One of the most helpful things I can do with my blog is provide great resources. Since I am an avid reader, I feel one of the best ways to do this is to point to good books. This is one reason I publish my yearly reading list (to read my 2020 reading list, click HERE). However, my annual reading list does not include every book I read throughout the year, only the books I chose to intentionally read throughout the year. This year I have decided to do a reading list follow up at the end of the year with a top ten list of additional books I read throughout the year. I hope you find this list beneficial. Tolle lege.
This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teens Years by Jaquelle Crowe. This book was highly recommended and it lived up to its recommendation. Jaquelle Crowe is incredibly well-read and articulate. She not only has a strong grasp of the gospel, but is able to bring the gospel to bear on the everyday lives of teenagers (and adults for that matter). Each chapter of the book lays out the implications of the gospel in a different area of life (i.e. identity, time, relationships, etc). This book has become my main book recommendation for teens.
A Biblical Theology of Youth Ministry by Michael McGarry. For several years there has been an ongoing debate about the biblical appropriateness of student and kid ministries in the church. In this book, Michael McGarry lays out a Biblical argument for -not only the appropriateness- but the necessity of student ministry. McGarry actually lays out many of the same thoughts regarding student ministry I have developed over the last two decades working with students. I would actually encourage parents of students to read this book, because I believe it will help give parents a better understanding of what student ministry should be in the church.
The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager by Thomas Hine. This book was fascinating to me as both a student of history and someone who works with teenagers. As the title suggests Hine tracks the emergence of the contemporary concept of the teenager from about the middle of the 17th century through the end of the 20th century. While his predictions regarding the future of the American teenager have not materialized, the historical investigation is fairly spot-on. If you are interested in teenagers or U.S. history, this book is definitely worth a read.
The History of Israel by John Bright. Some historians make history come alive for the reader while other historians provide good, accurate information. Bright falls squarely in the latter category. The information presented in the book was beneficial for developing a better understanding of the historical Israel; however, the book was also very dry and dull. I would recommend this book on content, but be prepared to persevere if you should choose to tackle this rather large book.
Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will by Kevin DeYoung. There are many different understandings of the Will of God. Kevin DeYoung lays out the essential beliefs I have come to regarding God’s Will. The synopsis: God’s Will has more to do with us conforming to the image of Jesus Christ than us finding some predetermined path. Therefore, we do not necessarily need to worry about choosing the right predetermined career, relationships partner, school, or hobby. Rather, we seek to become more conformed to the image of Jesus and in doing so we will be the right person who works in a career, or lives in relationships, or attends school. In his book, DeYoung lays out the Biblical argument for such an approach as well as the implications for finding God’s Will.
Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission by Hampton Sides. While many people have probably heard of the Bataan Death March, most have not heard more than the name. The story of Ghost Soldiers begins with the Baton death march and culminates in the daring rescue of some of the surviving POWs. It is a great story of endurance, survival, and perseverance told by a master story teller in Hampton Sides.
The Last Full Measure by Jeff Shaara. Over the last couple of years I have been reading the Civil War trilogy by Shaara. Gods and Generals follows the Civil War from its inception to the Battle of Gettysburg. Killer Angels focuses on the Battle of Gettysburg itself. And then The Last Full Measure continues the saga through the completion of the war. While these books are historical fiction they are excellent historical accounts of the Civil War.
D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Climatic Battle of World War 2 by Stephen Ambrose. I have had D-Day on my bookshelf for many years. This past October I decided this would be the year I would tackle it. Ambrose beautifully weaves the historical details of the preparation and execution of the battle of D-Day with personal stories of those on the ground. If you want a greater understanding of World War 2, I would highly recommend this book or any of Ambrose’s other books.
Einstein and His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson. This is not necessarily a book I would have chosen off a shelf at store, but I picked it up because it was a recommendation from a colleague. I am still currently reading the biography and about half way through the book, but I am thoroughly enjoying the read for two reasons. First, I am fascinated by individuals and time periods of the past. Second, this book is far outside of my normal reading. While I am an avid biography reader, I do not usually read much about theoretical or quantum physics. However, the author does an excellent job of bringing the high science down to a level easily understood by the most novice of science readers.
Echo Island by Jared Wilson. Earlier this year Jared Wilson released his first fiction book. The story follows four high school graduates who show up after a weekend of camping to find their town completely deserted (Spoiler Alert: This is not a rapture book). I orginally planned to use this book as my Thanksgiving vacation reading, but since I was down with Covid over Thanksiving, I decided to make this my Christmas vacation reading instead.
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