2019 Top Books


December 19, 2019
If you’re a regular reader, you know that iAt does weekly book reviews. This past year we covered all sorts of books: Justin Whitmel Earley’s The Common Rule, Sarah Smarsh’s Heartland, Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism, and many more. However, there were many more books in 2019 than we were able to review. Compiled by iAt’s Editorial Board, this diverse list gives a variety of topics and genres to consider as you discern what to read in 2020. We want to hear from you: what books should iAt consider reviewing this next year? Leave your ideas in the comments below.

Evangelicals: Who They Have Been, Are Now, and Could Be by Mark A. Noll, David W. Bebbington, George M. Marsden

“The past, present, and future of a movement in crisis. What exactly do we mean when we say ‘evangelical’? How should we understand this many-sided world religious phenomenon? How do recent American politics change that understanding?”



The Gospel According to Eve: A History of Women’s Interpretation by Amanda W. Benckhuysen

“What does it mean to be male and female? Do women and men have different intellectual, spiritual, moral, or emotional capacities? Are women especially suited for serving and men for leading? Are women and men equal? While these may seem like relatively recent questions, they have been a topic of conversation throughout Christian history. At the center of this conversation is the biblical character Eve, the archetypal woman of Genesis 1-3.”

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land

“Stephanie Land’s memoir about working as a maid, a beautiful and gritty exploration of poverty in America…Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it’s like to be in service to them. “I’d become a nameless ghost,” Stephanie writes about her relationship with her clients, many of whom do not know her from any other cleaner, but who she learns plenty about. As she begins to discover more about her clients’ lives—their sadness and love, too—she begins to find hope in her own path.”

A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Idea by Warren Berger

“In this groundbreaking book, journalist and innovation expert Warren Berger shows that one of the most powerful forces for igniting change in business and in our daily lives is a simple, under-appreciated tool—one that has been available to us since childhood. Questioning—deeply, imaginatively, ‘beautifully’—can help us identify and solve problems, come up with game-changing ideas, and pursue fresh opportunities.”

On Education by Abraham Kuyper

“Among Abraham Kuyper’s many accomplishments was his founding of the Free University of Amsterdam, where he also served as president and professor of theology. This collection of essays and speeches presents Kuyper’s theology and philosophy of education, and his understanding of the divine purpose of scholarship for human culture.”


Ordinary Church: A Long and Loving Look by Joseph S. Beach

“Part Memoir, Part Tribute (to Eugene Peterson), Part Pastoral Theology, this book is a beautiful portrait of the Ordinary Church and a passionate plea: belonging to a church family is an essential part of what it means to follow Christ.”


Party of One: Truth, Longing, and the Subtle Art of Singleness by Joy Beth Smith

“With humor, self-awareness, and been-there perspective, Party of One delves into the insecurities and struggles of singleness and encourages you to find the good, the true, and the beautiful, to dive headfirst into community, and to stop pressing pause on a life you never expected.”

The Preacher’s Wife: The Precarious Power of Evangelical Women Celebrities by Kate Bowler

“In this engaging book, Kate Bowler, an acclaimed historian of religion and the author of the bestselling memoir Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved, offers a sympathetic and revealing portrait of megachurch women celebrities, showing how they must balance the demands of celebrity culture and conservative, male-dominated faiths.”

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein

“David Epstein examined the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists. He discovered that in most fields—especially those that are complex and unpredictable—generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one. They’re also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can’t see.”

Seculosity: How Career, Parenting, Technology, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion and What to Do about It by David Zahl

“At the heart of our current moment lies a universal yearning, writes David Zahl, not to be happy or respected so much as enough—what religions call ‘righteous.’ To fill the void left by religion, we look to all sorts of everyday activities—from eating and parenting to dating and voting—for the identity, purpose, and meaning once provided on Sunday morning.”

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