Favorite Books of 2021 (Part II)

Every six months I like to share my top reads in both Christian-living/theology and fiction. Hopefully one of these will strike your fancy. If you’ve got any recommendations for me, I’d love to hear them. I’m always on the prowl for my next great read!

  • Flourish by Lydia Brownback—Brownback tackles a universal problem in her book: the fear of man. Known by many other names (poor self-esteem, co-dependency, people pleasing), fear of man can be crippling and even paralyzing. We can relive every encounter with another person, analyzing every word, gesture, and response. In Flourish, Brownback offers hope to be set free from self-consciousness, self-improvement, self-analysis, self-indulgence, self-condemnation, and self-victimization by digging into God’s Word and pointing the reader to Christ. You ought to read this book because, like me, you suffer from self-focus. We all do.

  • God of All Things by Andrew Wilson—Maybe you’ve heard of this book, (I’m not the first to put it on my “favorites” list.) but perhaps, like me, you’ve dismissed it as something frivolous and not very meaty. I was wrong on both counts. In short chapters, Wilson examines everyday objects as they appear throughout Scripture and helps make Gospel connections with them. In short, he wrote a very readable book on biblical theology. If you’re not sure what that is, pick up God of All Things, and you’ll understand. It will help you see continuity within Scripture and grow in your ability to unpack its unfolding story.

  • I Still Do by Paul Harvey—If I were to recommend one book on marriage, it would most likely be Harvey’s first book on the topic, When Sinners Say I Do. Harvey has now returned to the subject with what he calls a “ten-year tune-up” for your marriage. Harvey dives into ten “defining moments” for marriage, ranging from struggles with blame and brokenness to suffering and sex. Harvey is winsome, humble, and biblical. Your marriage will undoubtedly benefit from this book, even if you haven’t yet experienced all ten defining moments.

  • The Right Kind of Confident by Mary Kassian—Written in the midst of the COVID shutdown, this book delves into a timeless topic that seems especially relevant right now: fear. Kassian tells us that ironically the thing we need most to gain confidence is fear–not the kind of fear you’re thinking of. The fear of the Lord. Kassian examines both sinful fear and godly fear and shows how each leads toward or away from confidence. She’ll also help you evaluate whether the confidence that you currently have is biblical or sinful. This is an insightful read from a gifted author.

  • The Gown by Jennifer Robson—This dual-timeline novel tells the story of two women who worked on then-Princess Elizabeth’s wedding dress. Curiously, however, one of these women never told a soul in her family about this most auspicious privilege. Why not? That’s what her granddaughter wants to find out. Robson takes the reader forward and backward in time to tell the story of these two women and their lives in the wake of WWII. If you enjoy historical fiction or are an Anglophile, you’ll probably enjoy this read.
    CONTENT WARNING: This novel does contain one scene involving sexual assault. It’s not gratuitous or graphic, but it could be a trigger for readers with a sensitivity in that area.

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