Now that we’ve moved into 2021, most of us aren’t interested in looking back on the year that was. But having completed my Goodreads goal of 40 books read in 2020, as of about 10:00 PM on New Year’s Eve, I wanted to take a moment and highlight the best and most influential selections.
In alphabetical order, by author:
1. American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump by Tim Alberta. Eye-opening and troubling, for those who want an insider’s view of how the GOP went from Tea Party to Trump.
2. The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis by Leon Kass. I’ve read the first book of the Bible many times before, but left with new insights, especially on Adam and Eve, and brothers Judah and Joseph.
3. How the Nations Rage: Rethinking Faith and Politics in a Divided Age by Jonathan Leeman. I recommend this to any faithful Christian in American churches today, as the need to rethink our engagement with politics is great.
4. The Alternative: Most of What You Believe About Poverty Is Wrong by Mauricio L. Miller. The quality of writing is not fabulous, but the wealth of insights from the author’s personal and professional experience challenges prevailing views.
5. J-Curve: Dying and Rising with Jesus in Everyday Life by Paul E. Miller. If I had to pick one book here as the best to re-read, this would be it. I began reading this easy-to-understand, hard-to-live spiritual wisdom on Christian suffering the day before the pandemic upended our lives.
6. In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick. A page-turning recreation of the harrowing real-life whaling misadventure that inspired Moby Dick.
7. Coronavirus and Christ by John Piper. I listened to this timely, compelling biblical meditation on an especially dark Good Friday.
8. Charter Schools and Their Enemies by Thomas Sowell. A book that had to be written, from one of our age’s most brilliant minds, for those who have lost their way in the fight for education reform. Getting cited in this book was a bonus.
9. Weep with Me: How Lament Opens a Door for Racial Reconciliation by Mark Vroegop. Like #3 above, an important read for my evangelical brethren from the dominant culture. Plenty of room to listen and learn, and embrace the practice of lament.
10. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson. Fills a gap in my historical knowledge with what is surely the seminal work on the 20th century topic.
Happy New Year, and Happy Reading in 2021!