10 Best Books of 2021
* according to me


Here are 10 favorite books I read in 2021 (not all were published in 2021). 

In no particular order, here are my top 10.

1. Zero Fail
The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service
by Carol Leonnig


I love a good behind-the-scenes book about the inner workings of a major business or government entity. This book is an amazing look at behind-the-scenes of the Secret Service since its inception. The stories told are riveting about the JFK assassination, the attempt on President Reagan’s life, the break-ins at the White House, etc., all from the perspective of the Secret Service. 

2. Storyworthy
Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life through the Power of Storytelling
by Matthew Dicks


Author Matthew Dicks is an award-winning oral storyteller (and an elementary school teacher, a novelist, a wedding DJ, etc.). This book is a fascinating compilation of how Matthew tells true stories from his life to win storytelling competitions. I have zero plans for that. But I I do want to better write and remember my own stories for myself. I picked up lots of great tips here, including Matt’s Homework for Life.

3. The Sleep Solution
Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How to Fix It


This is a great book to put insomnia into perspective. My sleep has gotten better this year (thank, God!) and I hope now I’ll lose some of the angst I feel on those nights when I still can’t stay asleep. Lots of good information in this book.

4. Factfulness
Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World ‚ and Why Things Are Better Than You Think
by Hans Rosling


Most of us are wrong about global trends on world population, people in poverty, women and schooling, etc. This book is a fascinating approach to setting us straight and finding hope for our world.

5. Divine Echoes
Reconciling Prayer With the Uncontrolling Love of God
by Mark Gregory Karris


How does God actually work in our world? What is the best way to pray? What should we ask him for (and not ask for)? Nobody can answer these questions with complete certainty. Pastor and author Mark Karris suggests we may be putting too much responsibility on God in our prayers and not enough on ourselves. This book offers interesting insights I hadn’t considered.

6. The Making of Biblical Womanhood
How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth
by Beth Allison Barr


Our pride often tells us *we* understand what the Bible means, not only for today’s audience, but also for its original audience. Including understanding women’s roles. But Beth Allison Barr takes us back through history to show us the path that led us here. Maybe our idea of “biblical womanhood” isn’t so biblical after all? I highly recommend this book. 

[My book review here of The Making of Biblical Womanhood]

7. 11/22/63
by Stephen King


As you can guess from the title, this novel revolves around the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. But it also takes place in modern times. I won’t spoil the plot if you’re unfamiliar with the book or movie, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite it being SO long (850 pages). It isn’t scary or gory, which is the only reason I could read a Stephen King novel, although it is full of suspense. 

8. Irresistible
Reclaiming the New that Jesus Unleashed for the World
by Andy Stanley


Why was Christianity so irresistible to many in the first century, and yet so repellant to many in our century? Andy Stanley suggests we need to return to the roots of Jesus. Jesus is the real draw. I appreciate Stanley’s message. 

9. Chatter
The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It
by Ethan Kross


We talk to ourselves all day long. Are we saying the right things? This book teaches us to have a better conversation with our inner voices. I really found it helpful.

[Read more about Chatter: “How to Harness the Voice in Your Head”]

10. Time Management Ninja
21 Rules for More Time and Less Stress in Your Life
by Craig Jarrow


These 21 easy tips will nudge you in the right direction for better managing your time. 

Here’s my 1-minute video review of Time Management Ninja.

Which book would you recommend from 2021? Share in the comments.

Read More: 

17 thoughts on “10 Best Books of 2021
* according to me

  1. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Thank you, Miss Lisa. So glad to be back on your blog list now that I (gratefully!!!) have recovered from eye surgeries. I’ve read the womanhood one with interest, but don’t agree w/ all of it. I will look into the sleep one b/c my sleep is often interrupted! Thank you, b/c I know that sleep is highly critically important?

