2019 Reading List

I have been hanging out in Greenville, South Carolina for the last few days while my wife Laura is attending a conference. 

Greenville is a really great little city. It’s got an awesome park and river walk area, plenty of good food and coffee shops, some interesting history, and, probably my favorite part: M Judson Booksellers, an independent bookstore on Main Street in downtown Greenville. I could spend hours hanging out pursuing the books and enjoying the ambiance. 

Books in general are kind of big deal for me. I constantly have 7 or 8 books in a cue to read….ambitiously all at the same time! Add to that the myriad of recommendations from friends and people I follow.

This year I decided to set a goal for the number of books I want to read. What I’ve found in years past is that, without a goal, I just don’t read many books at all. With so many to choose from I think I get overwhelmed and end up watching a show on Netflix instead. (There’s a sermon illustration in there some place…)

My goal for 2019 is to read 24 books. I read 12 books last year and 2 months in to 2019, I’m already through 5 books. 

I’m putting my list out there because I do think I have some good picks on here, and also because this will be another way to hold myself accountable for this goal. 

This list is a mix of leadership, church renewal, theology, discipleship, and then the fun stuff: mystery and historical fiction. Increasingly, I’m trying to listen to female and minority voices in the theological stuff I read to hear from different perspectives.

2019 Reading List

  1. For A New Generation – Lee Kricher 
  2. 8 Virtues Of Rapidly Growing Churches – Matt Miofsky, Jason Byassee
  3. The Cross and the Lynching Tree – James H. Cone
  4. John Adams – David McCullough
  5. A Grace Disguised: How The Soul Grows Through Loss – Jerry Sittser
  6. Learning to Walk in the Dark – Barbara Brown Taylor
  7. Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved – Kate Bowler
  8. Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism – Deborah Jian Lee
  9. Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again – Rachel held Evans
  10. How to Read the Bible and Still Be a Christian: Is God Violent? An Exploration from Genesis to Revelation – John Dominic Crossan
  11. Making Sense of the Bible – Adam Hamilton
  12. Shameless: A Sexual Reformation – Nadia Bolz-Weber
  13. Deep And Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend – Andy Stanley
  14. Comeback Churches: How 300 Churches Turned Around and Yours Can, Too – Ed Stetzer
  15. Leading Change – John P. Kotter
  16. Desire of the Everlasting Hills – Thomas Cahill
  17. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America – Richard Rothstein
  18. Frederick Douglas: Prophet of Freedom – David Blight 
  19. A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
  20. Where Dead Men Meet – Mark Mills
  21. Shadow of the Lions – Christopher Swann
  22. To Kill a Mocking Bird – Harper Lee
  23. Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn – Gary Pomerantz
  24. The Nickel Boys – Colson Whitehead (coming July 2019) 

I’d love to hear what’s on your list. Reply in the comments below. 
You can also friend me on Good Reads to follow my progress and see my reviews…and allow me to do the same for you!

(P.S. the last book I read in 2018 was Beneath the Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan. It’s based on the true story of an Italian family dealing with the Nazi occupation during WWII. I highly recommend it!) 


  1. Anonymous says:

    Cool post! I actually grew up in Greenville, and attended Trinity Lutheran, which is just down Main Street from all those restaurants and coffee places. Still the largest Lutheran church in town, and thriving. Stick your head in and say Hi, I knew a Kleckley, and you’ll have an instant friend.

    I did the same with my book reading goals, setting something specific as a target. I have a bunch of “want to reads” on my list, but I haven’t formalized those targets. One of my goals is to complete half the list from books that are on my shelves which I bought and never read. Some great books that I just haven’t gotten to.

    I do find it challenging tho, since Iarge portion of my job is reading, so doing more in the evening can be an issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joshlinman says:

      I drove by that church yesterday. Very cool old building. When I poked my head in and mentioned the Kleckley’s I got things thrown at me though 😉

      And I hear you on finding time! In seminary I was reading so much for classes I wanted nothing to do with books otherwise!


  2. Veloy Hanson Reynders says:

    Beneath the Scarlet Sky, sounds very interesting. I have read several books about people escaping from the Nazi’s and on the Holocaust. I even met a lady in Nuremberg that had been sent to an orphanage to escape. Her Mother was killed in Auschwitz but did get reunited with her Father.


    1. joshlinman says:

      Wow! It’s one thing to read about it, cool to have met someone in real life!


  3. Susan Cosner says:

    Am reading ‘The Library Book’ by Susan Orlean – it’s for all of us who love the library – the mere concept, the physical place and the book – that takes us to places all over the world.

    Gene and I love Greenville!!


    1. joshlinman says:

      Sounds like a good one! And after visiting I can see why you both love Greenville! If you haven’t been to the Lucky Goat or Up on the Roof – both are well worth it next time you’re heading sound bound!


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