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Top Reads from 2021

By December 14, 2021No Comments

For me personally, 2021 has been a wonderful year for books. I was fortunate to publish my first, Truth on Fire: Gazing at God until your Heart Sings, begin working on two more (due for release in 2023 with The Good Book Company), and enjoy a stack of new books, old books, along with re-reads of some of my favourite books.

Here are my Top 10 Non-Fiction and Top 10 Novels from 2021 (#3 in both lists not pictured), along with a full reading list from this past year below (many of which were also brilliant!).

TOP 10 NON-FICTION BOOKS

  1. A Burning in my Bones: The Authorised Biography of Eugene Peterson (Winn Collier) Eugene was a pastor to pastors, and one of the most vital voices of the last fifty years in calling pastors away from ministry-professionalism and hype. A wonderful and very enjoyable biography.
  2. The Intentional Father: A Practical Guide to Raising Sons (Jon Tyson) With our older kids coming into their teen years, Jon has been an excellent guide in helping me lean in with intentionality during this important season of their lives. Inspiring and practical.
  3. Why God Makes Sense in a World that Doesn’t via Kindle (Gavin Ortlund) An exceptional contribution – in both tone and content – to Christian apologetics. One of the best I’ve read in a long time. Academic, but very accessible…I’ll be recommending widely.
  4. The Death of Porn: Men of Integrity Creating a World of Nobility (Ray Ortlund Jr) Gentle, honest, and deeply pastoral. I want to put a copy of this into the hands of every man I know.
  5. Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts – 2 Volumes (Craig Keener)
  6. A Timbered Choir (Wendell Berry)
  7. Things My Son Needs to Know about the World (Fredrik Backman)
  8. Beasts, Men, and Gods (Ferdinand Ossendowski)
  9. Love me Anyway: How God’s Perfect Love Fills our Deepest Longings (Jared C. Wilson)
  10. Family Discipleship: Leading your Home through Time, Moments, and Milestones (Matt Chandler & Adam Griffin)

Honourable Mention: Being the Bad Guys: How to Live for Jesus in a World that Says You Shouldn’t (Stephen McAlpine)

TOP 10 NOVELS

  1. Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Harriette Beecher-Stowe). I generally try not to include books I’ve re-read in this list, but this was even more powerful the second time around. My favourite novel last year, and favourite again this year. Beautiful writing and gripping characters; all based on true stories. Everyone should read at least once in their life.
  2. The Wingfeather Saga series4 volumes (Andrew Peterson) This series is the closest thing to Narnia I’ve come across. Except funnier. I couldn’t put these down; also a 10 out of 10 from each of the Ramsey kids.
  3. Anxious People (Fredrik Backman)
  4. Life and Fate (Vasily Grossman)
  5. The Winter of our Discontent (John Steinbeck)
  6. Blood Meridian (Cormac McCarthy) There were several descriptions in this book (like the battle scene at the end of Chapter Four…my goodness), that I am still trying to recover from. McCarthy at times, writes like a poetic hurricane.
  7. No Country for Old Men (Cormac McCarthy)
  8. A Man Called Ove (Fredrik Backman)
  9. Harry Potter series – 7 volumes (J.K Rowling) I was about 25 years late to the party (thanks to 90’s Christian purity-culture where stories about magic were off-limits…unless of course it was C.S Lewis, Tolkien, or Disney. But I digress.). This was just a fun read.
  10. The Dry (Jane Harper)

See below for full reading list.

Novels

All the Pretty Horses (Cormac McCarthy)

*Animal Farm (George Orwell)

Beowulf: A Verse Translation – Second Edition (Daniel Donoghue)

*Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Harriet Beecher Stowe)

Life and Fate (Vasily Grossman)

Force of Nature (Jane Harper)

Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West (Cormac McCarthy)

No Country for Old Men (Cormac McCarthy)

Pachinko (Min Jin Lee)

Cloud Cuckoo Land (Anthony Doerr)

The Winter of Our Discontent (John Steinbeck)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (J.K Rowling)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (J.K Rowling)

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (J.K Rowling)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K Rowling)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J.K Rowling)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J.K Rowling)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (J.K Rowling)

Anxious People (Fredrik Backman)

Washington Black (Esi Edugyan)

Us Against You (Fredrik Backman) 

The Dry (Jane Harper)

Cloudstreet (Tim Winton) 

Beartown (Fredrik Backman) 

A Man Called Ove (Fredrik Backman) 

The Warden and the Wolf King: The Wingfeather Saga #4 (Andrew Peterson)

The Monster in the Hollows: The Wingfeather Saga, #3 (Andrew Peterson)

North! or Be Eaten: The Wingfeather Saga, #2 (Andrew Peterson)

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness: The Wingfeather Saga, #1 (Andrew Peterson)

Non-Fiction

Things My Son Needs to know about the World (Fredrik Backman)

Love Me Anyway (Jared C. Wilson)

The Righteous Mind (Jonathan Haidt)

Why God Makes Sense in a World that Doesn’t (Gavin Ortlund)

*The Ragamuffin Gospel

*The Remarkable Ordinary (Frederick Buechner)

A Timbered Choir (Wendell Berry)

Lead: 12 Gospel Principles for Leadership in the Church (Paul Tripp)

Understanding Spiritual Warfare: A Comprehensive Guide (Sam Storms)

How Do We Know that Christianity is Really True? (Chris Morphew)

On Death (Timothy Keller)

On Birth (Timothy Keller)

Between Noon and Three (Robert Farrar Capon)

Heart Cry for Revival (Stephen F. Olford)

