Top 5 Books of 2019

Top 5 Books of 2019

One of my goals this year has been to read more books.

I am already an avid reader, mostly of books related to worship, theology, and spirituality. But occasionally I read some sort of fiction or biography or something on productivity. I’ve been doing well this year with staying on top of my reading list and carving out time for it. I think it’s important for everybody - everybody - to read. It distills decades of research and information, gives centuries of history in just a few pages, transports you to a different world, gives you new perspectives, and is just generally fun.

With all this in mind, below I have listed the top 5 books I’ve read in 2019. I’ll have to do an updated post at the end of the year to see if these stayed the same, or if some of them get bumped off the list by other books throughout the year.

So without further ado, here are the top 5 books I’ve read in 2019 (in no particular order).

Note: Some of these links are affiliate links which means if you decide to purchase them using the link, I earn a very small commission. This commission does not effect the price you pay, and it helps fund the free content that you find on this blog. Thanks for your support!

1. The Great Divorce - C.S. Lewis

I actually finished this book in the first couple of days of the year. I am (very slowly) making my way through the catalog of C.S. Lewis and have found this to be the most beautifully written book of his I’ve ever read. It’s a dream about the afterlife that is full of imagery and deep insight. A must-read. The link above is the book that I’m reading it from - a collection of C.S. Lewis works that is a nice bargain for how many of his writings are included. 80 pages.

2. The Mystery of God - Steven D. Boyer & Christopher A. Hall

I started this book in December and wrapped it up early in January so technically it still makes the 2019 list. It was recommended to me by an elder at the church where I serve. It is a thoughtful, well-researched book that is all about mystery and theology. How can we know an unknowable God? What about God is knowable, and what is unknowable? How has the Church dealt with the mystery of God throughout the centuries? And how does this mystery impact our core theological beliefs? It’s so beautifully structured and written. I highly recommend this book to anybody, but especially those interested in the big questions of faith. It’s dense, but well worth the effort. The footnotes and bibliography have added dozens of books to my “Save for Later” Amazon cart. 250 pages.

3. The Mortification of Sin - John Owen

This is Owen’s treatise on how we as Christians should constantly be killing our sin at the root causes. A famous Owen quote comes from this book, “Be killing sin lest it be killing you.” I am currently about halfway through this and although Owen is a little bit dense for the modern reader, I find his writing very easy to follow and clearly laid out. I may go on to read the rest of the writings in the book linked above which include On Temptation, On Indwelling Sin in Believers, and Exposition of Psalm 130. I am reading this with my pastor… we read about a chapter each week and then discuss it and how it applies to our lives. I highly recommend reading this with someone else that you trust - maybe for a small group, or just a close friend or two, or ask your pastor - so that you can discuss each section and apply it in a practical way. 75 pages.

4. For the Beauty of the Church - David O. Taylor, etc.

I discovered David Taylor through some videos he did with Bono and Eugene Peterson for Fuller Seminary (found here and here). Since then I’ve followed his blog and really enjoy what he has to say about worship and the arts. David writes the introduction and final chapter, but each chapter is written by a different author with a different topic and perspective including Andy Crouch, John D. Witvliet, Lauren F. Winner, Eugene Peterson, Barbara Niolosi, and Joshua Banner. Each author also makes recommendations for further reading, which I’m sure will add significantly to my current reading plan for 2019. It’s beautifully written, packed full of ideas and lofty thoughts that are sure to inspire you as a worship leader/artist/human being. 190 pages.

5. Deep Work - Cal Newport

This book is completely life changing. Newport’s writing is compelling and straightforward, but filled with loads of information and research. As far as practical books go, this is one of the best that I’ve ever read. I highly recommend this book. Newport argues that in the current knowledge age, the ability to do deep, focused work is highly profitable and deeply fulfilling. There are so many nuggets of wisdom, tons of research distilled, and great practical exercises and strategies for structuring your work life to operate at your maximum mental capacity-and stretch that capacity over time. What I like most is that you can tell while reading that Newport uses the strategies he is teaching. He writes in a simple, concise way that compels you to continue reading and stay incredibly focused. A must read. 300 pages.

Comment below if you have any thoughts on how to organize your reading, what books you’re reading this year, or thoughts on the books on my list. As always, you’re welcome to contact me if you have any thoughts, questions, or ideas for future posts!

In Christ,

Patrick

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