Many people have expressed how different their reading habits were in 2020, particularly since the onset of the virus and subsequent quarantines. Some consumed heavy doses of sci-fi or dystopian worlds filled with plagues and conspiracy theories. Some read voraciously, but most friends I have heard from, found it difficult to maintain adequate concentration for sustained reading.

While I did not suffer from a lack of attention, I did notice a few changes. In 2020, I read considerably fewer novels. I was choosier in curating my reading list. This was a rough year in many ways for me. I craved books that would be spiritually healing, emotionally helpful, and communally engaging. Consequently, I enjoyed and valued almost every book I read this past year.

I primarily read theology, books on pastoral care, a handful of literary fiction, and some titles on history and racial justice. I guess I should also mention a few classics and young adult chapter books to keep up with my guys’ home school reads.

For any who are interested, I am including two book lists. The first list includes my, favorite eight books from this past year, which were published in 2019 or 2020. I include them alphabetically by title. Instead of writing descriptions, I have provided links to each of the titles. Technically, the first was just officially released January 2021, but I purchased a pre-order copy and finished reading it by mid December.

Art + Faith: A Theology of Making

Author: Makoto Fujimura

Publisher: Yale University Press, Jan. 2021

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Author: Isabel Wilkerson

Publisher: Random House, Aug. 2020

The Dutch House: A Novel

Author: Ann Patchett

Publisher: Harper, Sept. 2019

The Generosity: Poems

Author: Luci Shaw

Publisher: Paraclete Press, Aug. 2020

A Gentle Answer: Our “Secret Weapon” in An Age of Us Against Them

Author: Scott Sauls

Publisher: Thomas Nelson, June 2020

Jack: A Novel

Author: Marilynne Robinson

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Sept. 2020

Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope

Author: Esau McCauley

Publisher: InterVarsity Press Academic, Sept. 2020

Scandalous Witness: A Little Political Manifesto for Christians

Author: Lee C. Camp

Publisher: Eerdmans, Mar. 2020

This second list contains the six books from 2020 and 2021 that I am most looking forward to reading this year. One of them (How to Fight Racism) I have already started, and am, so far, enjoying it.

The Great Belonging: How Loneliness Leads Us to Each Other

Author: Charlotte Donlon

Publisher: Broadleaf Books, Nov. 2020

How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice by [Jemar Tisby]

How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice

Author: Jemar Tisby

Publisher: Zondervan, Jan. 2021

Keys to Bonhoeffer’s Haus: Exploring the World and Wisdom of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Author: Laura M. Fabrycky

Publisher: Fortress Press, Mar. 2020

Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep

Author: Tish Harrison Warren

Publisher: InterVarsity Press, Jan. 2021

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life

Author: George Saunders

Publisher: Random House, Jan. 2021

Transcendent Kingdom: A Novel

Author: Yaa Gyasi

Publisher: Knopf, Sept. 2020

Would you care to share your favorite reads of 2020?

How did you choose what to read last year? Have you changed how or what or when you read?

What are you most looking forward to reading next?

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