It’s a yearly tradition, so I can’t resist. Here’s a quick list of the books I finished* in 2019:
[*Since I always have several books in-progress, I count finishes and not complete reads in my yearly lists.]
>>Somewhere The Band is Playing – Ray Bradbury (novella)
>>The Tech-wise Family – Andy Crouch
>>Them – Ben Sasse
>>All Things for Good – Thomas Watson
>>Family Shepherd — Voddie Baucham
>>R.U.R. – the brothers Cajek (play)
>>Extreme Ownership – Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
>>The Gospel and Personal Evangelism – Mark Dever
>>Digital Minimalism – Cal Newport
>>Divorce and Remarriage: A Permanence View – Wingard, Eliff, Chrisman, Burchett
>>Understanding the Lord’s Supper – Bobby Jamieson
>>Evangelism – Mack Stiles
>>Mortal Engines – Phillip Reeve
>>Forever and a Day – Anthony Horiwitz
>>The Dichotomy of Leadership – Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
>>Civil War: Spiderman – various (graphic novel)
>>The Spy who Came In From The Cold – John Le Carre
>>Family-Focused Faith – Voddie Baucham
>>Competing Spectacles – Tony Reinke
>>A Murder of Quality – John LeCarre
>>The Looking-Glass War – John LeCarre
>>What is a Healthy Church Member? – Thabiti Anyabwile
>>Side by Side – Ed Welch
>>Enjoying God — RC Sproul
>>Deep Work — Cal Newport
>>Bad Blood – John Carryrou
>> Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – John LeCarre
>> Fellowship with God – Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
>>The Go-Getter – Peter Kyne
>>Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual – Jocko Willink
>> The Apostles Creed – Al Mohler
>>Prayer – John Onwuchekwa
>>The Church – Mark Dever
>>Essential Readings on Evangelism – SBTS
>>The Need – Hannah Phillips
Did Not Finish (DNF)
August – Watchmen: The Annotated Edition – Moore/Gibbons (While the annotations were fascinating, this critically-acclaimed graphic novel was just too dark and depressing for me to enjoy, so I bailed about a quarter of the way through.)
Total Read: 35, including a novella, a play, and a graphic novel
The Split: 11 fiction, 24 non-fiction (16 specifically theological books)
Most Read: John LeCarre and Jocko Willink, each with 3; Mark Dever, with 2
Top Five Recommendations from My 2019 Reading:
- Extreme Ownership, by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin — This memoir/motivational book by former Navy SEALs sounds a little more Rex-kwan-do than it really is. Willink and Babin use real-world military experience as metaphors for best-practices of personal responsibility and individual discipline. While the book is very intentionally geared toward the business world (both men are now corporate consultants in their civilian careers), the ideas and insights are definitely applicable. Willink’s follow-ups are also worth a look, if you appreciate his style of writing, but this one is the must-read of his work.
- The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, by John LeCarre — LeCarre is rightly considered one of the best spy-genre writers of the 20th century, and this story is one of his best, full of intrigue, betrayal, love, deception, and a moving consideration of the toll that even cold wars can take on the conscience. It’s not as flashy as one of Ian Fleming’s James Bond stories, but it’s certainly more thoughtful and substantial. The ending of Spy will stick with you long after you turn the last page. If you haven’t dug into this genre of fiction, this one is a great entrypoint.
- Digital Minimalism, by Cal Newport — I’ve written about his one pretty extensively already, so I won’t rehash it here. Suffice it to say, this one is a book that I’m glad I read and took summary notes on, because I want to keep coming back to Newport’s idea of intentional, limited digital technology use as a way to limit the negative effects of social media and online life.
- Bad Blood, by John Carryrou — I don’t often read current-year exposes or true-crime non-fiction, but I first heard about the fascinating freefall of Theranos on a podcast early this year, and the story intrigued me enough to want to dive further in. Carryrou is a reporter who first broke the story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos, one of the biggest scams in American medicine and technology in the last few years. He details the story of this brilliant young woman whose charisma and drive to succeed helped her to perpetuate a multi-million-dollar medical research scheme that eventually exploded in her face. Some of the events are so outlandish as to defy belief in even a fictional account. I really enjoyed this one. You will, too.
- Competing Spectacles, by Tony Reinke — I’ve written about this one as well, so I’ll just reiterate that this book is an important one for our visual and digital age, because it not only addresses the artifice of digital spectacles, but it focuses on how it affects our hearts and souls as people made in the image of God. This theological aspect is something missing from many other analyses of the affect of screen culture on human life.
And as it happens, Competing Spectacles is the free audiobook for the month of January over at ChristianAudio.com, so if you are interested in checking it out, you should head over and sign up to get your free download. (No sponsorship/affiliate link there–I just found out about this today and wanted to share!)
What was the best book you read in 2019? Let us know in the comments!
6 thoughts on “The4thDave’s 2019 Reading List!”
Probably no surprise to you, but my favorite read was “Before the Throne.”
Also, if you are interested in another graphic novel in place of “Watchmen,” you should check out “Squadron Supreme” (written around the same time).
Nice! And yeah, I’ll take a look. Thanks!
I had kind of a down year in terms of books finished in 2019. It was only thanks to a strong finish that I even hit 30. *hangs head in shame* but I did read some five star books:
“In the Country” a short story collection by Mia Alvar
“The Death and Life of the Great Lakes” (non fiction)
“Pleased to Meet Me” (non fiction)
“Quichotte” (Salman Rushdie’s latest)
“Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”
“The Moves that Matter” by chess Grandmaster Jonathan Rowson (not necessarily about chess, but rather life)
Reviewing your list, and other than the Bradbury novella, we don’t have any reads in common, but I don’t read much on the theological front.
Thanks for the recommendations, Jay! Gives me some things to look for at the library this year. And goodness, you read enough short stories to count for at least a few more books!
If you are ever interested in or curious about Christian theology, I would recommend the late Dr. R. C. Sproul. His writing is consistently winsome, thoughtful, and earnest. He has a series of short ebooks that are free to download.
Happy new year, sir!
I just got done reading Deep Work so I’m give to give Digital Minimalism a whirl. Thanks for the review.
Thanks for commenting! I hope it’s a benefit to you.