    And I? I’ve read lots of books, but really loved these, but here are some highlights:
    **Grow Slow by Jennifer Dukes Lee (admittedly a personal friend, but a gifted author and storyteller). Loved it.
    **One Thing by Sam Storms on the beauty of God. I’d found it at a booksale and loved it.
    **This Beautiful Truth by Sarah Clarkson. A stunningly, lyrically written memoir.
    **Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund. Likely my fave all year, b/c he deeply explores the gentleness and non-condemnatory of Christ’s and God’s nature and how the Godhead longs for sinners to come to them. And yes, he does talk about judgement in the end for those who do not. Highly biblical and quotes a lot from the Puritans. I don’t know Dane personally but do his brother Gavin, also a prolific author. I don’t know him well, but he personally tutored our daughter in Bible, and I adored their grandmother, Anne, who did personally mentor me as an author. I actually spent time w/ her. Wonderful woman of God and these young men have followed in her footsteps and their granddad, Ray’s. As a Christmas gift to moi, I just ordered his newest book, a devotional with exposition of all 150 Psalms. It looks wonderful and is at a reduced price on Amazon Prime.
    **I LOVE Pastor Colin Smith of Unlocking the Bible radio and have read several of his books: Momentum (on Beatitudes), Repentance: The Hidden Path to a Transformed Life, and his one on the book of Jonah (title escapes), and working now on The Ten Greatest Struggles of Your Life on the 10 C’s.
    **I’ve read 3 or 4 books on Jonah, each excellent in its own way with different insights. Jonah is a profound book (hadn’t realized this before) and interestingly speaks to our time on prejudice.
    **LOVE Malcom Guites new David’s Crown on each 150 Palms. Fascinating and beautifully written poems, each written in the same poetic form (NOT easy to do!), and forming a corona, where the last line of the previous poem becomes the first line of the last, and last line of Ps. 150 poem is the first line of poem on Ps 1! I will read through this entire book, along w/ the Ortlund devo starting afresh in 2022. And I love that Dane’s book prints out each ps. in its entirety.

    Lisa, this gives you a sampling, and if I think of any other I especially liked, I’ll list it. I did read a political book, which name escapes me, but was good, but ret’d to the library the many I was intending to read. I need a break from all that.

    Merry Christmas, and Happy REading.
    Oh, yes, and am still slogging through Moby dick (though don’t let “slogging” fool you; it’s a great novel). And currently reading Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Extraordinary novelette w/ great Christian principles, though no overt reference. D. was a Christian. And Lisa, if you have not done so, it would be great to blog on your favorite Advent and Christmas readers. Guite’s Waiting on the Word is a wonderful Advent reader, and his Waiting in the Wilderness, an excellent Lenten one.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lynn! I love seeing what you’re reading. And I love having the list right here so I can find it easily when I’m looking for a good book to read next. I appreciate you giving the time and thought into sharing your favorites here!

  2. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson was recommended and read. It was fine with some good insights for writers and songwriters, but I read it b/c I bought it for my brother (haven’t given it to him yet). It’s not my fave nor is his other book, The Garden of God, yet still some special insights and some lyrical writing in both.

  3. Lesley

    It’s great to read about your recommendations. I know you read a lot so if these made your top 10 they must be good. I’m just getting into The Making of Biblical Womanhood and this is the second post that has recommended it today so I’m looking forward to reading more!

  4. JeanWise

    it amazes me how much you read and love that you share this us throughout the year. and wow, to narrow it down to the best list. I missed some of these earlier – or forgot them so appreciate you bringing them up again for us, Merry Christmas, Lisa!!

  5. Linda Stoll

    Biblical Womanhood made my Top 3 List, too, Lisa! Your book reviews have led me to a number of excellent reads over the years. You know I’ll keep on checking in to see what’s on your shelves.

    Thinking of you and praying as you venture into Christmas, friend.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you for your prayers, Linda. I’d love to have my own Christmas miracle this year. I know though that I can fix my eyes on the Christmas miracle that we already got 2000 years ago and put my hope in Christ. I appreciate you, friend!

  6. Elena Wiggins

    Have you seen the movie version of 11/22/1963 with James Franco? I haven’t read the book, but the movie was edge-of-your-seat gripping! Not horror type of scary, but suspenseful and fascinating! Curious how it compares to the book, though I have heard they are pretty different.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      No, I haven’t seen the movie of 11/22/63. But you make me really want to see it now! 🙂 I’m not really a Stephen King fan because of the horror aspect (I’m wimpy), but the book wasn’t that kind of scary; sounds like the movie wasn’t either. Thanks!

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