I read over 500 books last year from various genres, many of them children’s picture books. When I tried to cut them down to my top 10 reads for the year, it was basically impossible. So I’ve split them up into multiple posts.
This post is dedicated to my favorite nonfiction reads from 2019.
# 10: Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
This book was a hard read for me because it taught me so much about myself and how to build healthy relationships. I rarely find Christian authors who take both a realistic and godly approach to dealing with abusive relationships. I also loved the sections with advice on how to teach your children about boundaries. I loaned my copy out about a month after I read it.
#9: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
I read a lot of books last year which were personal accounts of the poor and oppressed. This one was recommended by one of my favorite professors. It was eye-opening and heartbreaking. I wish I was made to read more accounts like this while in school. Reading it this year in conjunction with The Fire Next Time and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass taught me so much.
This book was so heartbreaking that I could only read it in small chunks. If you haven’t read it please do. It’s an important piece of American History that we all should be aware of.
#7: You Can Pray: Finding Grace to Pray Every Day by Tim Chester
This was one of the many fantastic books I read for the Milford Bible Church Book of the Month club. I only made it out to two meetings, but all the books were phenomenal. This one came to me at the perfect time. I read most of it during one of the hardest weeks of my PTSD treatment. It encouraged me to pray through the darkness.
#6. Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt
Frank McCourt’s account of his childhood as a poor Irish Catholic was everything I love to see in a book. McCourt’s gift for storytelling is undeniable and well worth his Pulitzer. This book was a strange mixture of tragedy and humor. There was so much heartache that I felt bad when the laughs came, but some of it was clearly written to at least draw a wry smile. The truth is that most tragedies I’ve experienced are a confusing mixture of laughter and tears. I think that’s one of the reasons this book is so true.
#5: A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering American on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson is one of my favorite authors. His prose is lovely and his writing has a deliciously dry and biting sense of humor. He weaves the history of the Appalachian trail with events from his personal journey into a fascinating and poignant story. I also read and loved Bryson’s I’m a Stranger Here Myself last year.
#4: The Daring Mission of William Tyndale by Steven J. Lawson
I did a lot of research on William Tyndale last year because I wrote the character sketches for Milford Bible Church’s 2019 Reformation Celebration. My mind was still full of Tyndale facts in November, so I decided to attempt a historical fiction piece as my 2019 NaNoWriMo project. That was when I picked up this book. I loved the way it neatly summarized Tyndale’s life without cutting out important aspects of his journey. It also introduced me to the Long Line of Godly Men Profile series which I’m thoroughly enjoying. I’ve read two other books in the series so far, one on Martin Luther and one on John Knox.
#3: Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer is an amazing author. His prose is spectacular and his research fantastic. Krakauer is a journalist and an avid climber. This book was about a tragic accident that happened during the expedition he climbed with. It gave me a greater appreciation for the difficulty and danger of climbing.
#2: Educated: a Memoir by Tara Westover
Westover’s memoir about being raised in the mountains by religious zealots and her eventual introduction to the world outside was gripping and beautifully written. This is a book I would have preferred to read from a greater distance. I found too much of Tara’s emotional journey resonating with my own. But it meant a lot to hear someone else speaking the words that I’ve held silent inside me for so long. It made me feel less alone.
#1: Christ from Beginning to End: How the Full Story of Scripture Reveals the Full Glory of Christ by Trent Hunter and Stephen Wellum
Westover’s memoir was a clear number one until I read this book later in the year. Hunter and Wellum’s book explains how the message of the gospel is developed throughout the Old and New Testament. It changed my life. The teaching of my childhood was convoluted at best and left me feeling that the God of the Old and New Testament were two different beings. A changeable God is about as reliable as the myths of Mount Olympus. Hunter and Wellum’s book changed the way I read the Bible. It opened my eyes to the story of salvation and how God has been calling to the hearts of men with grace and love from Genesis and Revelation.