Well, it’s coming to that end of the year when people are making the lists of things of 2017, so I might as well join them. This year I have kept a list of the books I have finished. Some books, if they are not working for me, or if they are rubbish I don’t finish. Life is too short for bad books and bad writing. One of the things I did this year was to start an Audible subscription. This has been great to force me to work through at least one book a month while driving and walking. Others I have read in normal print others on Kindle. I have given you my list to help you think through what you are planning to read for 2018. So, here are my best books of 2017:
Book of the Year
Lot’s of good books out there. I could have included Glittering Vices by Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung, But I have gone with a book I have already reviewed: Known by God by Brian Rosner so you can read the review here. But this is my book of the year because it was 1) the most stimulating read 2) helped me re-think as well as re-orientate my life around its ideas.
Commentary of the Year
My outstanding commentary of the year was not a technical commentary but more of a preaching guide. What I am looking for in a commentary is to help me understand the text better. Numbers: God’s Presence in the Wilderness by Iain Duguid in the Preaching the Word series is my commentary of the year as it helped me to see what was already there in the text, I just didn’t see the patterns that had emerged. I will be preaching through Numbers in 2018.
I have a lot of honorary mentions in the historical/biography category. Gerald Bray’s Augustine: On the Christian Life is a great read. Because it was the 500th anniversary of the Reformation I had to read one book on that era. Stephen Nichols’ The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World is a great book that covers the reformation and is worth reading just for the chapter on women in the Reformation. However, it is a non-Christian irreverent, sarcastic and totally Australian view of Australian History that wins here: Girt by David Hunt. If you love Bill Bryson, you will love Girt. The sequel: True Girt is out but I have not read it yet.
I managed to get through a few books on preaching this year. I have also blogged about the Aaron Sorkin course on screenwriting to help me on preaching. But Sam Chan’s Preaching as the Word of God was the best of them. This is not an easy book to read, it is long and technical (it took me a year to read this book!). But the reason it is the best book on preaching this year is the synthesis of the Speech/ Act Theory into preaching. This means, basically, how we preach is important and is influenced by what we preach.
In the leadership/ development category Zeal Without Burnout By Christopher Ash was one of the books I have been meaning to read for a while and did not disappoint. But as someone who is now working in a situation where I am not the key leader, How to Lead When you are Not in Charge by Clay Scroggins was practical, humbling and what I needed to read this year. You can read a longer review here.
There are lots of other books that should have made the list at some point: I finally got to Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (anything by Gladwell is worth reading). 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman could have made the leadership list. Being a fan of Matthew Reilly I should have had a fictional category so I could have included 4 Legendary Kingdoms.
Enjoy reading in 2018!!