Burns, Tasha D. Chapman and Donald C. Guthrie, The Politics of Ministry – A slightly mixed book. ‘Some gold. Some mediocrity. Some confusion. Not quite sure what I think of it. Which is strange.
Guy Haley, Titandeath – Another Warhammer 40,000 novel (Horus Heresy) – lots of big robots. Great escapism.
Stanley Hauerwas, Hannah’s Child – I THINK classic Hauerwas; an infuriating, moving and thought provoking book. Underwhelmed, to put it mildly, by his apologia for Yoder. Grateful for his honesty and clarity. Moving account of aspects of his life I knew nothing about. Very very readable.
Anne Richards, Children in the Bible – A very interesting book. Lots of good stuff, and some fresh perspective on familiar passages. Some slightly over-egged/unsubstantiated points but a very useful resource.
Scott W. Hahn, Romans (Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture) – Finished this devotionally. Mostly helpful, some wierd bits which bluntly owe more to Roman Catholic dogma/trad than exegesis, but a solid commentary. Interesting series from Baker – similar level to the Tyndale New Testament Commentaries from IVP.
Sam Allberry, 7 Myths about Singleness – A really good short read from an author I really respect, on a topic that there isn’t enough out about on. You can read my review here.
Dan Abnett, First and Only and Ghostmaker – Great swashbuckling mind-marshmallows, basically a blend of Warhamer 40,000, the Sharpe Novels, and other improbable things.
Laurie and Matt Kreig, An Impossible Marriage – A moving, practical and helpful book. The Kreigs have a mixed orientation marriage, and this book explores and explains what that means, in a readable and wonderful way.
Eds. Joel B. Green and Lee Martin McDonald, The World of the New Testament – 600 pages from Baker Academic that made me want to be a New Testament scholar/person. This is a book that makes books make sense – a brilliant compendium of info and suggestions for further reading. Contender for a top spot.
John Stott, The Letters of John (TNTC) – First Stott finish of the centenary year. Solid commentary that makes a perfect devotional. The Johannine epistles, with their blend of truth and love, and a community where that is embodied and under threat, seem timely.
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings – This afternoon I finished Lord of the Rings. Again. First time in a single vol. edn. First time since a friend died. First time as a father. It is SUCH A GOOD STORY And the Alan Lee illustrations are beautiful.
Karl Barth, Prayer and Preaching – This is probably the richest short* book I read this year. So many nuggets, and much more to agree with than I expected. Superb little book. *by short I mean <than 140 pages. It’s an arbitrary number.
Ed. Israel Oluwole Olofinjana, African Voices – A very helpful edited collection. Goodreads review attached (As I wanted to say more than I could fit on Twitter!).
Dan Abnett, Guns of Tanith – An important part of the mythos but weaker in my view.
Dan Abnett, Straight Silver – classic trench warfare with a sci-fi twist, a rip roaring ride.
Richard Shumack, Jesus through Muslim Eyes – A helpful resource for showing Islamic views of Jesus. One for the reference shelf, but readable and straightforward.
Ed. Tim Hughes and Nick Drake, Why Worship? – 2021’s Spring Harvest theme book, a slightly mixed bag but mostly a helpful apologia for contemporary worship, rooted in the Bible.
Dan Abnett, Sabbat Martyr – One of the most religious books in a very religious universe. Great yarn than ends too abruptly.
Alex Ryrie, Protestants: The Radicals Who Made the Modern World – A treat to read and sad to finish it. Lots learnt, lots to disagree with, and a surprising number of laughs. A superb book that has restored my joy in books. Will read more Ryrie!
Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed – This is probably another book of the year level book. Absolutely brilliant. Might be a re-read every year sort of book. I read it a chapter a day as part of my quiet time – devotionally and theologically rich.
Friedrich Schleiermacher, The Christian Faith – This has been a slog. It probably wasn’t worth it. Weird edition that is basically a facsimile of an older print. At least the big book slot is freed up! // note to readers – I read the T&T Clark ‘cornerstones’ edition, and the ‘big book slot’ is a reference to trying to work through at least one major/substantial/long book at any given time.
Dan Abnett, Blood Pact – Creepy Gaunts Ghosts novel.
John Webster, The Culture of Theology – A gem. Chapter on criticism is GOLD. Also superb on formation of a theologian.
Dan Abnett, The Eisenhorn Trilogy – Brilliant escapism in the 40k universe.
Various, The Beast Arises – A 12 book series from Warhammer, some good entries, but nothing to write home about.
The Cross – a Keswick 30 day undated devotional from IVP, helpful for focusing on Jesus and his work at Calvary.
