Need some fresh ideas for your reading list? A good book to encourage, inspire and mentor you in the year ahead? Here are my picks for books to read in 2018, straight off my personal list. Hopefully you can find a few to add to your list as well. Please note, some of the link below are affiliate links which support this blog. You can read more about that on the disclosure page.
One of my favorite goals I set each year, is a reading goal. Long a fan of words, a few years back I set a reading goal for the very first time and where it ending up leading, well, I never would have guessed.
Last year I was listening to a podcast on mentoring when Myquillyn Smith mentioned that some of her best mentors she had never even met – they were books. I had never considered that before, but I very much agree. Of course books cannot replace a real conversation, but their power as an effective tool in our lives is far beyond entertainment.
My reading goals have varied quite a bit over the past few years depending on other goals and priorities I have set, but today I’m sharing 20 books that are making my list for 2018, as well as 4 of my absolute favorites from 2017. I spend months adding to this list, researching suggestions and noting recommendations. I hope you find a few that catch your interest and you can add to your list for the year as well. (You can find prior years suggestions here and here.)
That subtitle alone might be enough to earn a spot on my list, but it also came highly recommended from readers I trust. And then there is this endorsement by Emily P. Freeman, “If it were possible to combine the voices of Dallas Willard, N. D. Wilson and Jim Gaffigan, then what you would get is Adam S. McHugh.” What? I’m reading it just to experience that combination right there!
I love everything I’ve ever read by Sally Clarkson; her heart and wisdom and the way she serves is so honorable. Plus, I value hospitality and seek to be continually reminded of it’s importance in a world that seems to make less time for it. This book brings all of that plus some of her family’s favorite recipes. I’m in.
Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul by Hannah Anderson
This book has been in my notes for over a year now but after reading through the Psalms last year I have been gripped by the loss of humility in our culture, the struggle for it in my family and most importantly, my own desperate need for it. Pride leaks in undetected, but noticing this is changing not only my own heart, but the way I parent as well. I’m looking forward to spending some time intentionally studying humility this year.
No More Faking Fine: Ending the Pretending by Esther Fleece
I have read a few articles by this author and her work is always poignant and beautiful. Her words here are just a taste: “For so much of my life, I thought sucking it up and faking away the pain showed true strength. But real strength is identifying a wound and asking God to enter it.” Yes.
Walking on Water: Reflection on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle
My husband got me this book for Christmas this year. Except he didn’t. Because he thinks books make boring gifts. So I bought this book and put it under the tree with a little from him to me note on it. Yes, yes, I really did that. Anyhow, I’m reading this lovely Christmas gift right now while also reading through A Wrinkle in Time with my kids. Besides being an insightful and beautiful work, knowing the heart behind the author whilst reading her fiction work makes me appreciate her art all the more.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Yes, I’m doubling down on L’Engle this year and reading these books in tandem has been a treat as the non-fiction provides valuable insight into the fiction. I’m not much of a fantasy fan myself, but pairing these two books has given me a greater appreciation for the later. The new movie based on this book comes out in theaters in April so if you live by the book before the movie rule, now might be a good time to pick this one up.
Seeking Allah Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity by Nabeel Quershi
I actually just finished this book this week. If you have ever wanted to know more about Muslim culture and ideals, if you care about the logical debate of faith, if you want to know what the conversion process might look like for someone raised deep in a differing faith, you will love this one. The story of one man, friendship, family and how God revealed himself to someone brave enough to ask is important in so many ways.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Jackman
Am I the only one who hasn’t read this one? 15,278 reviews on Amazon. That’s kind of unheard of. Published in 2015, so many people have had this book on their list of favorites so I’m joining the masses and reading this promising fiction this year.
A Timbered Choir by Wendell Berry
Why yes, I did just add poetry to my list for the first time ever. Strange? Maybe, but I’m okay with that. I bought this book last year with the goal of working poetry into my reading diet, but I haven’t been super discipled about it. However, I see the value in it, in appreciating words for their art, in slow digestion and metered timing. I’m putting this one on my list year so I can prioritize being faithful with it. Hoping I can work it into my habit loop.
At Home in the World: Reflections of Belonging While Wandering the Globe by Tsh Oxenreider
I’m adding this one to the list with care. It has been recommended to me numerous times, but it scares me. Truly. Because reading about going all the places makes me want to go all the places. After reading Chasing Francis a couple years ago I was convinced I needed to go to Italy. Tomorrow. I have a fear that this book will have me wanting to pack up my kids and travel the world as well. Tomorrow. So I’m reading this one bravely with hopes that I can stay level headed in the process and reap the wisdom of what home really is. No promises though.
