Best Books I Read In 2016-2017

Saturday, January 27, 2018






Since I didn’t do this last year — my family moved halfway around the world and I wasn’t really blogging much — here are my favorite five books from the past two years. I love finding the next good book to read, and I hope these suggestions will point you toward a book (or a few) well worth reading.


Widen: A Collection of Poems
by Chris Rice (2016)

More than any other book, Widen compelled me to write poetry.

A veteran singer-songwriter, Chris Rice presents himself as an amateur poet; yet I found myself enjoying and re-enjoying this humble collection more than any poetry anthology I have read.

If you, like me, are wary of wading into the often-intimidating world of poetry, this is a place be at ease, explore, and widen your appreciation. Perhaps you too will be inspired to

“Create, create, create!
Rearrange the molecules
Of the already astounding universe.”

Discipleship on the Edge: An Expository Journey Through the Book of Revelation
by Darrel W. Johnson (2004)

“Things are not as they seem.”

In this accessible book, Johnson makes the case that Revelation, the last book of the Bible, is not intended to be a detailed play-by-play of the end times. Rather, it intends to help Jesus’ disciples live courageously now by revealing (hence “Revelation”) to us a fresh and wildly artistic picture of the spiritual reality in which we all live.

This is less a commentary than a collection of sermons written with a pastor’s heart and an eye toward application.


The Martian
by Andy Weir (2011)

People sometimes describe this best-seller as a futuristic Robinson Crusoe. While Weir’s novel lacks the spiritual depth of Defoe’s classic, Weir weaves his own stellar story, relentlessly driven by the fight for survival.

The protagonist’s life-or-death ingenuity engaged me throughout, and some of the plot twists literally made me set the book down — jaw dropped — before reading on. The Martian is a thrilling and believable tale that, like most good books, is even better than its (very entertaining) movie.


Nineteen Eighty-Four
by George Orwell (1949)

This makes my list not for great storytelling (that would be The Martian, above) but for its prescient depiction (however hyperbolic) of key aspects of our current political climate.

This book didn’t impress me much when I first read it, yet it hasn’t stopped coming to mind since. Nearly seven decades after its writing, Orwell’s classic remains thought-provoking, illuminating, and shockingly relevant.

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked
by Adam Alter (2017)

Do you feel like you lack self-control when it comes to social media, smartphone apps, online gaming, and all things Internet? If so, it’s largely because the design teams behind these websites/apps/games are experts at keeping us coming back for more.

Alter insightfully examines today’s widespread behavioral addictions and offers suggestions for how to engage with technology in ways that are sustainable, appropriately cautious, and beneficial.

What were your favorite books last year? Leave a reply and let me know.

P.S. You can also check out the Best Books I Read in 2015.


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Originally posted at Be Yourself.

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