Top 10 Books of 2020
This year, I read over 50 books. I keep a running total of my books I read each year and then pit them against each other. I rate the books as better or worse in my subjective sense: Did this book change me? Was it well written? Did it keep my attention? Would I want to reread it? My favorite book every year is the Bible. That said, here are my next favorites in descending order.
10. The Life of God in the Soul of Man: Real Religion by Henry Scougal. This is the oldest book and shortest book, written in 1677 and 45 pages. The author died at 27, yet, his truths and wisdom are beyond his years and fitting for today.
9. Descriptions and Prescriptions: A Biblical Perspective on Psychiatric Diagnoses and Medications by Michael Emlet. This takes a serious look at medication for the mind, its benefits, and dangers. He is not against prescription medication; however, he recognizes that our solutions to our mental health problems are not solved simply with pills.
8. Competing Spectacles: Treasuring Christ in the Media Age by Tony Reinke. This was the only Audiobook I listened to this year. It was so timely. Tony is a senior writer for Desiring God ministries.
7. Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making by Andrew Peterson. This was a fabulous book that catalogs Andrew's life and present calling and how we can redeem the creative arts as Christians. At the end of his book, he has several lists of books to read. I always appreciate the author's recommended readings.
6. Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard. She has written three books. I love them all. If you want to learn a little about American history, medicine, science, and James Garfield in a fun way, read this book. You won't be able to put it down.
5. Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold by C.S. Lewis. This is a take on an ancient Greek tale. I love all things Lewis, and I think this has been in my top ten before. Our book club discussed this book, and the insights we found were profound. When we love a person, do we love them or love the idea of them? Do we love a person for who they are or for what they do for us? How pure is our love? This book is disturbing because of its complexity and the challenge it presents to your conscience.
4. The Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie. I traveled to Peru earlier in 2020 before the pandemic struck. I wanted to learn more about the history of the people there. This book saddened me by the lies and evil of the conquistadors. It also shocked me by the wickedness of the leadership of the Incas. This book takes the reader back in time and details how about a hundred men conquered one of the most powerful and vast empires on the planet, totaling about 10,000,000 people. It also details recent discoveries about the Inca people and how they disappeared.
3. When God Weeps by Joni Erikson Tada and Steve Estes. How do we deal with tragedy? Joni understands that question personally. This book offers her wisdom to us fellow suffers in profound ways. We have a God who cares about us more than we can imagine and in ways, we may never consider.
2. On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser. Zinsser taught this book at Yale before writing it. This should be required reading for everyone in high school student and beyond. It was well written, kept my attention, taught me a thing or two, and was enjoyable to read.
1. A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis. This book is short: about four chapters long. It is more like a journal. Lewis writes about how he just lost his wife to cancer, his wrestle with God, pain, loss, and suffering. His honesty is raw. He goes back and forth on his faith. I won't tell you how it ends.