The Dean’s Watch by Elizabeth Goudge
This book has been on my to-read list since 2015. 2015! It’s tired of waiting. Plus I was reminded by a friend this summer about the beautiful writing style of Elizabeth Goudge. I can’t believe I have ignored this one so long, but I’m adding it to my list of fiction for 2018. It is set in a cathedral in 19th century England. I might need to keep my wanderlust guard up on this one as well.
Daring to Hope by Katie Davis Majors
This title alone is enough to lure me in because I so very much believe that it takes courage to hope. But the fact that it’s a memoir, is written by Katie Davis and has been highly recommended by several friends is a good bet too. I’m looking forward to this memoir.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
I am 37 years old and have never read this book. Each year I try to make room for a classic or two and, honestly, I might have might have gone my whole life without reading this one. But it’s a joint venture with my 12 year old. At his request. From what I can see, joint ventures at his request decline somewhat with age, so I have an ulterior motive here – connecting with my almost teenage son and reading a classic. We’re a quarter of the way through and I have no regrets.
Steal Away Home by Matt Carter and Aaron Ivey
This is a Christmas gift (not from my husband 😉 ) that I might not have picked up on my own. I rather like that. A hot off the press historical narrative focusing on the unlikely friendship of Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson, an American slave born into captivity. I do not read enough in the way of history so I am glad to have this one on my list this year.
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
I listened to this one on audio, which seems fitting as it is a collection of speeches given by Lewis, but there is so much to digest I think I would prefer the print version. So I intend to take my time with this one this year.
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
Another wildly popular and recent bestseller, Lilac Girls is a historical fiction novel set in World War II and is inspired by actual events and people. The reviews of this one are excellent.
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
A modern classic said to make “small studies out of great subjects”, personally I like Elizabeth Eliot’s opinion of the book. “[He] puts the hay where the sheep can reach it – plainly shows us ordinary folk what it means to know God.” I am ordinary folk and I am interested in what Packer has to say.
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
My goal is to keep a writing book in my repertoire at all times. This book is said to focus on creativity, habit formation, writing exercises and deal specifically with the challenges and limiting beliefs to creative confidence. It promises large, but also comes highly recommended so it will be my writing related read for the year.
Evidence Not Seen: A Woman’s Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II by Darlene Dribbler Rose
Are you sensing a theme here? Again set in WWII, this is the author’s own account of the four years she spent in a Japanese prison camp while serving as a missionary in New Guinea. Separated from her new husband and facing unthinkable horrors her faith never wavered. Stories like this need to be told. And read. Doing that this year.
Yes, I put the Bible on my book list. Is that weird? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the Bible on someone’s booklist before so it may be weird, but I’m okay with that. I am using the M’Cheyne approach located in the back of my She Reads Truth Bible – you have seen how beautiful this Bible is, right? – to mix things up a bit, but I am both nervous (because it’s a hefty commitment, right?) and excited about this one. Twelve days in and so far I’m keeping up.
And a bonus – my four favorite picks from 2017
Letters to My Daughters: The Art of Being a Wife by Barbara Rainey
This might just be my favorite marriage book I have ever read. So many books are written about the newlywed years but what about all the years after that? The years when marriage is still really hard at times and yet the struggles are quite different than they were in the early years. This book is the antidote. So much clear truth on issues many of us have or will struggle with at some point in our married life. Conversational and not at all pretensious, I really loved this book. And its absolutely beautiful. Always a bonus.
I was a slow adopter on this one. Even though it came highly recommended from several trusted sources I didn’t see technology as much of an issue in my home right now. I’m so glad I caved. Far beyond solely addressing the common surface issues such as distraction and pornography, this book delves into why we should give pause when it comes to technology. It talks research and science along with practicality and relationship and ultimately it helped me define the real costs of technology in my home so I can determine our limits and proceed without fear.
The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller
Short of a children’s picture book, this will be the most concise book you read all year. It’s 48 pages. And it packs a major punch. I’m pretty sure I should read it every year. Put it on your list, because it’s that powerful and it’s so short you are guaranteed to finish at least one book this year. You’re welcome.
That is a subtitle that will grip you, right? If you have not read Sara Hagerty before you are in for a treat with this one, friend. She is a master crafter of words and the highest compliment I can give is that each time I read her work, I want to know Jesus even more. That is success in my opinion.
There you go – a vast and varied list of books to read in the year ahead. What about you? Do make a list or set reading goals for the year ahead? Have a favorite book from 2017? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!