Favorite Books of 2013

This will be my last post for about ten days, as I will be enjoying some down time – unplugged – with my family as we ring in the new year.

So, Happy New Year to you, dear reader. I hope to see you back frequently in 2014, writing ideas are abounding.

My goal is always to read a book a week, and this past year I was able to maintain that pace. With that being said, I wanted to end 2013 with my five favorite books of the 52 I read this past year.

These are not necessarily published in 2013, but I recommend them all very highly.

5. Persuader, Lee Child

I start you off with a work of fiction. With Tom Cruise starring in a Jack Reacher movie this past year, I wanted to get the background. Persuader was the first of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series that I read (the seventh in the Reacher series) and I was immediately hooked. In fact, in a fit of OCD I read 15 books in the series in a couple months, rare for me since I don’t usually read so much fiction.

Jack Reacher is an ex Army military police investigator who has chosen a life of wandering from town to town to see the country that he spent so long protecting. This leads him to use his investigative skills in many unexpected places. Great books if you like action and mystery.

4. The Importance of Being Foolish, Brennan Manning

One of the sad moments for me in 2013 was the loss of Brennan Manning. About five years ago Manning’s book Ruthless Trust was instrumental in helping me begin the journey understanding grace. His writing is such a contrast to the performance based Christianity that we are inundated with in western culture. Even though I never met him nor corresponded with him, I felt Manning was a mentor.

A used copy of this book was sent to me this year, and I immediately put it atop my reading pile and was not disappointed. Manning has a way of inviting you into God’s grace, for me, a reminder that grace is not a one time experience but a state that we live in. This book was a timely read for me. If you have not yet, read a Brennan Manning book.

3. Quiet, Susan Cain

I love books that help me understand people. Susan Cain’s book was a wonderful look into the beauty and strengths of the introvert. It was an enlightening reminder that introversion is not so much about need for relationship – everyone needs relationship – but the types of relationship energy is derived from. This book helped me to understand how I, as a leader and coach, can give the space in which an introvert can thrive.

It also reminded me that everyone is not created like me – and that is a very good thing.

2. Renewal as a Way of Life, Richard Lovelace

In this book, Lovelace talks about living for the kingdom of God. So, he deals with what the kingdom is and how God shapes us – renews us – for life in the kingdom. The first two-thirds of this book were its strength and it is worth any price you have to pay to get a copy and digest what Lovelace writes. After reading this I picked up a copy of his book Dynamics of Spiritual Life, which is a more in depth treatment of what he writes about in Renewal.

1. The Deeper Journey, M. Robert Mulholland

This is far and away the best book I read in 2013. In fact, I put it back in my pile to read again in 2014.

Mulholland looks at the Bible’s references to the flesh and relates that to the false self. From there he builds a theology of response to the false self. Answering the question of what it means to deny our (false) self and live in Christ. It is available on Kindle and there are lots of cheap used copies on Amazon. Do your self a favor and pick up this book.

Now it’s your turn, what one book would you recommend to me for my reading list?

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