Gospel Eldership: Equipping a New Generation of Servant Leaders (Robert Thune)

The Deeply Formed Life (Rich Villodas)

Surviving the State, Remaking the Church: A Sociological Portrait of Christians in Mainland China (Li Ma)

Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts (Craig Keener)

Ever Ancient, Ever New: The Allure of Liturgy for a New Generation (Winfield Bevins)

Finding the Right Hills to Die on: The Case for Theological Triage (Gavin Ortlund)

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains (Nicholas Carr)

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace (Sarah Mackenzie)

No Home Like Place: A Christian Theology of Place (Leonard Hjalmarson)

On the Shortness of Life (Seneca)

Becoming a Healing Presence (Albert S. Rossi)

The Space Between: A Christian Engagement with the Built Environment (Eric Jacobsen)

The Order of Time (Carlo Rovelli)

Four Thousand Weeks (Oliver Burkeman)

How Do We Know that Christianity is Really True? (Chris Morphew)

Family Discipleship: Leading Your Home Through Time, Moments, and Milestones (Matt Chandler and Adam Griffin)

The Life of Saint Macrina (Gregory of Nyssa)

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact (Chip Heath)

The Intentional Father: A Practical Guide to Raise Sons of Courage and Character (Jon Tyson)

God of All Things: Rediscovering the Sacred in an Everyday World (Andrew Wilson)

Warning to the West (Alexandr Solzhenitsyn)

The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Books V-VII (Alexandr Solzhenitsyn)

The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Books III-IV (Alexandr Solzhenitsyn)

The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956 Books I-II ((Alexandr Solzhenitsyn)

The Revelation of God (Peter Jensen)

The Death of Porn: Men of Integrity Building a World of Nobility (Ray Ortlund Jr)

Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents (Rod Dreher)

The Dichotomy of Leadership: Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership to Lead and Win (Jocko Willink)

To Be Continued: The Unstoppable Mission of Jesus (Tony Merida)

What God Has to Say about Our Bodies (Sam Allberry)

Questioning Christianity: Is There More to the Story? (Dan Paterson)

Gospel-Driven Ministry: An Introduction to the Calling and Work of a Pastor (Jared C. Wilson)

The Plurality Principle: How to Build and Maintain a Thriving Church Leadership Team (Dave Harvey)

Beasts, Men and Gods (Ferdynand Ossendowski)

Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?: Four Views (Stanley Gundry)

Spiritual Gifts: What They Are and Why They Matter (Thomas Schreiner)

This Hallelujah Banquet: How the End of What We Were Reveals Who We Can Be (Eugene Peterson)

Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West (Tom Holland)

Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount and His Confrontation with the World: A Study of Matthew 5-10 (D.A Carson)

Being the Bad Guys: How to Live for Jesus in a World That Says You Shouldn’t (Stephen McAlpine)

Pentecost To The Present: Book One: Early Prophetic and Spiritual Gifts Movements (Jeff Oliver)

Epistle to the Philadelphia (St Ignatius of Antioch)

The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians (Clement of Rome)

The Shepherd of Hermas (J.B Lightfoot)

On the Cessation of the Charismata: The Protestant Polemic on Post-Biblical Miracles (Jon Ruthven) 

8 Hours or Less: Writing faithful sermons faster (Ryan Huguley)

A Burning in My Bones: The Authorized Biography of Eugene H. Peterson (Winn Collier)

Sermon on the Mount (Scot McKnight)

The Sermon on the Mount: The Message of the Kingdom (R. Kent Hughes)

The Message of the Sermon on the Mount (John Stott)

Just Ask: The Joy of Confident, Bold, Patient, Relentless, Shameless, Dependent, Grateful, Powerful, Expectant Prayer (J.D Greear)

*Truth on Fire: Gazing at God Until Your Heart Sings (Adam Ramsey)

Christian Peoples of the Spirit: A Documentary History of Pentecostal Spirituality from the Early Church to the Present (Stanley M. Burgess)

Charismatic Gifts in the Early Church (Ronald A. Kydd)

Counterfeit Miracles (B.B Warfield)

Why I Am Still Surprised by the Power of the Spirit (Jack Deere)

The Awakening: Revival in China: 1927-1937 (Marie Monsen)

The Korean Pentecost: And the Sufferings Which Followed (William Newton Blair)

Revival Fire (Wesley Duewel)

The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution (Carl R. Trueman)

Love Your Church: 8 Great Things about Being a Church Member (Tony Merida)

Firefall 2.0: How God Has Shaped History Through Revivals (Malcolm McDow)

*Flashpoints of Revival (Geoff Waugh)

*Great Revivals: When God Moves in Power (Colin Whittaker)

In the Day of Thy Power: The Scriptural Principles of Revival (Arthur Wallis)

*Why Revival Tarries: A Classic on Revival (Leonard Ravenhill)

*Understanding Spiritual Gifts: A Comprehensive Guide (Sam Storms)

*Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life (Tish Harrison Warren)

*Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12-14 (D.A Carson)

*Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ (Eugene Peterson)

The Heart of Christ (Thomas Goodwin)

*Spirit and Sacrament: An Invitation to Eucharismatic Worship (Andrew Wilson)

*When God Comes To Church: A Biblical Model For Revival Today (Ray Ortlund Jr)

*Dynamics of Spiritual Life (Richard Lovelace)

A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir (Collin Hansen)

How to Talk about Jesus (Without Being That Guy) (Sam Chan)

The Color of Compromise (Jemar Tisby)

God in our Midst (J.I Packer)

The Lewis Awakening (Duncan Campbell)

(* indicates a re-read)