Every December, I select the ten books that I most enjoyed reading during the year. These selections were not all published in 2012 (as you’ll see). Neither do I claim these are the most important books of the year. Instead, I choose ten books based primarily on how much I enjoyed reading them.

Here are my top ten picks for 2012.

Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God

– Tim and Kathy Keller

Quite simply, the best book on marriage I’ve ever come across. I read this book in early January and spent the rest of the year wondering if I would read another book that could top it.
See an excerpt here and here.

A Biography

– Ian Ker

The definitive biography of Chesterton. Ker’s massive research not only unfolds the man’s life but also chronicles the evolution of his thought.
For a dose of Chesterton, click here, here, here, and here.

A Classic Retelling of Cosmic Conflict

Calvin Miller

Calvin Miller was on my short list of people to interview on Kingdom People before he unexpectedly died this year. Shortly after his death, a friend recommended I read one of Miller’s best-known works. The Singer is a creative, artistic rendering of the gospel that draws out the beauty of what God has done for us in Christ.
Check out a quote from the book here.

The Jesus-Centered Church

Matt Chandler, Eric Geiger, Josh Patterson

…goes beyond the teaching ministry and instructs church leaders on creating a gospel-centered culture in the church, a culture that shapes all levels and areas of ministry.
Read my full review here, an interview with the authors here, and a rundown of the Creature of the Word simulcast held in October.

Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods

A. G. Sertillanges

Far from a sterile routine of burying oneself in dusty books, the intellectual life is an adventure, an ongoing exploration of truth. As such, it demands discipline and rigor commensurate with the seriousness of its calling.
See my review here.

A Narrative and Theological Introduction

Jonathan Pennington

…you will greatly benefit from his careful, balanced approach to the books of the Bible that most clearly unveil King Jesus.
Read my review here and an interview with Jonathan Pennington.

The Purifying Power of the Promises of God

John Piper

With his characteristic passion and devotion to the Scripture, John Piper strikes at the heart of short-lived obedience born from ‘the debtor’s ethic’ and lifts up a grace-driven obedience that flows from faith in God’s future promises. The result is a soul-satisfying book that beckons us to marvel at the beauty of King Jesus..

and Other Stories
Flannery O’Connor

This year marked my first foray into the haunting and memorable stories of Flannery O’Connor.
Check out my conversation with O’Connor biographer, Jonathan Rogers, here.

A Boy, Cancer, and God

Michael Kelley

…about personal faith forged through the fire of suffering, and the all-encompassing grace of a God who won’t fit into the boxes we try to construct around him. This is not a sentimental memoir or another theoretical look at suffering. Instead, Michael leads us to the intersection of faith and life, of God’s love and our pain, of God’s plan and our questions.”
See my recommendation here, an excerpt, and an interview with the author.

The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Doris Kearns Goodwin

…a masterful telling of Lincoln’s story that follows the lives of each of his cabinet members.
Read about Lincoln’s ease in overlooking a personal offense, or five leadership lessons clearly seen in this book.