My favorite books of 2018

My favorite books of 2018

Books I read for seminary:

Speaking of Sin – Barbara Brown Taylor

We don’t talk about sin a lot at my church, but this book challenged me to think of sin not as threatening, but hopeful. When we name our sins we can actually pursue real repentance and restoration of relationships.

The Story Factor – Annette Simmons

I got to read this for my advanced preaching class and it just reminded me once again at the power of story. I plan to re-read when school is done as there are so many good tips and tricks for anyone who wants to motivate others.

Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission – Amy Simpson

EVERY church pastor, staff person, volunteer, board member, and lay leader should read this book. Amy shares her own story as well stories from other families, in a challenge to the church to better care for those who suffer from mental illness and the people who love them.

Through the Eyes of Women: Insights for Pastoral Care – edited by Jeanne Stevenson Moessner

I didn’t read all of this book, but the chapters I read were top-notch and incredibly insightful. In fact, I forwarded a few of them on to my Pastoral Ministry professor for us to read next semester. The more time I spend in the church, the more I realize resources are generally written towards men with an assumption that women work/feel the same. But this book offers some really helpful insights into the lives and hearts of women, and pastors who want to care for them well would do well to pick it up.

Books I read for fun:

Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan

Most of the books I “read” for personal pleasure this year I actually listened to as audio books. I need fiction in my life, but as a grad student it is really hard to find the time to read for pleasure. Audio books have been a real salvation for me. This book was such a delightful story and I fell in love with so many of the characters. I was thrilled to watch the delightful film this summer too, but the book just made me happy.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I grabbed this book off my shelf as we packed up for a spring break vacation and I am so glad I did. I loved sitting by the fire morning and evenings, and on the beach as my family built sandcastles, savoring this book. Quite a few years old, and with a new Netlflix movie that is pretty darn good, but if you haven’t read this one yet I urge you to pick it up.

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Always worth a re-read. Still as powerful as ever. I wanted a refresher given my oldest is in middle school now and I anticipate this text on a reading list any day now.

This is how it Always Is – Laurie Frankel

Powerful storytelling that opened my eyes to the experiences of families with trans kids. If you want your worldview expanded and believe in the power of story to do just that, pick up this book.

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness – Austin Channing Brown

Another eye-opening book for me, this time about race, America, and the evangelical church. I’d highly recommend this book.


Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger – Rebecca Traister

This is the one book this year that I told all my girlfriends and my sister they needed to read ASAP. This book shook me and taught me so much. I listened to the audio version and have plans post-school to buy a hard copy and mark it all up. (Just between you and me, this book and a independent study last semester have planted a few seeds of writing my own book on the theology of women’s anger. We’ll see what happens…)

Educated: A Memoir – Tara Westover

This book was a bestseller this year for very good reasons. Memoir is one of my favorite genres, and I am fascinated by Mormon fundamentalism. Add to that a hardworking, strong-willed woman who finds a way to pursue education at Harvard and Cambridge and you have a serious winner.

Becoming – Michelle Obama

Somehow I got on the audiobook waitlist early enough that I got to listen to this book right as 2018 wrapped up. What a gift it was.


How about you? Did any of my books make your list? What were your favorite books of 2018? 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *