I’d like to begin by saying you’re welcome for only including 12 books. I narrowed it down from a list of 40 titles, but based on the books I already have filed away for May-August, I make no promises for stopping with a dozen next time.
But after 2020, “too many” great books releasing at one time is pretty much the best problem to have. Yes to all the words, yes to filling our bookshelves, yes to writers continuing to tell stories that make us laugh, make us think, and change lives.
The nonfiction books below are listed in order of release date and include a blurb pulled from Amazon descriptions. Be sure to pin to Pinterest if you want to come back later while adding to your To Be Read list, or share on Facebook if you think your friends might be interested! As always, I’d love to hear what book(s) you’re most looking forward to in the comments.
For lists from 2020, see: January-April, May-August, and September-December.
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 January when it’s $16.00, then it drops to $11.00 mid-February and is $13.00 when it releases in April. You would pay $11―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!
12 Can’t-Miss Books Coming January-April of 2021 . . .
The In-Between Place: Where Jesus Changes Your Story :: Kat Armstrong
God wants us to move toward the goodness He has planned for us. But what do we do when challenges stop our forward momentum? What’s the next step when we fall into a pit of despair with the determination knocked right out of us?
Jesus’ journey to the woman at the well in Samaria offers insights and hope for women today to make peace with the past, find hope in the present, and step into the future.
The In-Between Place offers deeply important insights to anyone who feels stuck and can’t see a way forward. It is for the person who feels that if she looks left, her face will be scraped by an immovable boulder, and if she looks right, she’ll see nothing but hard to handle. It’s for the person who feels lost and is not sure she is worth the effort to be found, for the person who feels overlooked and unfulfilled. Because sometimes Jesus saves our greatest spiritual breakthroughs for our in-between places.
How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice :: Jemar Tisby
Jemar Tisby, author of the award-winning The Color of Compromise, believes we need to move beyond mere discussions about racism and begin equipping people with the practical tools to fight against it. How to Fight Racism is a handbook for pursuing racial justice with hands-on suggestions bolstered by real-world examples of change.
Tisby offers an array of actionable items to confront racism in our relationships and in everyday life through a simple framework—the A.R.C. Of Racial Justice—that helps readers consistently interrogate their own actions and maintain a consistent posture of anti-racist action. This book is for anyone who believes it is time to stop compromising with racism and courageously confront it.
Beginning in the church, he provides an opportunity to be part of the solution and suggests that the application of these principles can offer us hope that will transform our nation and the world. Tisby roots the ultimate solution to racism in the Christian faith as we embrace the implications of what Jesus taught his followers.
Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep :: Tish Harrison Warren
How can we trust God in the dark? Framed around a nighttime prayer of Compline, Tish Harrison Warren, author of Liturgy of the Ordinary, explores themes of human vulnerability, suffering, and God’s seeming absence.
When she navigated a time of doubt and loss, the prayer was grounding for her. She writes that practices of prayer “gave words to my anxiety and grief and allowed me to reencounter the doctrines of the church not as tidy little antidotes for pain, but as a light in darkness, as good news.”
Where do we find comfort when we lie awake worrying or weeping in the night? This book offers a prayerful and frank approach to the difficulties in our ordinary lives at work, at home, and in a world filled with uncertainty.
That Sounds Fun: The Joys of Being an Amateur, the Power of Falling in Love, and Why You Need a Hobby :: Annie F. Downs
We know there are certain things we must have to survive—food, shelter, and safety to name a few. But there are also aspects of life that truly allow us to be joyful and fulfilled. For popular podcaster and bestselling author Annie F. Downs, fun is close to the top of that list. Few would argue that having fun doesn’t enrich our lives, but so much gets in the way of prioritizing it. Tough days, busyness, and feelings that are hard to talk about keep us from the fun that’s out there waiting to be found.
With That Sounds Fun, Annie offers an irresistible invitation to understand the meaning of fun, to embrace it and chase it, and to figure out what, exactly, sounds fun to you—then do it! Exploring research and sharing thoughts behind why fun matters, she shows you how to find, experience, and multiply your fun. With her signature storytelling style and whimsical vulnerability, Annie is the friend we all need to guide us back to staying true to ourselves and finding the fun we need.
