Books I Read in 2021

Every year, I commit to reading as much and as widely as possible and (as a means of remembering everything I’ve read and holding myself accountable to my reading goals) I track the books I’ve read each year. (Click here to see what I read in 2020)

A couple of notes before my list. First, I read a fair amount of churchworld and theology, so please don’t read this as one of those “what you should read” lists that you might see floating around. Second, I’ve found that breaking down what I read by category is helpful for me, so this list appears that way (and includes some sub-categories as well).

Please also note a couple of special markers. My favorite books (and the one’s I recommend you consider reading) are marked with an asterisk and hyperlinked. Additionally, the books I’d read prior to this year but re-read are marked with a [re-read] notation. The best book I read this year is marked by three asterisks and will come as no surprise to many of you: Tish Harrison Warren’s Prayer in the Night. I can’t recommend it enough.

Finally, my goal the past several years has been to read 150 books (~3/week) and that was again the case this year. However, I’m pleased to say that this year’s list of books read includes some 185 titles completed. So, without further ado, what I read in 2021:

Biblical Studies – General

Biblical Studies – Old Testament

  • Reflections on the Psalms, Lewis
  • Daniel and the Twelve Prophets, Goldingay
  • Haggai and Malachi: NAC, Taylor and Clendenen
  • An Introduction to the Old Testament, Goldingay
  • Answering God, Peterson*
  • The Epic of Eden, Richter*
  • Genesis: The Book of Beginnings, Sacks
  • When Pain is Real and God Seems Silent, Duncan
  • An Unsettling God, Brueggemann
  • Deuteronomy: Love the Lord Your God, She Reads Truth
  • Prophetic Lament, Rah
  • The Lost World of Genesis One, Walton

Biblical Studies – New Testament

  • The Letter of James, Moo
  • James, The Bold Movement
  • Women in the New Testament, Thurston [re-read]
  • Gospel Women, Bauckham
  • The Gospel according to St. John, Barrett
  • Encountering John, Kostenberger
  • The Gospel of John, Core Christianity*
  • The Gospel according to John, Carson [re-read]
  • What if Jesus was Serious?, Jethani*
  • The Chosen: I Have Called You by Name, Jenkins
  • Rappin’ with Jesus, McCary
  • New Testament Exegesis: Revised Edition, Fee
  • The Power of Parable, Crossan
  • This is the New Testament, She Reads Truth


  • An American Life, Reagan
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou
  • Steve Jobs, Isaacson
  • The Answer Is…, Trebek
  • Brainiac, Jennings
  • Hitler’s Last Days, O’Reilly
  • A Burning in My Bones, Winn*

Churchworld and Pastoring

  • Ten Most Common Mistakes Made by New Church Starts, Griffith and Easum
  • Nine Keys to Effective Small Group Leadership, George
  • The New Pastor’s Handbook, Helopoulos [re-read]
  • Letters to a Young Congregation, Peterson
  • Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity, Peterson
  • Growing Young, Powell, Mulder, Griffin
  • The Fabric of Faithfulness, Garber*
  • Letters to the Church, Chan [re-read]
  • Study Guide for Letters to the Church, Chan [re-read]
  • Kingdom Conspiracy, McKnight
  • Servolution, Rizzo
  • Sermons to the People, Augustine
  • Branded, Sinclair
  • The Divorce Dilemma, MacArthur
  • For the City, Patrick and Carter
  • The Living Church, Stott [re-read]
  • Small Preaching, Pennington
  • The Social Church, Wise

Cultural Issues

  • iGen, Twenge
  • White Fragility, DiAngelo
  • Going Clear, Wright
  • A Practical Guide to Culture, Stonestreet and Kunkle*
  • How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, Gates
  • Counter Culture, Platt
  • We Will Not Be Silenced, Lutzer
  • This Book is Not Garbage, Thomas
  • You Found Me, Richardson
  • You Lost Me, Kinnaman
  • The Rise of the Nones, White

Family Life


  • Ready Player Two, Cline
  • Norse Mythology, Gaiman
  • AAAA!, Amend
  • The City of Ember, DuPrau
  • Timmy Failure, Pastis
  • The Strain, Del Toro and Hogan
  • The Fall of Arthur, Tolkien
  • More than a Skeleton, Maier* [re-read]
  • A Week in the Life of Corinth, Witherington
  • The Hobbit, Tolkien [re-read]
  • The Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien [re-read]


  • Maphead, Jennings*
  • The Cubs Way, Verducci
  • The Professor and the Madman, Winchester*
  • The Room Where It Happened, Bolton
  • Founding St. Louis, Fausz
  • Killing Crazy Horse, O’Reilly and Dugard
  • Killing the SS, O’Reilly and Dugard
  • The Fall of Richard Nixon, Brokaw
  • Killing Lincoln, O’Reilly and Dugard
  • Killing Reagan, O’Reilly and Dugard
  • How to Lose a War at Sea, Fawcett
  • 100 Bible Verses that Made America, Morgan
  • Black Hawk Down, Bowden
  • Killing Patton, O’Reilly and Dugard
  • Killing Kennedy, O’Reilly and Dugard
  • In This Generation, Ahrend
  • The Evil Empire, Grasse
  • Killing England, O’Reilly and Dugard
  • Killing the Rising Sun, O’Reilly and Dugard
  • Killing the Mob, O’Reilly and Dugard
  • Music Society and Antiquity and the Middle Ages, ed. McKinnon


  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Lencioni
  • Good Leaders Ask Great Questions, Maxwell
  • Christ in Church Leadership, Winslow and Followwill
  • Essentialism, McKeown*
  • Game Storming, Gray et al
  • Rapid Problem Solving with Post-It Notes, Straker
  • Better Decisions, Fewer Regrets, Stanley*
  • Mastering Our Passions, Kuhatschek
  • Spiritual Leadership, Blackaby and Blackaby
  • Effortless, McKeown

Mental Health


Reading and Writing

  • How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One, Fish
  • The Horse in My Garage and Other Stories, McManus
  • The Complete Poems and Plays, Eliot
  • On Reading Well, Prior*

Theology – General

  • The Best Things in Life, Kreeft [re-read]
  • A Guide to Christian Ambition, Hewitt [re-read]
  • New Girl at Church, Martin
  • (Un)Qualified, Furtick
  • The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, Keller
  • Managing Our Finances God’s Way, Warren et al
  • Abide in Christ, Murray
  • Proper Confidence, Newbigin
  • From Christ to Christianity, Edwards
  • A Little Book for New Theologians, Kapic*
  • Who Is This Man?, Ortberg
  • Faith and Doubt, Ortberg
  • My Utmost for His Highest, Chambers [re-read]
  • The Language of God, Collins
  • Humility, Murray
  • He Chose the Nails, Lucado
  • How to Think Theologically, Second Edition, Stone and Duke
  • Credo, Williams [re-read]
  • Delighting in the Trinity, Reeves
  • The Liturgy of the Ordinary, Warren [re-read]
  • A Year with C.S. Lewis, Lewis

Theology – Heaven, Hell & the Afterlife

Theology – Identity

Theology – Spiritual Disciplines


Published by Jacob J. Prahlow

Husband of Hayley. Dad of Bree and Judah. Lead pastor at Arise Church. MATS from Saint Louis University, MA from Wake Forest University, BA from Valparaiso University. Theologian and writer here and at Conciliar Post. Find me on social at @pastorjakestl

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