Hello, dear readers! I decided to take the month of December off of writing because, well, I was busy and tired and need to recharge my tank. It’s important to take care of your mental health and learn to rest, but I am excited to get back to it! I plan to write a New Year’s blog, all about my word of the year and what I am excited to move forward in, but on this first day of the year, I wanted to do something a little different.
My dear Danielle and I for the past few years, have taken a challenge on Goodreads, to read 100 books in a year. Reading is an important part of our lives, because we should always keep learning and enjoy the beauty inside books. I read a total of 101 books this year; a combination of physical, audio, comic, and library books to make that happen. I had a blast, checking out classics, new releases, and ministry books. I want to share some of my favorites that I read this year, and recommend it to you for your lists this year! Now, let’s jump into it!
The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry and Live No Lies by John Mark Comer.
At the start of last year, I asked for recommendations for books to check out on Instagram. My friend Natasha recommended The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, and it was a fantastic book to read. John Mark Comer is a pastor in Portland, and he writes in a very real authentic way of how to stop and rest in God’s presence. The book shows a reason to pause in the modern “hustle” culture, learning how to prioritize what truly matters and becoming emotionally and spiritually healthy. His next book, Live No Lies, came out in 2021 and was an excellent addition to what I read in the previous book. This book tackles the spiritual battle of the flesh, the world, and the devil. I recommend both of these books, especially for followers of Christ who struggle with what they feel pressured to be and how they battle in the spiritual realm each day.
Letters to the Church and Until Unity by Francis Chan.
If you are like me, you struggle with seeing churches and pastors taking sides that are not biblical and seem to be focused on filling seats rather than discipling others. Letters to the Church looks at how the church in America has become more about image than spiritual formation, but speaks to how to have hope and create a positive change that harkens back to the truth in Scripture. Then Until Unity, published in 2021, speaks to how the body of Christ is just that, a body. Different parts yes, with different views on small details, but all follow the same Christ. Because of this, we need to act like the body and help others be led towards Christ. Both books challenged me to examine my own attitude, and I think it can help yours too.
So Worth Loving by Eryn Eddy.
I’ve been able to volunteer with SWL and Eryn for a little while now, and I was excited to read Eryn’s book. It’s a mix of her own story and helping other know their value is so much more than we realize. It is a wonderful book and one that I utilized in my own quiet time that helped me examine the way I see myself and my past. Regardless of my past and the mistakes in that, I am worthy of love. Definitely check this book out and support my friend!
The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
Danielle and I grabbed this book on a whim and immediately devoured this book. It’s a fast-paced book, mystery and intrigue, and you just can’t put it down. I don’t want to spoil any of it, but if you liked Knives Out and lots of puzzles, you should definitely read this.
Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule.
This book kicks off the brand-new publishing line for the High Republic era of Star Wars. Think knights of the round table and Vikings but set in the world of Star Wars, years before any of the movies. This book is the starting point and all of the High Republic series of books, comics, and audio dramas, stem from this point. If you love Star Wars or want to try out something new in the world of Star Wars, read this book!
Gregor the Overlander (The Underland Chronicles Series) by Suzanne Collins.
These five books by the author who write the Hunger Games series, are a middle-grade set of books that take you on a fantastic adventure. There is a ton of heart in this series and it is a beautiful story.
The Witcher Series by Andrzej Sapkowski.
I started this series while searching for books that gave a similar feeling to Dungeons & Dragons that I started playing this year. I am currently on the fifth book of the series and am eager to finish. The main character of Geralt is a monster hunter who ends up being an adoptive father of Ciri, plenty of action and intrigue. If that sounds cool, you should check it out!
The Hellfire Gala by all of the current writers and artists on the current line of X-Men comics.
This Marvel event spanned every book in the current era of X-Men that is being published. This event centers on a mutant-Met Gala event, so plenty of beautiful art and ongoing saga to the main storyline that began in House of X/Powers of X. If you like the X-men and love some high-level science fiction, don’t miss out on what Marvel and the talented people have been doing with it!
Robin, Vol. 1: The Lazarus Tournament by Joshua Williamson and Gleb Melnikov.
I love the Damian Wayne Robin character, controversial opinion I know, but this book is a ton of fun. A tournament for fighters takes place and Damian Wayne has to fight to survive while solving a bigger mystery at play. Lots of fun and really easy to jump into.
The Silver Coin, Vol. 1 by Michael Walsh (art/writer), Chip Zdarsky, Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson, and Jeff Lemire (writers).
This horror anthology series centers on a cursed silver coin, and the writers use this as the general template for each issue. Some are set in the past, present, or future and you can tell the writers loved teaming up with Walsh to make a series of great horror short stories. If you like horror anthologies you should check it out! Note: this is a graphic book, the nature of horror, so reader beware, you’re in for a scare!
Whew! That’s only a portion of books I read this year, but I read and loved many more. Be sure to follow me on Goodreads to see what else I read and what I will read this year!
Let me know what you are reading and send those recommendations my way. I can’t wait to read some more!
About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__