Ian Paul, Revelation (Gateway 7) – I had the dubious pleasure (it was great) of editing the short text of this Bible study guide in LICC’s helpful Gateway Seven series. Distilling his TNTC, this is a gem.
Dan Abnett, Ravenor: The Omnibus – Another compilation of stories about a different agent, like Eisenhorn, from a good 40k writer.
Sandy Mitchell, The Ciaphas Cain Series – slightly hard going at some points, but good escapism and new to me.
John Stott with Andrew Le Peau, Reading Ephesians with John Stott – A lovely little devotional read.
Dan Abnett, Salvations Reach – An enjoyable space-borne romp with Gaunt’s Ghosts.
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fall of Gondolin. Fiction not quite highlight it was good to finally get round to reading the Fall of Gondolin – in what is basically a critical edition!
Sarah Coakley, God, Sexuality, and the Self – This was a fantastic book to read – readable and entertaining, rich and thought provoking. But imperfect IMO. I felt Coakley needed to make more of embodiment – and this was echoed in her scriptural index: minimal OT and selective NT. One to return to if I ever start that PhD tho
Matthew Harmon, Asking the Right Questions – A really good short book from Matthew Harmon and published by Crossway – an excellent and accessible little primer on what the Bible is and how to read it. Potentially a great tool for discipling folk who (like me) love Jesus, and want to inhabit the Bible, but have questions.
John Valentine, Follow Me – An absolute GEM by John Valentine, read in my morning quiet times. Beautiful book. Bubbling with biblical joy. Published by IVP back in 2009 – and timelessly good. 5/5 and easily in top 5 of 2021 so far (66 read so far).
Alan Krieder, The Patient Ferment of the Early Church – Excellent book. Slightly too long though – and final (v important) chapters felt rushed. Wanted more conclusion. But definitely a gift from Baker Academic to the church – better than a pantheon of ‘options’.
Keith E. Johnson, Rethinking the Trinity and Religious Pluralism – This is an excellent book in a good series from IVP Academic (USA). Great Trinitarian theology that doesn’t pull punches. Somewhat surprised to see no ref to the work of Dan Strange (notably Their Rock is Not as Our Rock) – him and Keith should connect!
Tom Holland, Dominion – I really liked ‘shadow of the sword’ and ‘millennium’ so had high hopes for Dominion. It i a great book. BUT it is too long, and occasionally suffers from Dawkins-style interdisciplinary fudge. Great fun, mostly, and closing anecdote is beautiful. 4/5
Rachel Joy Welcher, Talking Back to Purity Culture – This is excellent, imperfect but beautifully written, hopeful and I think biblical. A great book from IVP USA (and focused on a majority American phenomenon) that deserves a wide UK readership too.
Keith Ferdinando, The Message of Spiritual Warfare (BST Themes) – A really careful and nuanced look at a contentious topic. Balanced and biblical. Would save hours of student arguments! Also I am a sucker for the old IVP + BST logos.
Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines – A profound and almost prophetic book. Not perfect but very close.
Eds. Love L. Sechrest, Johnny Ramirez-Johnson and Amos Yong, Can ‘White’ People be Saved? – A helpfully unsettling mixed bag of a book that deserves a wide readership. Jennings, Draper and Trans chapters in my view justify a buy – and lots of other helpful stuff. Important publishing from IVP USA in their niche but valuable ‘Missiological Engagements’ series.
Don Carson, The Cross and Christian Ministry – An excellent little book and painfully relevant to some of the Emmanuel Church Wimbledon/Jonthan Fletcher stuff (and indeed other christian leadership abuse cases). A modern classic from IVP.
Jey J. Kanagaraj, John (NCCS) – Still very much liking this commentary series. Volume on John good but not brilliant – too short and some wierd unexplained comments. Will definitely keep, some great application and lots of good lines. 4/5
Timothy Beardson, Stumbling Giant: The Threats to China’s Future – A long read but fascinating. Possibly out of date now but v useful for filling in some of my knowledge chasms. Will eventually get round to SPCK’s China Chronicles – with the advantage I now know something about the places/provinces/people!
Sarah Ockwell-Smith, The Second Baby Book – A very readable book. Lots of good stuff but next to nothing on the fathers role. Anyone read anything good about being a dad and having another baby?
Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism – This book is fascinating. Provocative and readable whilst teaching me some things I did not expect. On reflection the cover is genius. Sobering read for my more leftward friends – some of whom I’d love to discuss it with irl.
