2016 Reading Challenge

Happy New Year, friends.

I wanted to finish 75 books this year. I made it to 76 as of today, and I feel like maybe one to two books could be added based on the amount of news articles and blogs I read on a day-to-day basis.

So without further delay, the high- and low-lights of my 2016 reading. I know you have all been waiting with bated breath.



Finding God in the Waves by Mike McHargue
The Idolatry of God by Peter Rollins
Boy Erased by Garrard Conley
Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion by Sara Miles
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Most disappointing

Secrets of the Vine by Bruce Wilkinson

I love gardening metaphors combined with spirituality, but aside from a few encouraging moments, this book just felt like a “pray THIS way and things will go right for you.” And “when things aren’t going right, that definitely means God is ‘pruning’ you.” I really struggle with the idea of a god that intentionally inflicts pain on you because you “need” it, or that all pain in life – or what I perceive as pain – is divinely appointed.

What book would I recommend to everyone I know?

I can’t choose just one.

Idolatry of God by Peter Rollins
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Most surprising

Acedia & Me by Kathleen Norris

A very romantic, dark, and poetic book – seemed very long to me – and I enjoyed most of it. I found it beautiful and enlightening.

Changed me the most

Did God Kill Jesus? by Tony Jones

It was freeing and also sad for me to realize much of my church experience was built around the toxic theology of penal substitutionary atonement theory: it creates an angry, vengeful God that needs murder and violence as appeasement. What kind of good news is that?

Sneaky favourite:

Spiritual Migration by Brian McLaren

Hardest one to get through

Openness Unhindered by Rosaria Champagne-Butterfield

This book I found to be full of dense theological machinations around sexuality and personhood. I forced myself to finish solely because I wanted to understand her journey, albeit through a theology I am not a fan of. I appreciated her vulnerability and desire to make an impact on the community she lives in.

Best novel

Roots by Alex Haley.

Best novel series

Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny. The hightlight of my reading year was finding this series, compliments of Sarah Bessey.

What were some of your favourite reads of 2016?


One thought on “2016 Reading Challenge

  1. McLaren’s “The Great Spiritual Migration” was a sneaky favourite for me too. I’d add Krista Tippett’s “Becoming Wise” to the best books of the year list.


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