It’d be impressive if at the end of the year, we could say we’d read a book a month; especially given how tough it can be to sit down for an hour or two, considering our full lives, family commitments and job responsibilities. Plus, there are so many books to choose from, how do we even begin to decide what to read, or why?

Well, here are 13 we at Baptist World Aid Australia think would grab our attention, challenge our thinking and turn our hearts toward the issues we believe God cares about. We list them here with a little blurb from their publishers and in no particular order.

Some are recent, some are classics. All promise to push us forward in all the right ways. Happy Reading!

The cover of 'Prayer in the Night' by Tish Harrison Warren
Prayer in the Night: For Those who Work or Watch or Weep

by Tish Harrison Warren

‘How can we trust God in the dark? Framed around the nighttime prayer of Compline, Tish Harrison Warren explores human vulnerability, suffering, and God’s seeming absence as she recalls her own experience navigating a time of doubt and loss.’ (Intervarsity Press: 2021)

The cover of 'A Lot with a Little' by Tim Costello
A Lot with a Little

by Tim Costello

‘Shortlisted for 2020 Australian Christian Book of the Year In this evocative memoir, Baptist pastor Tim Costello explores the people and experiences that have shaped him into a socially active fighter for the world’s most challenging issues.’ (Hardie Grant Publishers 2019)

The cover of 'Half the Church' by Carolyn Custis James
Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women

by Carolyn Custis James

‘The plight of women in the Majority World demands a Christian response, a holistic embrace of all that God calls women and men to be in his world. Carolyn Custis James unpacks three transformative themes the Bible presents to wome that raise the bar for women and calls them to join their brothers in advancing God’s gracious kingdom on earth.’ (Zondervan 2015)

The cover of 'The Boy Behind the Curtain' by Tim Winton
The Boy Behind the Curtain

by Tim Winton

‘This highly acclaimed collection of memoirs is Winton’s most intimate and revealing work yet. Along with Island Home and Land’s Edge, it forms the remarkable culmination of Winton’s autobiographical trilogy, showing our finest novelist also to be one of our finest writers of non-fiction (and his essay “Twice on Sunday” is worth the read).’ (Penguin Books 2017)

The cover of 'Women and Leadership' by Julia Gillard & Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Women and Leadership: Real Lives, Real Lessons

by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

‘An inspirational and practical book written by two high-achieving women, sharing the experience and advice of some of our most extraordinary women leaders, in their own words. As a result of their broad experience on the world stage in politics, economics and global not-for-profits, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Julia Gillard have some strong ideas about the impact of gender on the treatment of leaders. Women and Leadership takes a consistent and comprehensive approach to teasing out what is different for women who lead.’ (Penguin Books 2021)

The cover of 'Good News About Injustice' by Gary A Haugen
Good News about Injustice: A Witness of Courage in a Hurting World

by Gary Haugen

‘The good news about injustice is that God is against it. God is in the business of using the unlikely to accomplish justice and mercy. In this tenth-anniversary edition of Gary Haugen’s challenging and encouraging book he offers stories of courageous Christians who have stood up for justice in the face of human trafficking, forced prostitution, racial and religious persecution, and torture.’ (Intervarsity Press, 2009)

The cover of 'Wardrobe Crisis: How We Went From Sunday Best to Fast Fashion' by Clare Press
Wardrobe Crisis: How We Went from Sunday Best to Fast Fashion

by Clare Press

‘In Wardrobe Crisis, fashion journalist Clare Press explores the history and ethics behind what we wear. Putting her insider status to good use, Press examines the entire fashion ecosystem, from sweatshops to haute couture, unearthing the roots of today’s buy-and-discard culture. She traces the origins of icons like Chanel, Dior, and Hermès; charts the rise and fall of the department store; and follows the thread that led us from Marie Antoinette to Carrie Bradshaw. Wardrobe Crisis is a witty and persuasive argument for a fashion revolution that will empower you to feel good about your wardrobe again.’ (Skyhorse Publishers 2018)

