It’s time for the annual lists of favorite books read this year! If you are hoping to read more in 2024, or you are looking for gifts for a reader, I hope this list is helpful for you. These are not necessarily new books (though some are) but books that I personally read this year.
In no particular order, here are my 10 favorite reads of 2023:
The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth
This is a fun book for anyone who deals with words (writer, teacher, regular emailer, etc.). Mark goes through different figures of rhetoric in a helpful and entertaining way that will certainly keep your attention and, hopefully, help your communication.
Pastor, Jesus is Enough by Jeremy Writebol
With grace and compassion, Jeremy reminds worn out pastors that Jesus is enough (and we are not!). As a pastor, this book greatly encouraged me from the letters of Revelation 2-3 to keep my eyes on the all-sufficient Christ!
Strange New World by Carl Trueman
Most of us would agree that we are living in a strange new world. Ideas that merely ten years ago were unheard of are now assumed to be true. Ideas that were the norm just a few years ago are now considered “unsafe.” How did we get here? Carl Trueman shows how “expressive individualism” has taken hold on our culture’s thinking and the effects it has produced.
Grant by Ron Chernow
For the third year in row I’ve finished a very long, but excellent, Chernow biography. After reading Hamilton and George Washington, I had to read his work on Ulysses S. Grant and strengthen my knowledge of the Civil War era. From unlikely battle victories to presidential struggles, this book is engaging and entertaining.
Seasons of Sorrow by Tim Challies
While I’ve enjoyed every book on this list, none moved me like this one. After dealing with the unexpected loss of his son, Challies records his thoughts and struggles while he battles to keep his eyes on Christ. I felt the heavy weight of loss in every chapter, but Challies didn’t leave me there. No matter how sad, no matter how painful, I was reminded over and over of the goodness of God and his sufficiency even in the worst situations.
Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul
This one is a classic. Not many people can take such a complex idea like election and simplify it, but that is what Sproul is known for. If you’ve ever battled with the many passages that talk about God choosing people, this book will help you work through it in a biblical and simplified way.
The Gender Revolution by Patricia Weerakoon
Transgender ideology has taken over, or so it seems. Weerakoon shows from both a biblical and biological perspective that the best way to love our neighbor is to oppose such ideology, and how to do so with compassion. If you are looking for biblical answers and information from the latest research, this book is helpful and compelling.
Memorizing Scripture by Glenna Marshall
Most Christians agree that we need to memorize Scripture, but yet we find ourselves continually not doing it. Marshall provides an overview of the advantages of memorizing Scripture as well as practical ways we can add it into our lives. If nothing else, this will motivate you to take Scripture memory more seriously!
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This is a reread of and instant classic. This historical fiction is set in Europe during World War II and traces the events of a young girl from Paris and a young German soldier during the war. One person commented that “there’s not one lazy sentence in the whole book” and I have to agree.
Seeing Beauty and Saying Beautifully by John Piper
Speaking of lazy sentences, you’ll want to eliminate them all after reading Piper’s book. He examines the work of George Herbert, George Whitefield, and C.S. Lewis and argues that these men were able to write/speak beautifully because they were constantly seeing and savoring the beauty of Christ. Such beauty encourages us to put out a “poetic effort” to speak in a way that amplifies the glory of God!