Peter Brown, The Body and Society – It’s a classic I’ve dipped into before – so it was interesting to read it as a whole. I’m not sure there’s the diversity some claim – definitely not on the ‘question of our times’ – but this is a worthwhile read, esp for knowing the primary sources. Intro v. helpful. 4/5
Daniel J. Price, Karl Barth’s Anthropology in Light of Modern Thought – An interesting read that does a lot of what I’d want to do in a PhD, but on Barth rather than Thiselton. The chapter I thought would be least interesting was actually almost the most interesting. But ended as a book too abruptly. 4/5
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of the Holy – This was a brilliant devotional read. The prayers at end of chapter particularly helpful when seeking to articulate in prayer some of the meat in the chapter.
Grant Macaskill, Living in Union With Christ – A Gift. Wonderful writing on a vital topic. obust and worship-feeding writing on Union With Christ. Nice little Baker hardback – good for both heart and mind!
Patrick Schreiner, The Kingdom of God – A good short intro, somewhat lacking, in a Biblical Theology series I’ve not explored before.
A. T. B. McGowan, Adam, Christ and Covenant – a little older (2016) but an unexpected highlight. McGowan masterfully explains and expands covenant theology, in an overlooked Apollos title.
Sheila Wray Gregoire, The Great Sex Rescue – A fun book that almost lived up to it’s (excellent) marketing. Well worth reading for those, like me, embedded in Christian culture(s).
Musa Okwonga, One of Them – One of my books of the year. A black man shares his story of going to Eton, one of the most prestigious institutions on the planet. Fascinating, sobering and essential reading.
Terry Virgo, God’s Treasured Possession – Editing this was a work highlight, and I like this book. A straightforward journey with Moses. Read a bit more about it here.
Joseph Boot, The Mission of God – A real disappointment. I started to review it multiple times but cannot pull the trigger. Avoid it. Read Chris Wright’s instead.
Bobby Jamiesion, The Paradox of Sonship – An excellent higher level Apollos title looking at Christology in the letter to the Hebrews. Definitely worth a read if preaching Hebrews or thinking about New Testament Christology.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Creation and Fall – A fascinating and thought-provoking look at Genesis 1-3. Something I plan to revisit for a paper, and possibly if I do a PhD.
James R. Edwards, Between the Swastika and the Sickle – A strange book about Ernst Lohmeyer, whom I’d never heard of. But a book I thoroughly enjoyed – combining mystery, biography, travel writing, and New Testament scholarship.
Edited by Stephen Kneale, The Pastor with a thorn in his side – a moving but incomplete book of testimony on mental health issues amongst pastors. I’d recommend Mark Meynell’s When Darkness Seems My Closest Friend for a next step.
Max Hastings, The Battle for the Falklands – A well put together history of this rather unique modern war.
Eds, various, When Did We See You Naked? – Probably the worst book I read this year. Like with Boot’s, I couldn’t bring myself to review it. See Natalie Williams blog for some of the reasons.
Michael Lefebvre, The Liturgy of Creation – A surprise! This is a book about calendars in the Old Testament – and it is brilliant. It doesn’t sound like it should be gripping, but it is, and it is a wonderful way to look afresh at texts that you might think you know. Recommended.
Peter J. Williams, Can We Trust the Gospels? – A good primer, ideal to give as a gift to a curious friend. A ronseal title that does what it says on the tin.
Richard Phillips, The God of Creation – an underwhelming look at Genesis 1 from a creationist perspective that regularly fails to represent those with whom it disagrees.
John Dickson, Bullies and Saints – Essential for those in apologetics-y spaces, history spaces, and just a really readable and fascinating book. Personally didn’t get the cover but otherwise great publishing from Zondervan.
Thia Cooper, Queer and Indecent – It’s an excellent intro to a controversial thinker. My one criticism would be that Cooper doesn’t really critically engage with Marcella Althaus Reid, seeming more to just unpack and explain. But, as I say, a solid and workmanlike intro from SCM Press.
Paul Tripp, Lead – This is a very readable book. Read in almost one sitting. It’s probably the best American church leadership book I’ve read. Some theological oddities and an assumption of churches having staff and buildings make it not quite 5/5. Lovely design, which made it a pleasure to read.
Frank Browning, The Fate of Gender – This is a readable and fascinating book. Published before things got super toxic online. Well worth getting a copy for references and some stories. Nicely written.
Martin Salter, So Loved – A new evangelistic book from IVP. A readable and straightforward walkthrough John 3:16 that you could give to anyone who can read.
Ally Gordon, Why Art Matters – Gallingly (I didn’t review it) this is a work book but it’s brilliant. So helpful. Probably on my Top Ten for the year. Wonderful weaving of wise words and simple but beautiful art.
