The Best Books of 2011!

This year I read 39 books. I can’t believe it! When determining a better way to process and retain all of this information, I ended up with 10 categories. Therefore, my reading diet looked something like this:

1 Memoir
1 Novel
1 Racial Reconciliation
2 Writing
2 Christian Character/Church & Culture
3 Mommy stuff & Parenting
3 Church History
4 Bible Studies & Resources
5 Developing Christian Character
17 Leadership

In no particular order, these are the best books I have read in 2011:

1.“The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict” by Ken Sande

I read this book at the beginning of the year and have been referencing it every since. I plan to read it again in the summer and probably every year afterward. This is such an important book which covers the topics of resolving conflict, forgiveness, church discipline, and the ministry of reconciliation.

2. Oneness Embraced: A Fresh Look at Reconciliation, the Kingdom, and Justice” by Dr. Tony Evans

I have linked to my summary post of the book. Dr. Evans is excellent when uncovering the biblical look at oneness and having a kingdom vision for social impact. Understanding God’s desire for unity calls us all to act in very tangible ways in our community. I would like to further explore his research pertaining to the Black Church.

3. The Missional Mom: Living with Purpose at Home & In the World” by Helen Lee

I have linked to my review of the book, but I cannot emphasis enough that this book is not just for moms! In this highly biblical presentation, Lee presents the importance of being the hands and feet of Jesus right where you are.

4. “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett.

The Help 1As you can see, I do not have much time for pleasure reading. Once the movie release was announced, however, I had to read the book before going to the theater. (I’m one of those types.) I enjoyed both the book and the movie and was inspired to write an article on reviewing the movie from the prospective of an African American woman. The movie also prompted my dialog series with Nicole Unice. If you pick up the DVD this season, I would love to hear your thoughts on the discussion.

5. “Firestorm: Preventing and Overcoming Church Conflicts” by Ron Susek

I highly recommend this book for anyone who serves on staff at a church, parachurch, or nonprofit organizations. The topics of conflict, church discipline, and reconciliation are addressed for a biblical prospective. This resource is full of scripture and practical experiences.

6. “Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & In Life, One Conversation at a Time” by Susan Scott

This is a great leadership and management resource that is on my reread list for 2012. Scott reveals that success is many situations (including our personal relationships) can be obtained through open, honest, intense, strong, powerful, and passionate conversations. In order for fierce conversations to take place, we must first commit to being vulnerable; run from the fear of being known intimately by another.

7. “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleash a Revolution in Your Life in Christ” by Peter Scazzero

The thesis of this book is: Christians cannot become spiritually mature until they also grow in emotional maturity. Far too long the Church has disconnected the spiritual from the emotional and this neglect has often led to Christians living defeated, unproductive lives. How important this message is for all of us, especially those who are ministering to women who struggle with family history, emotional baggage, self neglect, self esteem, and poor identity issues? I will most likely blog more about this resource in 2012. Stay tuned.

8. “Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer” by J. Oswald Sanders

This is a leadership resource, but as the subtitle states, it is a book for every believer. Sanders writes from the position that every Christian is a leader and I agree with him. It is important, therefore, that we take the time to understand our responsibilities and intentionally develop leadership qualities. This book is an easy read and is very practical for personal edification or leadership training.

What are some of your book highlights from the year? Any recommendations?

5 thoughts on “The Best Books of 2011!

  1. I loved The Help and Missional Mom too!!
    Here’s my fav’s of 2011:
    – Lioness Arising and Nurture (Lisa Bevere)
    – Untamed (Alan Hirsch)
    – The Cause Within You (Matthew Barnett)
    – Love You More (Jennifer Grant)
    – We are all weird (Seth Godin)
    – Crazy Love (Francis Chan)
    – The Hole In Our Gospel (Richard Stearns)

    1. Connie,

      I have “The Hole in Our Gospel” on my bookshelf and can’t wait to read. My hubby read through “Crazy Love” with his men’s small group this year, but I didn’t get to it. Still plan to. My godmother read “Lioness Arising and Nurture” and really enjoyed it this year. Of course I hope to get to Jennifer’s Memoir as well. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Wow, Natasha, I haven’t read even a fourth of the number of books that you’ve read this year! What an awesome accomplishment to read so many books a year. Well, two of my favorites this year were One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer. Voskamp’s book truly helped me stop internally whining and externally “sharing” my concerns. I am now a consummate giver of thanks. Shirer’s book has been great in giving me a straight-to-the-point way to discuss so many concerns that the women I disciple have.

    Thanks for sharing your list. I have Evans’ book but am also interested in reading Scazzero’s.

    1. Hi Rhonda,

      I certainly did not plan to read this many books this year. Seminary has a way of making those decisions for you. Most of the books I read this year were good. Several of them I will have to revisit. I have “One Thousand Gifts” on my bookshelf. It was a gift from a dear friend and mentor and I can’t wait to get to it. I have a couple of Shirer’s books on the shelf to read as well: “One in a Million” and “Life Interrupted.” (I read an excerpt from the Resolution for Women. Glad you enjoyed it.) We will see how 2012 goes.

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