Last week I shared my top fiction books of 2019. This week, I’m sharing about the non-fiction books I’ve enjoyed this year. I hope this gives you some reading inspiration for 2020!
They are listed in no particular order. It was hard enough to choose which ones to include. I had originally planned to feature five fiction books and five non-fiction, but as you can see, I’ve snuck in a sixth here!
Nice by Sharon Hodde Miller
“God did not call you to be nice.”
And yet, as Christians, too often we feel that is what we’re called to be – to be pleasant and polite, not to offend anyone, to play by the rules.
In this book, Sharon Hodde Miller challenges that idea. She explores how niceness can become an idol, and she challenges us that, if we are going to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, we are called to more than just being nice.
The book is filled with relatable real-life stories and some memorable illustrations that bring the points to life.
A challenging read, but definitely worthwhile!
We Too by Mary DeMuth
There are far too many stories of the church dealing badly with issues around sexual abuse – disbelieving or silencing victims, covering up incidents and protecting perpetrators, or just responding badly to individuals in a way that adds to their pain.
This book is a powerful call to the church to take the topic of childhood sexual abuse seriously and to respond in a way that is redemptive and life-giving.
The book features many real-life stories (both good and bad) as well as biblical examples and practical advice.
Mary DeMuth writes as one who loves the church and longs to see it fulfil its potential as a place of justice, hope, and healing.
I would go so far as to say that this book should be a “must-read” for anyone involved in Christian leadership or ministry.
What Is A Girl Worth? by Rachael Denhollander
This memoir tells the story of Rachael Denhollander’s fight for justice for herself and for several other gymnasts who had been sexually abused by USA Gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar.
It is not an easy read, but it is an important and a powerful one. It highlights just how hard Rachael had to fight to ultimately see Larry Nassar convicted, and there is a lot to learn from her story.
It is a compelling read and a powerful challenge not to turn a blind eye or to live in denial, but to fight for our children and their safety and to believe survivor of abuse and support them in their quest for justice.
Confronting Christianity by Rebecca McLaughlin
This book looks at twelve common questions asked about Christianity, for example:
- Doesn’t Christianity crush diversity?
- How can you say there’s only one true faith?
- Isn’t Christianity homophobic?
- How could a loving God allow so much suffering?
Rebecca McLaughlin provides answers to these questions that are incredibly thorough and well-thought-through. She draws on the Bible but also on historical and scientific research; she shares real-life, and personal, stories; she takes seriously the objections people may have to Christianity and addresses them in a way that is compassionate and empathetic.
These are no quick pat answers, but thoughtful and detailed explorations of each of the topics and yet, despite this, the book is still very readable and the arguments are easy to follow.
I’d definitely recommend this for people who are struggling with some of these questions about Christianity, as well as to those who would like to be better-equipped to discuss these topics with others.
Influence by Kate Motaung and Shannon Popkin
My favourite book for writers this year!
For many Christian writers, there is a tension: we believe God has given us something to share and we want to get that message out, but we don’t want to get distracted by the pressure to build a platform or to make a name for ourselves.
That’s exactly the issue this book tackles. It is not so much a “how to” guide, but a “why to” guide. It focusses on examining your heart and your motivation for writing or sharing. Kate and Shannon each share parts of their own stories as well as pointing us to the Bible and the example of Jesus.
I found it helpful in reflecting on my own writing journey and it helped me to consider how to move forward making sure that my focus was correct – seeking to glorify God, not myself.
The Peg And The Pumice Stone by Glyn Jones
This book should certainly take the prize for most intriguing title!
Is actually a book about evangelism, which is something that many of us find daunting. We want to share our faith in Jesus, and we know that it is something we should be doing as Christians, but we often struggle to know how to get started.
If you’re looking for some encouragement and inspiration in this area, then The Peg And The Pumice Stone is a helpful read. It contains several real-life stories of evangelism in action. Glyn Jones is a wonderful storyteller, which makes it enjoyable and easy to read, but it is also challenging and thought-provoking. The stories are honest, moving, and often humorous, providing insights into the joys and challenges of sharing faith with others.
I appreciated the encouragement that there is no one fixed way to do evangelism, but that we can each find a way that suits our style and personality, as well as the assurance that God can use our imperfect efforts if we make ourselves available to him.
What about you? What non-fiction reads have you enjoyed this year? I always like getting new recommendations!
I’m grateful to Baker Books, Harvest House, Tyndale House, Crossway, Instant Apostle, and Netgalley for access to complementary digital copies of some of these books. I only share books here that I genuinely believe will be beneficial to my readers.
Amazon links are not affiliate links, but simply provided for your convenience.