I should know by now that narrowing the list down each season is NOT going to get easier, but every time forget all over again. It feels like an actual accomplishment that I landed on these 14 because I started with, umm, 38 titles bookmarked on my computer.
I would say oops except that in the midst of All The Bad News of 2020, a whole lot of books releasing this fall is a pretty great thing.
And though I sure don’t know what 2021 will hold, according to the bookmarks on my computer, it’ll certainly bring several amazing books. (Over 30 titles are already listed on Amazon and saved on my computer. There went my book budget.)
If you’re looking for a good nonfiction read for your fall book club or you’re already thinking about Christmas gifts, I hope that this list will be helpful to you! I would so appreciate if you share it on Facebook or pin to Pinterest, and I’d love to hear what book(s) you’re most looking forward to in the comments.
For previous 2020 lists, see: January-April and May-August. The books below are listed in order of release date and include a blurb pulled from Amazon descriptions.
P.S. if a book grabs your attention―for yourself or a friend―you might want to preorder a copy. This is an incredibly practical and effective way to support an author (preorders tell retailers how many books to order so they don’t run out of stock) but also helps you. For example: on Amazon, you won’t be charged until the book releases and you’re guaranteed to pay the lowest price advertised.
Say you preorder in September when it’s $18.00, then it drops to $12.00 mid-October and is $15.00 when it releases in November. You would pay $12―the lowest price advertised. Because preorders matter so much, many authors offer freebies/incentives on their website as a thank-you. Be sure to check after you preorder!
14 Can’t-Miss Books Coming September-December of 2020 . . .
Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope :: Esau McCaulley
Growing up in the American South, Esau McCaulley knew firsthand the ongoing struggle between despair and hope that marks the lives of some in the African American context. A key element in the fight for hope, he discovered, has long been the practice of Bible reading and interpretation that comes out of traditional Black churches.
Reading While Black is a personal and scholarly testament to the power and hope of Black Biblical interpretation. New Testament scholar McCaulley studies how Scripture speaks to topics often overlooked by white interpreters, such as ethnicity, political protest, policing, and slavery. Ultimately McCaulley calls the church to a dynamic theological engagement with Scripture, in which Christians of diverse backgrounds dialogue with their own social location as well as the cultures of others. Reading While Black moves the conversation forward.
All the Feels: Discover Why Emotions Are (Mostly) Awesome and How to Untangle Them When They’re Not :: Elizabeth Laing Thompson
In All the Feels, Elizabeth Laing Thompson encourages and equips different kinds of feelers with the Biblical perspectives, practical tools, and scriptural reservoir they need. As a woman who has lived every day of her life having All The Big Feelings All The Day Long, she knows what it’s like to live life through our emotions―and how important it is to understand, take control of, and grow from those emotions.
Whether you have a sensitive soul with more feelings than you know how to name, a logical personality that doesn’t quite know what to do with feelings, or a steady flow of emotions somewhere in the middle, All the Feels will help you discover your own God-designed “feelings style” and how it impacts your life and relationships, distinguish fact from feeling and figure out which feelings you can trust, and understand which emotional gifts God wants you to expand, explore, and enjoy.
Get ready to throw open the doors of your heart, bringing God to your emotions and your emotions to God―the One who invented feelings and who always welcomes yours.
The Liturgy of Politics: Spiritual Formation for the Sake of Our Neighbor :: Kaitlyn Schiess
A generation of young Christians are weary of the political legacy they’ve inherited and hungry for a better approach. They’re tired of seeing their faith tied to political battles they didn’t start, and they’re frustrated by the failures of leaders they thought they could trust.
Kaitlyn Schiess grew up in this landscape, and understands it from the inside. Spiritual formation, and particularly a focus on formative practices, are experiencing a renaissance in Christian thinking―but these ideas are not often applied to the political sphere.
In The Liturgy of Politics, Schiess shows that the church’s politics are shaped by its habits and practices even when it’s unaware of them. Schiess insists that the way out of our political morass is first to recognize the formative power of the political forces all around us, and then to recover historic Christian practices that shape us according to the truth of the gospel.
