What Should be Next on Your Reading List

If you are anything like me, you’re nauseated every time you open up Facebook because everyone is arguing about politics. So, why not grab a book, save yourself the frustration, and learn something new. 2016 has had some pretty high points as far as reading goes. Below you will find a few of my highest recommendations thus far as well as a short list of titles to look out for in the latter part of the year.


Biblical Fiction

Chronicles of the Kings series by Lynn Austin

I honestly cannot remember how I came across this series, but boy am I glad that I did. The Chronicles of the Kings series follows the lives of Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Manasseh – kings of Judah. 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles might not be your favorite books of the Bible, but you will read them with renewed vigor after this series. Austin’s research, attention to detail, and story-telling savvy mesh to provide a truly rewarding reading experience.



The Hatchet Series – Gary Paulsen

When I was in elementary school, my teacher read Hatchet and it’s sequel, The River, to us. I wanted my son to hear these stories, so I read these two with him. I knew that Paulsen had added some additional stories to the series, but had never read them. I took the opportunity and really enjoyed the final installments. Read these with your children or read them alone for a bit of nostalgia.



The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

A friend of mine mentioned that he was reading a story about the 1936 Berlin Olympics rowing team. “Really,” I thought. “a book about a rowing team?” I’m glad I took the plunge. This story is phenomenal! Brown is masterful in his re-telling of this incredible story of hard work, community, history, and the art of rowing.


Church Life

Don’t Fire Your Church Members: The Case for Congregationalism by Jonathan Leeman

I ended up with this book in my hand thanks to the good people at B&H Publishing. Jonathan Leeman is one of the brightest Christian minds delving into the issue of church government and organization. This book proposes a specific model of church government, namely, elder-led congregationalism. It is thorough, biblical, and brilliant. If you are a member of a church, this is a must read.

Gaining by Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches that Send by J.D. Greear

This book came to me via another pastor in our church. At first I flinched because I tend to shy away from books from mega-church pastors. But this book is not another book about how to make your church bigger and more prosperous. Rather, J.D. proposes a better and biblical case for making your church smaller in order to be more Kingdom minded.

Bible Study

The Word Became Fresh by Dale Ralph Davis

Dale Ralph Davis is a ninja when it comes to packing solid info into few pages. His commentaries are short yet brilliant¬†and this little book on preaching from narrative texts is no different. Understanding Old Testament narrative and it’s meaning for us today is an important task that is often difficult for lay people and pastors alike. This little guide will help you see the Old Testament with fresh eyes.


Spiritual Growth

Practicing Affirmation by Sam Crabtree

I’ll be honest – I’m terrible at affirming people. Crabtree does a masterful job of explaining how a lack of affirmation coming out of us is due to a spiritual problem inside of us. Convicting helpful.


So Рthere they are. What have been your favorite reads this year? Comment below or tweet @jvalenti 

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