Share Your Stuff. I’ll Go First.: 10 Questions to Take Your Friendships to the Next Level :: Laura Tremaine
Part memoir and part guidebook, Share Your Stuff. I’ll Go First. is the invitation you’ve been waiting for to show up with your whole self and discover the intimate, meaningful relationships you long for.
In spite of the hyper-connected culture we live in today, women still feel shamed for oversharing and being publicly vulnerable. And no matter how many friends we seem to have, many of us are still desperately lonely.
Laura Tremaine says it’s time for something better. Openness and vulnerability are the foundation for human growth and healthy relationships, and it all starts when we share our stuff, the nitty-gritty daily details about ourselves with others. With lighthearted self-awareness, a sensitivity to the important things in life, and compelling storytelling, Laura gives you the tools to build and deepen the conversations happening in your life. Each chapter offers intriguing and reflective questions that will reveal unique details and stories you’ve never thought to tell and will guide you into cultivating the authentic connection with others that only comes from sharing yourself.
Thank You for Rejecting Me: Transform Pain into Purpose and Learn to Fight for Yourself :: Kat Warman
Our stories are riddled with the sting of rejection. It’s feeling like a failure or being heartbroken. It’s being left out or misunderstood. It’s the parent who neglected us or the person who betrayed our trust. It’s even in the way we think or talk about ourselves and question our relationship with God.
Whether it happened in grade school or last week, rejection can leave deep scars that affect our relationships, our self-worth, and our identities for years to come. And while we can’t control when rejection appears, we can control how we react when it does.
In Thank You for Rejecting Me, popular relationship coach and podcaster Kait Warman shows you how to turn pain into purpose and fight for yourself when rejection comes your way. With chapters that focus on some of life’s biggest rejections—being betrayed, abused, misunderstood, heartbroken, sexually shamed, and many more—this book offers practical tools to heal from the past, take back your power, and walk in strength, victory, and love in the future.
Woven: Understanding the Bible as One Seamless Story :: Angie Smith
Does the Bible feel confusing and complicated to you? Perhaps some of it feels familiar, but overall, does it feel impossible to navigate? Maybe you recognize the stories, but you just don’t know how they all fit together.
Yet they do fit together. In her unique and remarkably readable way, Angie Smith—bestselling author of What Women Fear, Mended, I Will Carry You, and Seamless—helps you tie together all the loose, disconnected threads you find in the Bible, weaving them into a beautifully crafted storyline.
After reading Woven, when it comes to reading Scripture, you’ll go from confused to confident, from lost to knowledgeable, and ultimately, from God’s heart to yours. Because once you see the big picture, you’ll see it on every page. Every time.
Flooded: The 5 Best Decisions to Make When Life Is Hard and Doubt Is Rising :: Nicki Koziarz
“Please, God, no more hard things.”Nicki Koziarz knows what it’s like to whisper those words to God. She understands what it feels like to be flooded by hopelessness and hard situations, wondering if it will ever stop.
Through the painful loss of her mom to a brain tumor and her brother to suicide, she has learned that if doubt is left undealt with, it can cause the presence of unbelief to flood our lives—to the point that faith becomes unrecognizable. In the midst of her pain, Nicki looked through the lens of the biblical account of Noah and discovered five decisions a person can make to help deflect the destruction of doubt.
When you are wrestling with doubt and fighting back hopelessness, Flooded will help you: quiet the fear that God won’t come through by discovering the difference between wishful thinking and biblical hope, resist the urge to control the uncontrollable by finding peace in between the problem and the promise, and find the familiar faithfulness of God in His Word when it feels like nothing is normal and everything is falling apart.
How Far You Have Come: Musings on Beauty and Courage :: Morgan Harper Nichols
How Far You Have Come is an exquisitely illustrated collection of poetry and essays from bestselling artist and writer Morgan Harper Nichols. In the midst of the hurt and the mundane, the questions and the not yets, we can forget just how far we have come. Morgan weaves together personal reflections with her signature poems to share her journey to reclaim moments of brokenness, division, and pain and re-envision them as experiences of reconciliation, unity, and hope.
As Morgan reflects on the moments that shaped her, she invites us to awaken our hearts and recognize how our own histories have made us who we are today. Readers will have a deeper understanding of pressing on and pressing in, of transformation and surrender, and of meaning in the losses and wild anticipation for the splendor ahead. You’ll reclaim moments of brokenness, division, and pain and re-envision them as experiences of reconciliation, unity, and hope.