The Powerful Purpose of Introverts: Why the World Needs You to Be You :: Holley Gerth
Does this sound like you or someone in your life? You enjoy time on your own but you care about people too. You’ve been told you’re a good listener. You think before you speak. You often notice what others miss. You do your best work when you can fully focus. You value quality over quantity in relationships. Your active mind is always thinking. Yet in spite of these strengths, you compare yourself to others. Fear sometimes still gets the best of you.
Research shows what introverts may see as struggles can be their greatest strengths! Instead of wondering if you need to change, what if you could fully be yourself with nothing holding you back?
In this eye-opening book, Holley Gerth shares brain science as well as the psychological, relational, and spiritual aspects of being an introvert. She also reveals exactly what will help you beat your struggles and maximize your strengths so you can live with clarity, courage, and confidence in a world that needs what only you can give.
Welcome Home: A Cozy Minimalist Guide to Decorating and Hosting All Year Round :: Myquillyn Smith
Decorating for each season doesn’t have to be overwhelming or expensive. In Welcome Home, Myquillyn Smith guides you through creating and enjoying a seasonally decorated home with more style and less stuff.
No matter what the world says, embracing the seasons does not require bins of factory-made décor or loads of time. In fact, it’s possible to decorate for each season without frustration, going overboard, or blowing your budget.
With engaging how-tos and inspiring photos, Smith guides you step by step through purposeful design decisions to cultivate a space where loved ones gather, meaningful connections are celebrated, and lasting memories are made. Her realistic and down-to-earth design tips will teach you how to seasonalize your living spaces with simple and actionable steps, feel confident in volunteering your house for gatherings, and know what to focus on and what not to worry about as a relaxed and confident hostess. Bigger than the latest and greatest trends, Welcome Home aims to usher in the seasons without using more resources, money, or stuff than needed.
Dirt: Growing Strong Roots in What Makes the Broken Beautiful :: Mary Marantz
Dirt is a story about the places where we start. From a single-wide trailer in the mountains of rural West Virginia to the halls of Yale Law School, Mary Marantz’s story is one of remembering our roots while turning our faces to the sky.
From growing up in that trailer, where it rained just as hard inside as out and the smell of mildew hung thick in the air, Marantz has known what it is to feel broken and disqualified because of the muddy scars leaving smudged fingerprints across our lives.
Generations of her family lived and logged in those hauntingly treacherous woods, risking life and limb just to barely scrape by. And yet that very struggle became the redemption song God used to write a life she never dreamed of.
God Does His Best Work with Empty :: Nancy Guthrie
It’s amazing how heavy the weight of emptiness can feel, how much room it can take up in our souls, how much pain can be caused by something that isn’t even there. But while we may see the emptiness of our lives as our greatest problem, that’s not how God sees it. When God looks into the empty places of our lives, He sees His greatest opportunity.
God does His best work in the emptiness of our insatiable craving for things that don’t satisfy, relational disappointments and loneliness, frustrated search for purpose and meaning, relentless desire for comfort and security, and ongoing struggle to live with loss and unfulfilled dreams.
Join Nancy Guthrie in discovering why emptiness has never been, and never will be, a problem to God. As Nancy pulls back the curtain on God’s work to fill up emptiness as revealed throughout the Bible, you’ll experience page after page of grace and hope that your emptiness can and will be filled. You’ll begin to see that God really does do His best work with empty―as He fills it with Himself.
Breathe Again: Choosing to Believe There’s More When Life Has Left You Broken :: Stacy Henagan
What do you do when it seems God hasn’t come through for you? When the miracle-working God whom Pastor Stacy Henagan loved and served did not answer the prayers on behalf of her terminally ill one-year-old daughter as expected, she was left crushed with grief and struggling to understand.
How could a loving God allow this to happen? What do you do when it seems God has let you down? Is God trustworthy?
Rather than choosing to remain in overwhelming pain and doubt, Stacy emerged with a much greater belief that God is good and trustworthy, even when we don’t think His plans make sense.
Finding Quiet: My Journey to Peace in an Anxious World :: Jamie Grace
We live in a loud, loud world. Whether it’s the criticism of others, the clamor of injustice, or the voice of anxiety from within, we are constantly being bombarded with noise.
