2013 in Books: Non-fiction (part one)

Due to my need to categorise this is part one in the non-fiction books. On a side-note I’m finding Goodreads a great way of keeping track of my reading.


OneWildLifeFrontCoverART-sm1. One Wild Life – Claire Mulvaney

This qualifies as biography (in my mind!) in that the author Claire Mulvaney tells the stories (and interviews) people around the globe who are working for social change. From Ireland to India she introduces over 30 people working to make the world  better place. With a few pages per person its a great book to dip into every day and come away inspired and motivated to make a difference. Find out more on her site here.

51eaYJmEwfL._AA160_2. Adventures of a Waterboy – Mike Scott

No matter if you’re a fan of the Waterboys or not this is a great read and wonderful insight into life as a musician. I read Peter Carlin’s ‘Bruce’ at a similar time and Mike Scott’s writing is vastly superior – unsurprisingly.


3. Where Are You Really From? – Tim Brannigan

I think everyone from Northern Ireland should read this – especially if you come from a Protestant background. Fascinating and incredible story of growing up black in West Belfast in the 70s and spending time in the H blocks.

Honourable mention for ‘Stillness and Speed: My Story’ by Dennis Bergkamp which isn’t really by him but more a series of interviews. Bergkamp was undoubtedly one of the best footballers to grace the Premiership. His insights and story of a playing career spanning Ajax, Inter Milan and Arsenal are a must read for the football geek. and it was only 59p on Kindle. Bargain.


Interestingly I found myself reading much less Christian books in 2013 although maybe I was just being more selective!

JTMEE1. Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes – Kenneth Bailey

Kenneth Bailey is a Middle-Eastern scholar (and lived there for 40 years) who has written some brilliant books unpacking the context of the Middle East at the time of Jesus helping bring deeper understanding of many of Jesus’ encounters and parables. The section of Jesus and women was particularly helpful with some of the material on the parables similar to his earlier works Poet and Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes.

WMF2. The Word Made Flesh – Eugene Peterson

I feel I’m starting to turn into Jaybercrow as my love for Eugene Peterson’s writing reaches adulation. Maybe its about stage of life or experiences but I find Peterson incredibly insightful, earthy and inspiring.This is the fourth in Peterson’s wonderful ‘Spiritual Theology’ series. Continuing the parables theme – I really enjoyed getting stuck into them this past year, also dipping into Ched Myers ‘Binding the Strong Man’.

STPOTC3. Seek the Good of the City – Doug Banister

A free ebook (get it here) this is a wonderfully short, holistic and practical guide to what it looks like to seek to bless the city.

Honourable mention to Multiplying Missional Leaders by Mike Breen – another practical and provocative read.

What were your best biographies and theology/Christian reads of 2013?

Next up is leadership and productivity.


5 thoughts on “2013 in Books: Non-fiction (part one)”

  1. Great stuff. Thanks for the recommendations Sam. I need to read more in the biographies and general non-fiction category. My reading is nearly all fiction or Christian.

    My only esception this year was “No Ordinary Time” by Doris Kearns Goodwin about the life of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Read on my wife’s recommendation, fascinating stuff. (She also wrote the Lincoln biography which was the basis of the movie, so might try that this year).

    Loving your conversion to Peterson, and I love that book (my version is called “Telling it Slant”).

    Think I’ll check out the Mike Scott and Tim Brannigan books.

  2. Cheers JM. I find biographies fascinating – which was certainly true for Bergkamp’s one and fed the inner football fan geek. Currently reading Alastair Campbell’s Irish Diaries.

    Roosevelt one sounds interesting – I’ll check it out.

    All I want now is for Peterson to have written some stuff on Isaiah – please tell me he has!

  3. All I can say is I hope I read enough books in 2014 to warrant categories, and sub-categories!! Love the recommendations. I did manage and love both of Rachel Held Evan’s books this year… Evolving in Monkey Town resonated with me a lot and A Year of Biblical Womanhood I was expecting just to be interesting, maybe a little ‘smart’, … but I found it unexpectedly moving in places and gently affirming.

  4. Haha. I’ve always been a fast reader and spent a lot of time in trains, airports and planes with work last year.
    Like a good husband (depending on your perspective!) I got Emily A Year of Biblical Womanhood last Christmas – haven’t read it myself as she lent it to some others. Got her Sarah Bessey’s this Christmas – she loved it. Found the first part wasn’t anything new but was blown away at the end.

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