Google+ Badge

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Top 10 Christian Books Read in 2016

I decided it was again time for a book related post mainly for the benefit of those who follow me on Goodreads. My Goodreads 2016 Challenge lists 164 books surpassing my goal of 150 (actually my original goal was 100 but I increased that when I realised it had become irrelevant…)

If you are interested, you can also read my previous posts about books--Reflections of an Amateur Christian Author and 10 Reasons for Writing Honest Book Reviews.

In compiling my list, I have tried to cover a wide range of genres and sub-genres which is quite tricky as I read a lot more biographies, (especially by or about missionaries,) than anything else. I prefer books with a clear Gospel message and Christian purpose in writing. The best books are those where the message does not feel “tagged on” but is a central focus of the book without it necessarily being immediately obvious to the reader—it doesn’t feel awkward but is woven into the narrative.

The majority of the books I recommend here are clean—no bad language or sexual content and limited graphic violence. Where there is slight deviation I have commented on this in my review so you should know what to expect. You can read my Goodreads reviews by clicking on the title link and purchase the books via the Amazon links. (I am not affiliated with Amazon or any of the authors so am not benefitting from these recommendations in any way.) The books appear in the order I read them in 2016.

 1. Out of the Depths: An Unforgettable WWII Story of Survival, Courage,and the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis. I don’t read a lot of war stories but this looked unusual. The title summarises the book. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the book. I was inspired by the author’s reliance on and trust in God in terrible circumstances. There is some graphic violence which may upset some readers. (Amazon Kindle $5.91 Paperback $8.80)
 
2. The Hidden Altar. This gets my vote for best fiction by a self-published/indie author. The book actually tells two stories in alternating chapters. One story is set in the modern church and the other several centuries ago. They describe the persecution of Christians in different eras. There are some violence and torture scenes that may bother some readers. (Amazon Kindle $2.86)

3. Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World ofPoverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion,Persecution, Orphans and Pornography. Again the title gives the game away here. This book was my introduction to the author David Platt. I have since read his books Radical and Follow Me and can also recommend them. In my view Platt is a better author than speaker—I tried to listen to his sermons a few times but didn’t get on with the style. Although at times tending to extremes, Platt is a necessary voice in an age of apathy about serious biblical issues. (Amazon Kindle $8.88)

4. Girl in the Song. This is the only 4-star book on my list but it bravely tackles a controversial subject in a sensitive manner so I felt it should be included. This autobiographical account reveals the dangers of becoming unequally yoked (a believer becoming involved in a romantic relationship with anon-believer) and giving in to temptation. There are some minor theological issues hence the 4 star rating. (Amazon Kindle $8.88 Paperback $13.59)

5. Edges of Truth: The Mary Weaver Story. This biography appealed to me due to my interest in criminal justice/police/prisons and the court system due to my former profession. In this case it was a miscarriage of justice. It is rare to find a book like this written by a Christian and the author has done a fantastic job in keeping the focus where it should be. (Amazon Kindle $2.46 Paperback $13.95)

6. Peace Child. Somehow, I had missed this missionary biography despite it being on all of the best seller lists in Christian circles--I only got around to reading it last year. Richardson has a gift for taking the reader with him, I’m sure he adds a certain amount of creative detail but it works albeit with some graphic violence. I also enjoyed Lords of the Earth but Peace Child was my favourite. (Amazon Kindle $5.91 Paperback $14.99)

7. Father of Faith Missions: The Life and Times of Anthony Norris Groves(1795-1853.) This lesser known missionary biography may turn out to be my all-time favourite. It could be listed in the history genre being jam-packed with stories from the field and lessons in life—well, at over 600 pages it would have to be! The author provides an interesting overview of early Brethren circles and the well-known Christian figures of the day. Indeed, on the front cover there is a tree showing how Groves is connected to all of these people in one way or another. (Amazon Paperback $19.99)

8. Worship: The Ultimate Priority. Those who follow my reviews won’t be surprised to see a John MacArthur book amongst my favourites for 2016. He provides an overview of biblical worship emphasising that it is a way of life for a Christian and not just about music. This book reminded me of the greatness and majesty of God. (Amazon Kindle $7.02 Paperback $9.74)

9. The Sparrow Found a House (Sparrow Stories #1.) Outside my usual reading genre but nevertheless enjoyable, the author has written a wholesome family series dealing with a lot of issues that Christian teens and young adults will face in this generation. I read this because a friend asked me for a recommendation for her teenagers—there is a gap in the market for this type of literature. (Amazon Kindle $2.48 Paperback $9.99)

 10. Chase Away Cancer. I read a fair number of Christian biographies last year. Some authors seem to tag God on to their stories and don’t seem to be trusting Him completely. Others take a single event and try to fill the pages of a book resulting in a monotonous reading experience. Still others have theological issues that trouble me or too much charismatic experience as the focus. This book avoids all of my pet peeves and tells the compelling story of a young boy suffering from cancer and his family’s attempts to help him whilst trusting God. (Amazon Kindle $13.15 Paperback $9.71)

I hope my list provides you with some new recommendations, feel free to comment on my selection or on my reviews. Let’s keep our reading choices focused on God—how we can be inspired, grow spiritually and benefit from the life lessons of others.