As per usual, I’ve read a lot of good books this year. Some of the best nonfiction books, I reviewed in blog posts, and I’ve been busy adding fiction to my page on Book Reviews!
Yes, I believe most people should read some fiction. It has LOTS of great benefits. If you want to know more, click here and here. And if you want to read my list from earlier this year which listed some of my best fiction reads for 2020, click here.
But, for you nonfiction fans out there, or those of you who just want a good nonfiction to read . . . For those of you who want to add to your list of nonfiction reads for 2020, here are some of the best ones I’ve read so far this year, listed in the order that I read them.
Best Nonfiction Reads for 2020
1. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
400 pages, Social Psychology, Business Processes & Infrastructure. Fascinating and enlightening! I read this as part of a course for writers, but what I learned is highly applicable in many more areas of my life. Well written and researched, but easy to read for the average non-business student.
2. Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity by Saundra Dalton Smith
240 pages, Christian Counseling, Work Life Balance. Goodness. This book contains so much truth, so much encouragement, and so many “Oh, ouch!” moments. The author’s free test online made it easy to know which areas I needed to most focus on, but the book added tremendous value and clarity. She not only made the case for the importance of various kinds of rest for our health and sanity, she lovingly reminds us that God’s best plan for us includes it. This is likely one of those books that I’ll need to pick up every year or so to refresh its truth in my heart and mind.
3. Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God’s Voice Above All Others by Steven Furtick
242 pages, Christian Discipleship. Throughout the pages, Pastor Furtick opens his life to share some of the words from his own chatterbox, those times when the enemy only shared partial truths and disheartening facts. He also writes about those moments when he fell short of God’s plan and the chatterbox spoke harsh truth. Debilitating, life-stealing truth. Then the author turns things around with tremendous grace and not only shares the whole truth of God but offers strategies for turning the tables on our enemy. For ending the confrontation with God-ordained victory. This book offers a lot of truth and grace.
4. Chasing Vines: Finding Your Way to an Immensely Fruitful Life by Beth Moore
304 pages, Christian Discipleship, Christian Spiritual Growth. Excellent. As usual, Mrs. Moore taught me more than I thought I wanted to know about grapevines and their use and symbolism in the Bible, but I walk away richer for it. More than once as I read I had to stop and share passages with friends–at least one of which promptly purchased the book for herself. I laughed and pondered and even cried (which I don’t do easily) through the text, my respect for the author growing not because of the obvious research she put into this book but because of the way she transparently shared a couple of events that brought her great pain and turmoil. Rocky soil indeed.
Now, as the book is read and I prepare to move on, my mind still churns as I think again through some of the truths she shared and God points out areas of my life where it easily applies. Yes, this book changed me, and its words will spring to mind often in the days to come.
5. The Wisdom of Faith by Bobby Bowden with Steven Bowden
224 pages, Christian Spiritual Growth.I am not much of a football fan, college or professional, so the name of this legendary coach didn’t draw me in. No, it was the description. A man in the last segment of his life, solidly rooted in God, offering the wisdom he’s learned over his many years. Yes, please. I want that. And he delivered with all the love and concern of a grandfather passing on his most critical beliefs with a sprinkling of life stories to those he most loves. I sat and soaked in Mr. Bowden’s love as much as his wisdom, for both oozed off the pages in equal measure.
6. Attacked at Home!: A Green Beret’s Survival Story of the Fort Hood Shooting by John Arroyo, Jr.
215 pages, Military Biographies, Biographies of the Army. In most respects, the author and I have nothing in common. While I was raised with very thrifty parents, I wasn’t below the poverty line and never once worried about my next meal. Gangs were unknown to me, violence only part of my favorite television shows and mystery books, and drugs and alcohol only on the farthest peripheral of my knowledge. Yet, he drew me into the depths of his story through his internal battles and inspired me to believe, even more than I already do, in the wonders of God when He brings beauty from ashes.
Yes, John’s story is amazing and his healing from the Ft Hood shooting miraculous. He and his wife Angel share throughout the book of the tremendous heartache and difficulties they faced, but they came out the other side with gentleness and hope that radiate off the pages. This is not the story of a man who survived a terrorist attack on home soil. It is the soil of God showing Himself personally and lovingly and intimately to John and Angel, and now through them to the rest of us.
7. Relentless: The Unshakeable Presence of a God Who Never Leaves by Michele Cushatt
240 pages, Christian Inspirational, Christian Meditation and Worship. I’m still trying to get my thoughts together about this book, but it is one that I will think about for a long time to come. Michele graciously pulled back the curtain on her life and asked us to come in as she processed her difficult story and nagging questions, yet each chapter ends with great hope and faith-building truth. She gets to the heart of the question: Can I believe in and trust a loving God when life feels tremendously unloving. Her gentle answer echoes to my heart’s core.
While I listened to Michele read this book on Audible (a wonderful treat), I purchased a paperback to keep on my shelves. This is a book I not only know I will share with others but will return to myself.
8. (Un)Qualified: How God Uses Broken People to Do Big Things by Steven Furtick
224 pages, Christian Inspirational, Christian Discipleship. I’ve heard the term imposter syndrome applied to more than one career field including my own, so the title of this book caught my attention. As I read, I don’t know that I found anything earth-shattering, yet I continued to read, drawn in through the gentle words and open life Pastor Furtick presented on the page. Several sentences and paragraphs caught my attention that I shared with others, but mostly the book was loving reassurance that I don’t have to have it all together to follow God’s plan as long as I’m pursuing Christ. God fully knows who He enlisted into Kingdom service and is anxious to work with me and through me.
9. Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy by Alli Worthington
207 pages, Christian Women’s Issues, Stress Management. Oh, goodness. Alli’s southern sweetness charmed itself into my thoughts once again. I mean, this is one of those topics where we tend to read more because we’re desperate to do less, but then we realize the cost of actually forcing ourselves to slow down. I love that Alli tackles not just the traditional decluttering high points, but gets into relationships, calling, thoughts, family traditions, and even communications. And she kindly includes Action Steps at the end of each chapter to make sure we didn’t get so caught up in her stories that we forget the point of us reading the book in the first place.
Yes, this is a book that should be read and acted upon, then once those things become a habit, read again.
10. Dangerous Prayers: Because Following Jesus Was Never Meant to Be Safe by Craig Groeschel
192 pages, Christian Faith, Prayer. Simple, yet difficult. Easy, yet daring. This book is written in an easy, engaging style, which makes it a quick read. Craig Groeschel also gets straight to the point in each chapter, adding in stories that add to the depth of the prayers without any extra fluff. He limits himself to three prayers–potentially life-changing prayers if the reader will actually give God full control of the answers. But the beauty of this book is that the simplistic prayers can go ever deeper into our hearts and lives. Just like we can always learn to trust God more, we can always go farther into more hidden or complex issues of life that we need to ponder, change and/or heal from.
Although I listened to this book on audio, I also bought a print book to keep on my shelves to refer back to and to remind myself to read it again and again.
What about You?
Did your To Read List just grow a little? Find this post on my Facebook page to tell me what makes your Best Nonfiction Reads for 2020 list so far this year.
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