For all the hard things that happened in 2020, one of the best (for me) was that I was able to read more books last year than I read in many years. My pace is slower this year, but I’ve still read about 55 books, so far. Here are some of the ones I have most enjoyed, in a variety of categories:
Secular non-fiction (typically, history and biography):
- The Body: A Guide for Occupants, Bill Bryson. The author is an evolutionist, yet his explanation of the human body and its various systems declares the glory of God as sovereign Creator. Ignore the evolutionary ideology and delight in the wonder of God’s work of creation. This was one of my favorite books this year.
- The Wit and Wisdom of Yogi Berra, Phil Pepe. This was an entertaining read.
- Sargent York, John Perry. While published by a Christian publisher and part of the “Christian Encounters” series, the gospel was not overt or clear in the book; nevertheless it was an interesting biography about a remarkable hero of the first world war.
- The Perfect Mile, Neal Bascomb. The book chronicles the race to the sub-4-minute mile, weaving the stories of Roger Bannister, John Landy, and Wes Santee together in a compelling manner.
- The Bomber Mafia, Malcolm Gladwell. This book was first written as an audio book/production and then put into physical print, so I recommend you read the audio book (read by Gladwell).
- Lou Gehrig: the Lost Memoir, Alan Gaff. The first half of the book was written by Gehrig himself (with a ghost writter) as a newspaper serial, so it’s not the best baseball writing you will read, but it is an interesting read about a tragic figure.
- To the Land of Long Lost Friends, Alexander McCall Smith. A story about Mma. Ramotswe is always a relaxing read — perfect for a summer vacation.
- The Pearl, John Steinbeck. I read several Steinbeck novels this year; this was the one that started me on the journey. It’s excellent and though not written by a Christian, has biblical overtones throughout. I also read Travels with Charley (great for a road trip and an excellent narrator in Gary Sinise) and The Red Pony — and have several more Steinbeck works lined up to read.
- The Buckskin Line, Elmer Kelton. Every year I must read something by Kelton. This was the first one this year. Badger Boy (naturally) was the second one.
- Every Living Thing, James Herriot. I first read most of the James Herriot books years ago; this was my first re-read in that series and it was delightful, bringing frequent smiles to my face.
Biblical and theological:
- What Does it Mean to Fear the Lord?, Michael Reeves. Pretty much anything written by Reeves will be excellent, as this one was. It is the best book I’ve read so far this year.
- The Things of Earth and Strangely Bright, Joe Rigney. These two related books are both on the topic of how a believe can enjoy the things of earth while still glorifying God. They are both excellent and helpful discussions of a topic that is not thought about often.
- The Roots of Endurance, John Piper. This was a re-read; Piper’s biographies are always helpful and encouraging, as this one was several years after I first read it. [Many of Piper’s biographies are free with an Audible membership.]
- Christian’s Pocket Guide to Understanding Suicide and Euthanasia, D. Eryl Davies. This is concise discussion on an important topic; I didn’t agree with everything he said, but it was helpful.
- The Serpent and the Serpent Slayer, Andrew David Naselli.
- How Christians Should Relate to Government, Wayne Grudem. This is an excerpt from his much longer work, Politics: According to the Bible; I didn’t agree with all his conclusions, but the work is thorough and thought-provoking.