Eric Ortlund, Piercing Leviathan – A wonderful entry in the NSBT series from the only UK-based Ortlund. A very, very good look at evil and God’s speech in Job. Recommended for preachers and ponderers.
Lauren Windle, Notes on Love – The most enjoyable book I wouldn’t recommend that I read this year. Some big flaws, some great questions, and lots of laugh out loud moments.
Kenneth Berding, How to Live an ‘In Christ’ Life – A devotional finish. A lovely 100 days from Christian Focus Publishing – spiritual espresso shots. I actually managed to review this book.
Chris Green, The Gift – Another work book. It was a joy to work with Chris Green editorially on this for IVP – I think it threads the needle between secular and Christian leadership books in a humble and useful way.
Helen Collins, Reordering Theological Reflection – Finished one evening with a whisky + a smile. An absolute cracker from Helen Collins of Trinity Bristol, published by SCM Press. Possible book of the year. Definitely top 10. Healing, helpful, hopeful and human. I’ll have to review (Reader, I didn’t) and if you care about theology and perhaps in particular about theological education/ministerial formation you should read it.
Sinclair B. Ferguson, In The Year of Our Lord – An idiosyncratic but rather brilliant introduction to church history from the legendary Sinclair Ferguson. Good for reminding us of the faith of those before us – a helpful companion to ‘Bullies and Saints’. Come for the wit, stay for the hymns from each century.
Francis A. Schaeffer and Everett D. Koop, Whatever Happened to the Human Race? – A finish of a book I’ve enjoyed before but still feels fresh. Shame about the TINY typeface. If you haven’t read it you should.
Carmen Joy Imes, Bearing God’s Name – This is a cracker. The author and IVP USA have given the church a gift in this book. Initially I thought it was too chatty – I was wrong because this is a sublime example of integrated and relational scholarship. Probably top 20 possibly top 10 of the year for me.
Carl Trueman, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self – An odd book. On the one hand it thinks (and other people agree) it is magisterial, on the other IT HAS NO BIBLIOGRAPHY, and feels unfinished. I’m not sure who it’s for! A great bit of history slightly marred by interjection – now I want to see clarifications and application.
Christopher Ash, Job (Preaching the Word) – Finished Ash’s Job in the Crossway PTW series. Mostly a pleasure. Some wonderful nuggets. Not sure about the format. Perhaps would have been more valuable if I was preaching it than reading devotionally?
Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel and Jurgen Moltmann, Humanity in God – Extraordinarily underwhelming older book. Uneven. Some nuggets but mostly disappointing.
John French, The Solar War – The much anticipated first entry in the siege of Terra series. It was good but not great. Some beautiful writing and links though. Definitely one to revisit/for the fans.
Andrew Graystone, Bleeding for Jesus – Finished in one sitting. Will have to reread slowly for a review, likely in 2022. Essential writing from the author and brave of DLT to publish. Imperfect.
Eds. Graham Tomlin and Nathan Eddy, The Bond of Peace – A fascinating book. Simultaneously attracted to and put off ‘generous orthodoxy’ as a result. Some excellent stuff – Jane Williams and James K. A. Smith for things to agree with, Lincoln Harvey to make me think – and some ‘fine’. Well worth a read.
Craig Keener, Galatians – First Galatians commentary I’ve read cover to cover and it’s excellent (got and used ~12, dipped into at least as many more). Very readable despite its size. Note that of the 848 pages, the comm ends on p589. Lots of index + bibliography. Great job Baker Academic – good to see a standalone commentary!
Kathleen Stock, Material Girls – A tour de force, and an excellent and thought-provoking book. Well written and calm. Bravo Kathleen Stock. If you think you’d hate it, you should probably read it.
Gav Thorpe, The First Wall – Been wading through the Siege of Terra and this has been the best so far. Great balance of epic and human, action and world exploring.
Leonardo De Chirico, Same Words, Different Worlds – Also finished (again, checking the proofs) reading my first Apollos title as editor. Expecting it to make a provocative splash!
Robert Alter, Genesis – A beautiful rendering/translation of Genesis that makes more sense of some things and doesn’t work so well for other things. Some really helpful commentary – but left me wanting more! So nice to read a Bible book like a book – bracketed by blessing, is one thing I noticed afresh.
Alexander Irving, We Believe – Come for the theological retrieval, stay for the working dogmatic comments ft. a robust engagement with Sonderegger. Great higher-level stuff in the Apollos imprint from IVP – deserves wide readership.
David Baddiel, Jews Don’t Count – A superb stream of consciousness-which-packs-a-serious-punch. Sobering and timely. Relevant to both secular and Christian cultural spheres – the latter perhaps needing this book in some cases very particularly.