Ten Words to Live By: Delighting in and Doing What God Commands :: Jen Wilkin
In Ten Words to Live By, Jen Wilkin, best-selling author of Women of the Word, reminds readers of the life-giving power of God’s perfect law for the believer. The Ten Commandments are words about obedience and holiness―timeless in their importance and wisdom―spoken by God to a nation recently set free. Yet today these same words are often misunderstood, forgotten, or simply ignored.
Wilkin teaches readers how the Ten Commandments come to bear on their lives today, helping them to love God and others, to live in joyful freedom, and to long for that future day when God will be rightly worshiped for eternity. Ancient and timeless, these words cannot be overlooked. They serve as the rightful delight and daily meditation of those who call on the name of the Lord.
The Well-Watered Woman: Rooted in Truth, Growing in Grace, Flourishing in Faith :: Gretchen Saffles
In the chaos of our everyday, it can be difficult to live out and apply the truths of Scripture. We want more of Jesus, but we find ourselves looking to our own lives and accomplishments for our worth and identity. And while that may buoy us for a time, we’re often left feeling dried up, discouraged, and longing for more.
Gretchen Saffles knows what it’s like to feel overwhelmed and unable to flourish. In The Well-Watered Woman, Gretchen leads us to the Well of fullness, the Word of freedom, and the Way of fruitfulness. She teaches that God’s Word will satisfy us for all eternity.
Using Scripture and her own personal story of surrender, Gretchen offers spiritually hungry women tangible tools to not only know Jesus more but to live a life that thoroughly enjoys Him, seeks Him, and follows Him into freedom.
Becoming All Things: How Small Changes Lead To Lasting Connections Across Cultures :: Michelle Reyes
Cultural identities and cross-cultural engagement are not things that anyone can choose to ignore anymore, least of all Christians. Many of us want to have diverse friends and are passionate about justice. But if we are serious about cross-cultural relationships—real relationships that lead to understanding, healing and solidarity across cultural lines—we need to be willing to change. And that’s not something that comes easy for any of us.
In Becoming All Things, Michelle Reyes offers a poignant discussion on the challenges surrounding cross-cultural relationships in America today, including the reasons for cultural difference, stereotyping, appropriation, gentrification, racism, and more. Seeking to deconstruct these things in our own lives, Reyes focuses on the concept of cultural accommodation in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. With language that’s witty, funny, and accessible, Reyes offers hope for majority and minority alike by showing what’s possible when all of us are willing to try something new.
Bonus: A Journal and Bible Study . . .
The Next Right Thing Guided Journal :: Emily P. Freeman
When we have a decision to make, what we want more than anything is peace, clarity, and a nudge in the right direction. If you have trouble making decisions because of either chronic hesitation or decision fatigue, Emily P. Freeman offers a fresh way of practicing familiar but often forgotten advice: do the next right thing.
The Next Right Thing Guided Journal includes both seasonal and monthly pages of insightful questions, personal lists, guided decision-making techniques, and plenty of room to write so you can clear the decision-making chaos, quiet your fear of choosing wrong, and find the courage to finally decide without regret or second-guessing.
Whether you’re in the midst of a major life transition or are weary of the low-grade anxiety that daily life can bring, this guided journal helps create space for your soul to breathe so you can live life with God at a gentle pace and discern your next right thing in love.
Courageous Simplicity: Abide in the Simple Abundance of Jesus :: the (in)courage community
“I’m just so busy and tired.” These words fall from your lips as easy and often as your next breath. You’re weary of your packed schedule and frenetic pace and responsibilities at every turn. Even good things no longer feel life-giving. You long for a simpler life. You want to be able to face daily burdens and the chaos of this world and say with confidence, “It is well with my soul.” But how?
(in)courage is ready to come alongside you through Courageous Simplicity, a six-session Bible study on living in the simple abundance of Jesus. This study will help you release control of what frays your soul and will lead you to true refreshment. As you train in the spiritual practice of simplicity, you will discover the God who loves you lavishly and wants to show you how to live with a heart open and surrendered to his presence. You can live in the peace and freedom of having and being enough.
Stay Tuned . . .
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As mentioned, I bookmarked many other upcoming releases. When narrowing it down, I chose titles from authors I personally know and trust, authors I’ve read before, or first-time authors who come highly recommended by people I respect. 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 12 are books I’m confident will contain encouraging, inspiring, honest, and powerful words within.