I read thirty books this year, from mystery novels and historical fiction, to memoirs, Christian theology and travel books. Looking back these are the my five favorites from my reading this year for differing reasons.
Best book on Christianity and theology
Of the various books I read this year to deepen my Christian faith, The Gospel in Genesis by Martyn Lloyd-Jones was the best. Composed of Lloyd-Jones’ sermons about early chapters of Genesis, the Welsh minister expounds on the gospel in the book of Genesis showing man’s situation (his separation from God) and God’s promise of a Savior to come (Jesus Christ).
“The Bible asserts that man, though he has turned his back on God, still exists before him. And it is because of this that I keep preaching. It is because I believe that all who die in their sins not only go to judgment but go to hell that I keep proclaiming the message. If I believed that when we all die, that is just the end of it, that our bodies just dissolve and become part of the earth and that is all, then there would be no need of a gospel. But “it is appointed unto men”—all men—“once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Death is not the end. We go on, and we go on for all eternity. The judgment is announced; judgment is pronounced.
But, thank God, man is fallen, condemned, miserable, and helpless, but God intervenes! God comes into the wreckage. God visits man and calls him by name and addresses him. God, even at the moment of rebellion, tells man that he has a way to rescue him and to redeem him: “It [the seed of the woman] shall bruise thy [the serpent’s] head.”
Best audiobook I listened to (also my favorite non-fiction)
2016 was my first foray into audiobooks with an Audible trial membership. One of the books I listened to was Pirate Hunters by Robert Kurson. It was completely engrossing. I didn’t want to stop listening because I was in constant suspense over whether John Chatterton and John Mattera were going to find the shipwreck of the Golden Fleece.
Truly a fantastic read for any adventure or mystery lover, but especially anyone interested in the golden age of piracy.
Best memoir and best sense of place
Do you want to learn about Australia, the desert and camels as well as determination, perseverance and loss? Tracks, Robyn Davidson’s memoir of her remarkable 1,700-mile solo journey across the the outback in 1980, is the book for you.
It just might inspire you to pursue your own crazy dream.
While in Paris in October, I stopped in Shakespeare and Company. I was looking for something a little on the creepy side and spotted this book: Night Music, Nocturnes Volume 2 by John Connolly. The bestselling Irish writer was previously unknown to me, but this collection of macabre short stories and novellas held me spellbound from the very first one (The Caxton Private Lending Library). I devoured the book and immediately acquired its predecessor: Nocturnes.
Both books blend and blur the lines of mystery, horror and science fiction perfectly to keep you hooked from start to finish.
I look forward to exploring Connolly’s Charlie Parker mystery series in 2017.
The Syrian refugee crisis may have faded somewhat from the headlines, but millions remain displaced within Syria, and millions more became refugees by fleeing to other countries.
Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis by Stephan Bauman, Matthew Soerens and Dr. Issam Smeir examines this tsunami-sized wave of forced migration from a Christian perspective. They look at the size and scope of the problem, expose common myths about refugees, speak of their personal experiences as/or with refugees and explain how the process of refugee resettlement works in the United States. They also challenge readers to think about the issue as Christians and put aside their fears in order to respond biblically to the crisis.
This was the most timely and necessary book I read all year.