David G. Peterson, Hebrews (TNTC) – A great devotional finish this morning from IVP – a calm and practical guide to Hebrews, a great book for these puzzling times.
Harvey Kiwyani, Multicultural Kingdom – A brilliant book from an exciting theologian – helpful, biblical, and challenging. For those of us thinking through what it means to seek ethnic diversity in church and mission this is a helpful tool. Bravo to SCM Press for publishing this excellent book. I’m hoping to see more from Harvey!
John M. Perkins, Count it All Joy – This is a beautiful, readable, simple and biblical little book on suffering. A pleasure to review for Premier Christianity Magazine – thanks to Moody for getting it out there. I will read more Perkins.
Gerald Bray, The History of Christianity in Britain and Ireland – It probably is actually magisterial. It’s definitely big. Yet it’s also wonderfully idiosyncratic, surprisingly readable, and marvellously thorough. 628 pages of history – which felt like 300 – and 30 pages of bibliography. A gem from Apollos.
Ayman S. Ibrahim, A Concise Guide to the Quran – Finished yesterday – a helpful resource from Baker Academic. A great intro to and conversation starter on the Quran. Pairs well with ‘Do Muslims and Christians worship the Same God’ by Andy Bannister imo.
Courtney Reissig, Teach Me To Feel – A solid devotional. 4/5 – it seems to be written for/aimed at women but I think it (and obvs the Psalms) are for everyone. Nice format and devotion length, recommended from The Good Book Company.
Sandra L. Richter, Stewards of Eden – Absolutely superb shorter book from IVP Academic – showing clearly what the Bible invites Gods people to do vis a vis the created environment. 5/5.
Rachel Gardner, The Sex Thing – A superbly readable conversation starter. It is gracious in a way that challenges me but also truthful in a way that encourages me. A really excellent book for leaders and parents to read and discuss. Can’t wait to hear other views and keeping an eye out for reviews.
Tchavdar S. Hadjiev, Joel and Amos – In 2021 I’ve found the TN/OTC series to be excellent devotional reading in small chunks. Joel is 🔥 and Amos is 🔥 🔥 🔥 for our present church and cultural moment(s). Another great collab from IVP and IVP USA (the former of whom I work for).
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter Books 1-7 – (After about ten years I reread the harry potter books this month [November]. Great fun but seven needed a firm edit. Too long)
Rachel Newham, And Yet – Finished between a Harry Potter and a migraine – beautiful cover and one of the best first chapters I’ve read in a while. If you’ve not read Rachel before, read this and then Learning to Breathe. A beautiful book.
John Mark Comer, Live No Lies – I enjoyed this slightly more than I expected and slightly less than I hoped. One commendation I can give is that there is little new and much true in this book. Fun to read and brilliantly aware – but not quite perfect. 4/5 and I’m looking forward to the next one.
Sara Schumacher, Reimagining the Spiritual Disciplines for a Digital Age – Enjoyed this. Helpful intro and orientation, practical stuff for pandemic times.
John W. Kleinig, Wonderfully Made – A brilliant but imperfect gem from Lexham Press. Some diamonds, some infuriating quirks. A beautifully produced book too. One I’ll revisit.
Christopher R. J. Holmes, A Theology of the Christian Life – Read in one sitting. Beautiful writing. Almost excellent but I have embodiment/incarnation concerns and wonder if it’s a bit over-intellectualised (as in over-leaning to the life of the mind to the exclusion of many. However it’s beautifully theological and thoroughly readable.
R. W. H. Miller, Dr Ashley’s Pleasure Yacht – This was a quirky delight and an enjoyable read – combining mission and the sea. Recommended if you want to read some very British history!
Eckhard J. Schnabel, Mark (TNTC) – Read and enjoyed this devotionally. Reading Mark in the run up to Christmas has been particularly impactful. Would recommend. A strong TNTC from IVP by the series editor.
Kelly M. Kapic, Embodied Hope – This was superb, very possibly and probably my Book Of The Year 2021. Kelly M. Kapic and IVP USA have provided a gift with this. It’s not perfect but it’s very close – beautifully written, theologically dense and pastorally connected. Spoke to both my mind and my pain. Brilliant.
Paul Tripp, New Morning Mercies – The final finish of the year – a book that’s been a brilliant daily devotional companion and spot on in a very strange year. Recommended. And a lovely Crossway leather edition which felt good in hand!
Congratulations if you’ve read to the bottom of this list – it’s around 5000 words, and I’m intending to do a few other posts on 2021’s reading throughout January 2022… If you are a real sucker for punishment/interested in more of my opinions about books, then you can read my 2020 long list here…