Lists of 2020: Books
It’s December, which means that it’s time for “year in review” lists. And the “Best/Top/Favorite Books” lists are some of my favorite. Take a look and add a few titles to your 2021 reading list. 1
I’ll continue to add to the list as the month goes on. In no particular order…
This is simply a list of the books (Christian and non-Christian, but all non-fiction) that I thought were the best in the past year. “Best” doesn’t mean I agreed with everything in them; it means I found these books—all published in 2020 (or the very end of 2019)—a strong combination of thoughtful, useful, interesting, helpful, insightful, and challenging.
Here are 12 books I recently endorsed (nine for 2020, three for 2021):
I should tell it, as Ryan Howard said in proposing to Kelly Kapoor: “I don’t know how I’m gonna feel tomorrow or the next day or the day after that, but I do know that right here, right now, all I can think about is spending the rest of my life with her. Again, that could change.” That’s not a good attitude toward marriage, but it is toward my end-of-the-year lists.
Today I want to offer my picks for the top 10 books of 2020. I have put them in some semblance of order with my first pick at the top and the rest in roughly descending order. In each case I’ve included a short description drawn from my full-length review. I guess you’ll see as you browse through the list that my focus this year was on contemporary issues…
Our picks for the books most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture.
My hope is that my 2020 list of “favorite reads” will provide a few titles that may make their way onto your Christmas wish list or provide some good gift ideas.
Each year our editors, along with dozens of key contributors, review the nominations from Christian publishers using the following fourfold criteria:
- offers gospel-centered argument and application;
- includes faithful and foundational use of Scripture, both Old Testament and New Testament;
- fosters spiritual discernment of contemporary trials and trends; and
- encourages efforts to unite and renew the church.
We asked pastors around the world a simple question: what books did you read in 2020 that helped you be a better pastor? We’ve curated their responses below.
Over the past couple of weeks the blogs and sites I read have been humming with list after list of the top books of 2020. It seems that just about every avid reader I follow is eager to share his or her picks for the year that was. I love these lists and especially love comparing them to see which books become the consensus favorites. With that in mind, and based on perhaps 20 or 25 such lists, I analyzed them and narrowed it down to just a few books that received a lot of attention.
In a year with less travel and more reading, the following pages present 25 books accessible by general readers, not just by scholars or specialists. We emphasize books that contribute to understanding big controversies and great divides, including creation-evolution battles in science, racial and religious splits in American society, and times of war and revolution in our past. Here are our 2020 Books of the Year in five categories.
Reflecting back on 2020, it was a hard year in many respects yet publications were not one of them. Faithful authors and faithful publishers delivered a plethora of wonderful volumes this year. As readers, we had much “good company” to accompany us along the way in these odd times and for that we can all be grateful.