So what does it mean to find peace in the midst of all the noise? Is there a way to acknowledge the struggles we face and learn how to manage the stressors and voices that trigger us while believing in the promises and goodness of God?
Jamie Grace has lived in the middle of noise for most of her life. Many know her as a singer with radio hits who has spent the last decade on stages and in front of the camera, but behind the scenes, she has struggled with Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, and an anxiety disorder for most of her life. But in the middle of both inner and outer noise, Jamie has learned how to manage the negative effects of her diagnoses, make the most of her strengths, and lean into the journey God has led her on. A journey of Finding Quiet.
Searching for Certainty: Finding God in the Disruptions of Life :: Shelly Miller
We all long for certainty in life, yet things often don’t go as we expect. When facing illness, job loss, strained relationships, and other struggles, our impulse is to question God and strive to fix things ourselves.
In Searching for Certainty, Shelly Miller explores how difficult times can actually be purposeful times of spiritual growth. Weaving the exodus story from the Bible with her own story, she shares how to focus on God rather than trying to overcome challenges in our own limited strength.
Each chapter features a simple spiritual practice to help us enjoy the peace and security that is only possible through Christ. Uncertain seasons will soon be translated as an aha instead of an oh no.
I Am Restored: How I Lost My Religion but Found My Faith :: Lecrae Moore
Two-time GRAMMY winning hip-hop artist and bestselling author Lecrae had inspired millions with his redemptive and gut-honest art. But when his personal life spun into chaos, he was forced to face the buried impact of the unhealed wounds―sexual abuse, physical trauma, addiction, and depression―that threatened to tear it all apart. Along the way, he realized the wounds we all carry have the potential to be unlikely guides to healing and freedom for ourselves and others.
With vulnerable honesty and transformational yet simple steps you can apply today, Lecrae shares the personal practices he uses in his daily life for mental, emotional, and spiritual health. With powerful prose, he gives an unflinching look at the personal and public spaces that sadly hurt us so often―culture, politics, family, church, personal failure―and reminds us that learning to let go and forgive is the birthplace for the life of creativity and freedom God has for us.
I Am Restored is an inspiring charge to embrace the lasting healing and restoration available now that we all desperately long for, because no matter what you’ve experienced, God is near, He hears, and He’s not done with you yet.
The Bible Recap: A One-Year Guide to Reading and Understanding the Entire Bible :: Tara-Leigh Cobble
Have you ever closed your Bible and thought, What did I just read? Or maybe you have tried to read through the Bible in a year but quit when it felt confusing or impersonal. The Bible Recap is here to help. Tara-Leigh Cobble, host of the popular Bible Recap podcast, walks readers through a one-year chronological Bible reading plan and explains each day’s passage in an easy-to-understand way.
Emphasizing how God’s character can be seen throughout Scripture, the recaps are simple and short yet deep enough to help you understand the hard parts and press into knowing God better. As Cobble says, “The primary role of Scripture is to show me who God is, and if I behold God, my life will naturally conform around what I learn about him.” The Bible Recap will not only help you understand the entire narrative of the Bible, it will fortify your faith.
Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man :: Emmanuel Acho
“You cannot fix a problem you do not know you have.” So begins Emmanuel Acho in his essential guide to the truths Americans need to know to address the systemic racism that has recently electrified protests in all fifty states. “There is a fix,” Acho says. “But in order to access it, we’re going to have to have some uncomfortable conversations.”
In Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man, Acho takes on all the questions, large and small, insensitive and taboo, many white Americans are afraid to ask―yet which all Americans need the answers to now more than ever.
With the same open-hearted generosity that has made his viral hit video series a phenomenon, Acho explains the vital core of such fraught concepts as white privilege, cultural appropriation, and “reverse racism.” In his own words, he provides a space of compassion and understanding in a discussion that can lack both. He asks only for the reader’s curiosity―but along the way, he will galvanize all of us to join the antiracist fight.
