My Favorite Books of 2019

Each year around this time I list my top books read over the past year in philosophy, theology, apologetics, fiction, and non-fiction. As much as it pains me, I’ll restrict myself to the top three in each of these categories. As is custom, I will list them with my one sentence description of the book, as written in my book log. As a bonus, this year I also include the favorite reads of Ethel and the kids! Here we go:


Best in Philosophy

  • Substance and the Fundamentality of the Familiar, by Ross D. Inman. “A clear defense of the priority of substances.”
  • After Virtue, by Alasdair MacIntyre. “The modern moral order is fragmented. Only a return to a virtue scheme can provide a rational foundation for morality.”
  • Mind and Cosmos, by Thomas Nagel. “A tightly argued book against reductive materialism.”





Best in Theology

  • Seeking God in the Story, by John Navone. “A rich exploration of the theology of story.”
  • Theodicy of Love, by John Peckham. “God is slandered by the devil and allows rules of engagement to show his goodness.”
  • Heavenly Participation, by Hans Boersma. “A wonderful unpacking of the sacramental view of the world and its relevance to doctrine.”





Best in Apologetics

  • Signature in the Cell, by Stephen Meyer. “A sustained argument that intelligent design is the best explanation for the origin of the biological information necessary for life.
  • How Reason Can Lead to God, by Joshua Rasmussen. “A powerful an clear argument from reason and experience to God.”
  • A Fortunate Universe, by Geraint Lewis and Luke Barnes. “An accessible and wide-ranging discussion of our fine-tuned universe.”





Best in Fiction

  • Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens. “A powerful story of love and loneliness, nature and grace.”
  • The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. “A moving story of loss and destruction and the human spirit to hope.”
  • The Wingfeather Saga (four books), by Andrew Peterson. “A tale of goodness over evil, love over hatred, and Winged Throne Wardens over Toothy cows in the world of Airewar.”





Best in Non-Fiction

  • Educated, by Tara Westover. “A gripping memoir about the gradual waking up of the mind from an oppressive and reclusive Mormonism.”
  • The River of Doubt, by Candice Millard. “A fascinating story of Teddy Roosevelt’s journey down an uncharted river in the Amazon in 1913.”
  • The Girl with Seven Names, by Hyeonseo Lee. “An inspiring story of one girl’s journey to find freedom outside the North Korean regime.”





And now, for the rest of my family!

Ethel’s favorites

  • Non-fiction: Faith of the Outsider, by Frank Anthony Spina
  • Fiction: Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng





Austin’s favorites (a sophomore in college)

  • Fiction: The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink
  • Fiction: For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway





Mattie’s favorites (a senior in High School)

  • Non-fiction: Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
  • Fiction: That Hideous Strength, by C. S. Lewis





Travis’s favorites (a sophomore in High School)

  • Non-fiction: The Stranger Beside Me, by Ann Rule
  • Fiction: The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton





Joshua’s favorites (a middle schooler)

  • Non-Fiction: The River of Doubt, by Candice Millard
  • Fiction: The Hound of Rowan, by Henry H. Neff






For my favorite books of previous years see the following links: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012.

My challenge from 2013:

“Become a reader of books—children’s books, big people books, popular literature, biographies, books in philosophy, theology, science, leadership books, and so on. You’ll learn a thing or two, you’ll be awakened and stirred to live a dramatic life of your own, and you’ll just be more interesting. So, pull up a chair, fill your coffee mug, and join me this year as we read together. And of course, stay tuned as many of the books I’ll be reading make their way onto this blog.”

Add your favorite reads from the past year in the comment section below. Now, pick up a good book and enjoy your 2020!










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