Top Books 2018


December 22, 2018

This past year, iAt has added in weekly book reviews to our regular schedule. We love to cover all sorts of books: Siegel & Bryson’s No Drama Discipline, J. Todd Billing’s Remembrance, Communion, and Hope, Todd Wilson’s Mere Sexuality, Melani McAlister’s The Kingdom of God Has No Borders, and many more. However, there were many more books in 2018 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 2019. And we want to hear from you! What books should iAt consider reviewing this next year? Leave your ideas in the comments below.

The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical-linguistic Approach to Christian Theology by Kevin Vanhoozer

“Observing a strange disappearance of doctrine within the church, Kevin Vanhoozer argues that there is not a more urgent task for Christians today than to engage in living truthfully with others before God. He details how doctrine serves the church—the theater of the gospel—by directing individuals and congregations to participate in the drama of what God is doing to renew all things in Jesus Christ.”

How Democracies Die: What History Reveals About Our Future by Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky

“How Democracies Die is a 2018 book by Harvard University political scientists Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt about how elected leaders can gradually subvert the democratic process to increase their power.”

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

“The US has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. One in every 15 people born there today is expected to go to prison. For black men this figure rises to one in three. And Death Row is disproportionately black, too. Bryan Stevenson grew up poor in the racially segregated South.

Letters to a Young Calvinist: An Invitation to the Reformed Tradition by James K.A. Smith

“This book provides pastoral and theological counsel, inviting converts to this tradition to find in Calvin a vision that’s even bigger than the New Calvinism might suggest. Offering wisdom at the intersection of theology and culture, noted Reformed philosopher James K. A. Smith also provides pastoral caution about pride and maturity. The creative letter format invites young Calvinists into a faithful conversation that reaches back to Paul and Augustine, through Calvin and Edwards, extending to Kuyper and Wolterstorff. Together they sketch a comprehensive vision of Calvinism that is generous, winsome, and imaginative.”

The Magical Garden of Claude Monet by Laurence Anholt (Children’s book)

“This is a title in Barron’s & Anholt’s Artists Books for Children series in which author and illustrator Laurence Anholt recalls memorable and sometimes amusing moments when the lives of the artists were touched by children. Anholt’s fine illustrations appear on every page and include reproductions of works by the artists.”

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind, also called The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One, is a fantasy novel written by American author Patrick Rothfuss. It is the first book in a series called The Kingkiller Chronicle and followed by The Wise Man’s Fear.”

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

“Did you enter adulthood thinking marriage would naturally find you, only to end up at a second-cousin’s wedding, dodging yet another bouquet the night before you turned thirty? Maybe you have started wondering, is this the best the single life has to offer? Joy Beth Smith says it is not. The single life doesn’t have to be the runner-up version of God’s best. It doesn’t have to leave you constantly waiting for “real life” to begin. Party of One offers a trade: let go of the tired lies weighing you down and turn toward truth.”

The Redemptive Self: Stories Americans Live by Dan McAdams

“Psychologist Dan P. McAdams examines how narratives, in which the hero is delivered from suffering to an enhanced status or state, represent a new psychology of American identity, and in turn, how they translate to understanding our own lives.”

The Rocks Don’t Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood by David R. Montgomery

“In Tibet, geologist David R. Montgomery heard a local story about a great flood that bore a striking similarity to Noah’s Flood. Intrigued, Montgomery began investigating the world’s flood stories and—drawing from historic works by theologians, natural philosophers, and scientists—discovered the counterintuitive role Noah’s Flood played in the development of both geology and creationism.”

Them: Why We Hate Each Other—and How to Heal by Ben Sasse

“In Them, bestselling author and U.S. senator Ben Sasse argues that, contrary to conventional wisdom, our crisis isn’t really about politics. It’s that we’re so lonely we can’t see straight—and it bubbles out as anger…America needs you to love your neighbor and connect with your community. Fixing what’s wrong with the country depends on it.”

There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather: A Scandinavian Mom’s Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids by Linda Åkeson McGurk

“Struggling to decide what was best for her family, McGurk embarked on a six-month journey to Sweden with her two daughters to see how their lives would change in a place where spending time in nature is considered essential to a good childhood. Insightful and lively, There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather is a fascinating personal narrative that illustrates how Scandinavian culture could hold the key to raising healthy, resilient, and confident children in America.”

The Thief by Megan Whalen-Turner

The Thief is a young adult fantasy novel by Megan Whalen Turner published in 1996 by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of William Morrow. It is the first in the Queen’s Thief series.”

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air is a non-fiction autobiographical book written by Paul Kalanithi. It is a memoir about his life and illness, battling stage IV metastatic lung cancer.”

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