I like to pull from the books I read this year to note the exceptional ones. These were not all published this year: in fact, I don’t think any of them were. I just got to them this year. It’s hard to choose this year: there were only maybe two or three that I did not like at all. But here are the ones that especially stood to me, in no particular order. The titles link back to my reviews.
1. The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden by Kevin DeYoung. I like how this children’s book places some of the individual narratives in the Bible within its overarching framework in a simple and easily readable style.
2. God Is Just Not Fair: Finding Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense by Jennifer Rothschild, for asking the hard questions and, by experience and Bible study, coming up with reasonable answers.
3. Love in Hard Places by D. A. Carson didn’t draw me in with its style, but it did make me think and convict and instruct me.
4. Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story About Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables by Phil Vischer. The story of the rise of Veggie Tales was fun, but Phil’s dealing with the death of a seemingly God-given dream spoke volumes to me.
5. Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber. I’m often intrigued by outside-looking-in stories of people confronting Christianity. When someone is at first indifferent and then strongly opposed, what finally causes everything to click and fall into place for them?
6. The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy might seem a strange one – why would a book about someone’s dying top anyone’s favorites list? But we all have to face it at some point, and this was so poignant and so beautifully written, it stayed with me long afterward.
7. A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner involved two timelines, connected by tragedy and a scarf.
8. The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate involved an old anonymous manuscript, a search for its author, a story within a story, the history and trials of a little-known race, and well-drawn settings between new York City and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
9. The Magnolia Story by “Fixer-Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino. A highly enjoyable read.
10. Taking God At His Word: Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me by Kevin DeYoung. Short but packed with good stuff.
11. The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser. Two girls opposite in many ways become close friends in the 1930s. Friendship, class differences, crises of faith, life in the South, family secrets, and even some mystery.
12. Middlemarch by George Eliot. Not only was I glad to have finally conquered this tome, but I loved its many characters and layers.
It has definitely been a good reading year, and I am looking forward to the next one! What was your favorite book of the year?
Semicolon invites us to share our end-of-year bookish lists as well as regular reviews on her Saturday Review of Books this week.