Best Books Read in 2020

As we near the end of another year I want to share some of the best books that I have read so far this year. The complete list of books I’ve read this year can be found on my website While I really liked almost every book, here is a list of the four that stood out as exceptional reads:

The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson

Originally published in 1912, this is an exceptional book. The storytelling is gripping, and readers will find themselves completely immersed in the story. This book is definitely an emotional read and addresses the issues of injustice and racism from the point of view from someone who is experiencing injustice. I particularly liked that the author took moments in the story to speak directly to the reader; there is a sense that you are sitting next to someone hearing the story of his life first-hand. 

The Ethics of Encounter: Christian Neighbor Love as a Practice of Solidarity by Marcus Mescher

This was another great book, in fact, I included a chapter from this book as required reading in my theology classes this past semester. Mescher writes of the importance of practicing solidarity with each and every encounter we have with others. Using the parable of the Good Samaritan as a foundational text in his theology of neighbor love, Mescher explores what it meant by neighbor and emphasizes the importance of Jesus’ command to “go and do likewise.”

The Israelite Woman: Social Role and Literary Type in Biblical Narrative by Athalya Brenner-Idan

This is an excellent book on exploring the roles of women in the Bible. Several different women are discussed as well as a thorough examination of the roles they played in society: queens, queen mothers, prophetess’, wise women, and even sorcerers. The author then expounds on this by examining several “stereotyped descriptions” of women as they are used for literary interpretation: the hero’s mother, the temptress, the foreign woman, the ancestress, and the first woman. This is a must read for anyone interested in a feminist theological approach.

Warrior Dancer Seductress Queen: Women in Judges and Biblical Israel by Susan Ackerman

I read this book as I was studying the book of Judges this past year and found it to be an excellent academic source. After reading this book, I developed a “Women of Judges” segment of study in my theology classes. One of the most interesting things discussed in the book is the extended examination of the social role of the queen mother, and the influence she had. In addition, Ackerman does an excellent job of discussing the connection of the worship of the goddess Asherah to the queen mothers.

One thought on “Best Books Read in 2020

  1. I enjoyed your thoughtful reviews. I’m an author seeking reviews and it occurred to me that it wouldn’t hurt to send you to my WordPress site so you might discover when I’m up to. John g Dyer dot


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