Cover of Padraig O Tuama's Poetry Unbound book
Poetry Unbound: 50 Poems to Open Your World

by Pádraig Ó Tuama

‘In the tumult of our contemporary moment, poetry has emerged as an inviting, consoling outlet with a unique power to move and connect us, to inspire fury, tears, joy, laughter, and surprise. This generous anthology pairs fifty illuminating poems with poet and podcast host Pádraig Ó Tuama’s appealing, unhurried reflections. With keen insight and warm personal anecdotes, Ó Tuama considers each poem’s artistry and explores how its meaning can reach into our own lives. . . For anyone who has wanted to try their hand at a conversation with poetry but doesn’t know where to start, Poetry Unbound presents a window through which to celebrate the art of being alive.’ (W. W. Norton & Company, 2022)

The cover of 'The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History' by Meredith Lake
The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History

by Meredith Lake

‘In this multi-award-winning history of the Bible in Australia, Meredith Lake gets under the skin of a text that’s been wrestled with, preached and tattooed, and believed to be everything from a resented imposition to the very Word of God. A must-read for non-believers and believers alike, The Bible in Australia explores how in the hands of Bible-bashers, immigrants, suffragists, evangelists, unionists, writers, artists and Indigenous Australians, the Bible has played a defining and contested role in this country. At a time when public discussion of religion is deeply polarised, this multi-award-winning book offers an innovative and surprising new perspective on religion and society.’ (New South Publishers 2020)

The cover of 'Refuge Reimagined: Biblical Kinship in Global Politics' by Mark R. Glanville & Luke Glanville
Refuge Reimagined: Biblical Kinship in Global Politics

by Luke Glanville and Mark Glanville

‘The global crisis of forced displacement is growing every year. At the same time, Western Christians’ sympathy toward refugees is increasingly overshadowed by concerns about personal and national security, economics, and culture. We urgently need a perspective that understands both Scripture and current political realities and that can be applied at the levels of the church, the nation, and the globe. In Refuge Reimagined, Mark R. Glanville and Luke Glanville offer a new approach to compassion for displaced people: a biblical ethic of kinship. God’s people, they argue, are consistently called to extend kinship-a mutual responsibility and solidarity-to those who are marginalized and without a home.’ (IVP Academic 2021)

The cover of 'The Beekeeper of Aleppo' by Christy Lefteri
The Beekeeper of Aleppo

by Christy Lefteri  (fiction)

‘Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live happily in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo—until the unthinkable happens and they are forced to flee. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. Moving, powerful, compassionate and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit. Told with deceptive simplicity, it is the kind of book that reminds us of the power of storytelling. ‘ (Bonnier Press 2021)

Cover of Brene Brown's Imperfect: The Gifts of Imperfection book
The Gifts of Imperfection

by Dr. Brené Brown

‘In this groundbreaking New York Times best seller, Dr. Brené Brown, a research professor and thought leader on vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame, shares ten guideposts on the power of Wholehearted living—a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.’ (Hazelden Publishing, 2010)

The cover of 'Workship 2' by Kara Martin
Workship 2: How to Flourish at Work

by Kara Martin

‘Shortlisted Australian Christian Book of the Year. How does faith at work look like in reality? In this follow-up to Workship 1, Kara Martin shares more practical wisdom on making a difference in the workplace. Topics range from hospitality and leadership, to ethical issues and workplace conflict, to reflections on unemployment, women and work, and the future of work. Kara also provides effective ways that churches can adopt to better equip their congregations to “workship,” addressing areas like service programmes, workplace visitations, and mentoring. From the church to the local community, Workship 2 helps bridge the sacred-secular divide and inspires workers to thrive in their working.’ (The Wandering Bookseller 2018)

Bonus Recommendations

And in case you can’t decide from the above list, here are some bonus titles:

  • African Pearl: Aids, Loss and Redemption in the Shadow of the Rwenzori Mountains by Pamela Brown Peterside (2020)
  • John Stott on Creation Care edited by Sam Berry and Laura Yoder (2021)
  • Letters to a Diminished Church: Passionate Arguments for the Relevance of Christian Doctrine by Dorothy L. Sayers (2004, essays first published in the 1940s & 1950s))
  • Talking to My Country by Stan Grant (2016)
  • Little books from the Centre for Public Christianity:
    • The Pleasures of Pessimism by Natasha Moore (2020)
    • The Cost of Compassion by Tim Costello (2020)
    • The End of Thinking by Mark Stevens (2021)
    • Achievement Addiction by Justine Toh (2021)