The Best Books of 2013

This was an interesting year of reading for me for three reasons:

1. I didn’t read nearly as much as I have the last 4-5 years. On average, I’ve read 100-120 books in a year. This year, I read somewhere around 65-70.

2. I started and stopped a lot of books. In the past, I normally plow through a book once I start it. This year, I would bet I started close to 15 books that I would read some or most before stopping.

3. I wasn’t absolutely blown away by multiple books. I’m notorious for loving basically ANY form of book (or media, for that matter). I’m generally just so blown away by books, movies, an artist’s work that I tend to always slant towards loving most of what I read or consume. This year, I felt different. Maybe I’m becoming more crotchety, or maybe I’m just getting pickier. Either way, I didn’t have a difficult time sorting through my favorite 20 books to whittle it down to 5. This year, it was very clear which few were my favorite.

With that being said, these are the best books I read in 2013. A few of them were published this year; others were published in year’s best. This list is simply my favorite books that I read in 2013.

5. The Dangerous Calling by Paul David Tripp

This is a book I wish every pastor would read. Tripp doesn’t hold back and makes sure readers understand the weight and call of pastoral ministry. Although not written in 2013, this was a foundational book for me this year.

3/4. The Circle Maker and Draw the Circle by Mark Batterson

These were not books published this year, and yet, they were huge parts of my year. Batterson has a way of inspiring people through his writing. In fact, as he noted, his goal in writing is to put the “right words in the right hands at the right time.” These words, about praying – truly praying – for God to help us achieve our greatest dreams and overcome our greatest fears, became a catalyst in my prayer life this year.

2. One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World by Tullian Tchividjian

This book spoke to my soul at a time when I really needed it. Tullian does a magnificent job of simply articulating the gospel, which at times is so difficult to comprehend and speak of, and in reality, so simple, true, and pure. I told my peers and friends this book watered my soul. I highly recommend it for any season of life.

1. Heroes and Monsters: An Honest Look at The Struggle Within of Us by Josh Riebock

Yes, this was my favorite book of the year. I wrote a a blog about it here. Again, not even published in 2013, but boy, was I missing out when I didn’t buy it right away.

This book was creative, refreshing, authentic, and moving. It was different from the normal, and sometimes tired, Christian writing. The words Josh penned felt like they articulated so much of what I’ve felt and struggled with at times. Great authors know how to put into words what we feel, and Josh does that here. Highly recommend. Best book of the year.

I love knowing what other people are reading. So, let me know: What are you reading? What are some of your favorite books? If you use GoodReads, let’s connect over there too. I’m at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/9835395-john-alexander

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