2019 in books

2019 was the year I rediscovered my love for leisure reading, but a few of these titles were still read for a grade, ha. In the order I read them, here are some of the best texts I spent time with this year (out of fifty-nine… narrowing it down was hard) and a little blurb about why I appreciated them. Cheers.

The Reason for God | Timothy Keller
Hands down one of the best theology books and defenses of the Christian faith that I’ve read. Accessible, inclusive, and challenging.

Liturgy of the Ordinary | Tish Harrison Warren
Beautiful practices for welcoming God into the seemingly mundane aspects of life, without being legalistic.

Once in the West | Christian Wiman
Gorgeous collection of poetry from one of my favorite contemporary poets. It’s one of the reasons I realized I don’t have to understand everything about a poem in order to find it beautiful.

Glittering Vices | Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung
This made me rethink sin and it’s impact on our lives. Kind of a big deal.

Meditations from a Moveable Chair | Andre Dubus
I skipped chapel to finish reading these personal essays on the intersections between faith, art, suffering, and relationships.

The Road | Cormac McCarthy
Hear me out. I know this is his least intense novel and I may be kind of a chicken for procrastinating reading his other works, but wow. His language? Absurdly beautiful.

Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory | Jerry Walls
A Protestant Christian wondering about Purgatory? *gasp* This book forced me to consider how God (love) interacts with each of these three post-earthly spaces. I highly recommend it because it challenges conventional/default views, especially within evangelical Christian circles.

Faithful and Virtuous Night | Louise Gluck
I read this on a bus somewhere in England. Her poetry just sings of beauty found just beyond the surface of things, even dark things. I have a collection of her first four poetry books on my shelf in my apartment and I can’t wait to go through it in 2020.

Felicity | Mary Oliver
In the middle of the summer, when I was depressed out of my mind, I found some solace on a lawn in Oxford, watching the punters float by and reading Oliver’s poetry about joy to remind me that darkness wasn’t the only thing alive in this world.

Caribou | Charles Wright
I read this while traveling who knows where, but I distinctly remember the way the sun fell through the airplane window and landed on the page. Breath-taking, rather like the words it illuminated.

Collected Poems, 1909-1962 | T.S. Eliot
I cannot sing Eliot’s praises enough. He might have been an odd-ball but he could write some darn good poetry. My favorite is “Ash Wednesday.”

The Brothers Karamazov | Fyodor Dostoyevsky
It’s possible I missed most of what Dostoyevsky packed into this novel. I guess that just means I’ll need to read it again.

If On a Winter’s Night a Traveller | Italo Calvino
Genius. Absolute genius.

East of Eden | John Steinbeck
Within the first few pages I knew this would be one of the titles I list when people ask me what my favorite books are.

Peace Like a River | Leif Enger
Reading this book felt like coming home in some inexplicable way.


Leave a comment below with any recommendations you have or your own favorite reads from the year! Happy 2020. 🙂

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