2017 Best Books List

I realize that most of these list get done at the end of the year- but I’m writing on New Year’s Day. So as 2018 begins I’ll look back on my favorite books of the year.

Biggest Impact Books of the Year


  1. The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ (Fleming Rutledge)- I’m gonna be honest. I’m not finished with this. It’s over 600 pages and it’s excellent. I already feel the need to reread it so I can continue to soak up all the Rutledge proposes.
  2. Evangelical, Sacramental, and Pentecostal (Gordon T. Smith)- Instead of being Evangelical, sacramental or Pentecostal, Smith encourages church leaders to embrace all three positions because they are intrinsically tied to each other.
  3. A Fellowship of Differents (Scot McKnight)- McKnight challenges reader to reflect the diversity of the Kingdom of God in our day-to-day living and in our churches/ministries. This is especially important in a year where we are tempted to live in echo-chambers and hold polarizing opinions.
  4. Hillbilly Elegy (J.D. Vance) A memoir about Vance’s hillbilly heritage, the obstacles he and his family faced as they moved out of the hills of Appalachia, and insight on some of our social and political situations today.

Honorable Mention: The Rise of Theological Liberalism and the Decline of American Methodism (James Heidinger)- An excellent look at the Methodist movement in America and the impact of Theological liberalism that all denominations faced in the early 1900’s- and how it continues to impact the church today.

Most Fun Books to Read


  1. Ready Player One (Ernest Cline)- This book was fun. The 80’s nostalgia. Voltron! And more! I have high hopes for the movie later in 2018.


  1. Thrawn (Timothy Zahn)- When I was in college, I discovered Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars books and The Thrawn Trilogy. The books felt so seamless to the original movie trilogy. I was disappointed when Disney did away with the expanded universe- but completely thrilled when Disney brought Thrawn into the fold. This book was a fun read on the Thrawn origins.
  2. Kids of Appetite (David Arnold): I really enjoyed Arnold’s 2nd book more than his first (though not a complete knock on Mosquitoland). It’s a tale of friendship, compassion, death and grief, and so much more.

Sports Book of the Year


  1. Chuck Noll: His Life Work (Michael MacCambridge)- Ok, so the only sports book I read this year. I thought it was excellent (confession: I am a complete Steelers fan). MacCambridge does a great job of focusing on Noll and not the personalities and dynamics of the 70’s Dynasty Steelers. I have to admit, I even had tears at one point in the book. No other sports book has done that for me!

For the year, I read 22 books. My goal for 2018 is 35 books. I would like to read (especially Theologically) more voices of women and people of color. I am looking forward to what the new year has to bring!

About Steve LaMotte

Husband of Andrea and father of four amazing children. Pastor at Avenue United Methodist Church in Milford, Delaware.
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