Forgiving What You Can’t Forget: Discover How to Move On, Make Peace with Painful Memories, and Create a Life That’s Beautiful Again :: Lysa TerKeurst
Have you ever felt stuck in a cycle of unresolved pain, playing offenses over and over in your mind? You know you can’t go on like this, but you don’t know what to do next. Lysa TerKeurst has wrestled through this journey. But in surprising ways, she’s discovered how to let go of bound-up resentment and overcome the resistance to forgiving people who aren’t willing to make things right.
With deep empathy, therapeutic insight, and rich Bible teaching coming out of more than 1,000 hours of theological study, Lysa will help you learn how to move on when the other person refuses to change and never says they’re sorry, walk through a step-by-step process to free yourself from the hurt of your past and feel less offended today, and identify what’s stealing trust and vulnerability from your relationships so you can believe there is still good ahead.
Bonus: Three Devotionals . . .
Shadow and Light: A Journey into Advent :: Tsh Oxenreider
Though the holidays are often jam-packed with busyness, the weeks leading up to Yuletide are still a time to reflect on the miracle of Jesus’s birth. Shadow and Light is a concise and customizable guide for the Advent season to help you rediscover your childlike wonder and contemplate the sacred gift we celebrate in the Christmas season―a season of wonder and waiting.
From bestselling author Tsh Oxenreider, Shadow and Light is a rich yet approachable experience that invites you to explore the historical meaning of Advent. Drawing from liturgical tradition, Tsh provides fresh insights for new and longtime believers alike. Each day includes Scripture, a reflection, a question, and a simple activity to engage the senses, such as lighting candles, listening to music, and viewing artwork both old and new. Let yourself break away from the hustle and bustle of crafts, cookies, and Christmas parties, and receive your invitation to remember the quiet focus of our celebration.
More Power to You: Declarations to Break Free from Fear and Take Back Your Life :: Margaret Feinberg
Each of the 52 devotions in More Power to You by Bible teacher Margaret Feinberg examines a popular lie in our culture, helps us understand how that lie shows itself in our lives, and invites us to replace that lie with a Biblical affirmation of truth that will bring joy to your soul.
In a culture that constantly tells us we’re not good enough, not beautiful enough, and not doing enough, it’s easy to feel as if we have nothing to offer. Lies about who we are and how we are failing slip into our thinking until we believe they are reality. But that’s not what God intends for us.
In More Power to You, Margaret Feinberg exposes these false beliefs and shows you that the places of your deepest hurts can become wellsprings of your greatest healing. You’ll find power in knowing you are already worthy in God’s eyes. As you begin to live out that truth, you will break free from the negative thoughts that hold you hostage and experience the joyous life God wants for you.
Take Heart: 100 Devotions to Seeing God When Life’s Not Okay :: the (in)courage community
“In this world you will have trouble,” Jesus said. “But take heart, I have overcome the world.” If life hasn’t turned out the way you planned, you’re not alone. Cancer comes. Loved ones die. Spouses leave. Dreams slip through our fingers. Anxiety and depression steal precious seasons. But what if you knew you weren’t alone in your pain, and sorrow isn’t in the end of the story?
In this 100-day devotional, the (in)courage community comes alongside you when your heart is grieving, your faith is shaking, or it’s just one of those mundane hard days. In these vulnerable stories, you won’t find tidy bows or trite quick fixes, but you will find arrows pointing you straight to Jesus. Each day includes a key Scripture, a heartening devotion, and a prayer to remind you that God is near and hope is possible.
Let this book be like a trusted friend, wrapping your heart with comfort and assurance that you are seen. Together we can find ourselves and God again in one another’s stories. Together we can take heart!
Stay Tuned . . .
If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss the next list when it’s live, click on the image below to subscribe. (P.S. Check your email―you’ll receive gifts after subscribing.)
As mentioned, I bookmarked several other upcoming releases that are not on this list. When narrowing it down, I chose titles from authors I personally know and trust or have read before, or first-time authors who come highly recommended by people I trust. There will be many releases that top the charts over these four months (ask me in person and I’ll give you my book-launch-manager predictions), but these 14 are books I’m confident will contain encouraging, inspiring, honest, and powerful words within.
Another great list! I need more time! ;)
Same! :) Can’t wait to see yours on Amazon soon.