Announcing the Bookshelf Top 20 of 2020

A mix of compelling stories and important information, many books on spirituality, lifestyle and health have made it into this year's Top 20 list!

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Some of the books on the Top 20 list.

How could we not have a Top 20 of 2020? While many people’s “2020 visions” have not gone to plan, many of us have had more time at home this year and some of that time has been well occupied with books. Our Adventist bookstores have had their challenges across the year, but they have been able to continue to serve their customers in various ways and webstore sales have continued to grow.

So here’s our list of the 20 best-selling books that have been advertised in the monthly Bookshelf catalogue across the year. Catch up on some of the popular books you might have missed—and win one of the books on this list that you might not yet have read or would like to share as a gift (see the links below).

In its 11th year, this ranking represents sales through Adventist bookstores in Australia and New Zealand since January 1. Five of this year’s list have carried over from last year’s Top 20, including Food As Medicine setting a record for a fifth consecutive year on the Bookshelf Top 20.

1. Live More Happy: Scientifically Proven Ways to Lift Your Mood and Your Life (Pocket Edition)

Live More Happy by Dr Darren Morton has been in the Top 20 for the past two years, but the condensed Pocket Edition has given this valuable book a new lease of life. As well as the sales through Adventist bookstores that earned its number-one slot on this list, this sharing edition has been distributed by the tens of thousands by conferences, churches and literature evangelists this year—and at a time when so many of us, as well as those in our communities, have needed help with building emotional wellbeing and resilience.

2. Daring to Ask for More (Pocket Edition)

Designed for mass distribution and evangelistic sharing, this was also a condensed edition of a previously popular book. Prayer is one of those topics that combines both mystery and power in our spiritual lives; it can be the first contact someone has with God and the life-giving breath of the long-time believer. When Bookshelf interviewed author Melody Mason a few months ago, she said that she hears almost every day from people all around the world telling her that her books “have changed their life, given them a new perspective, helped them see how big God is and showed them how to pray.”

3. Living 28: Fresh Perspectives on Practising our Faith

Collecting a series of Adventist Record articles on each of the Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, this book features 30 writers—including the Preamble and an introduction to the book by South Pacific Division president Pastor Glenn Townend—examining why what we believe matters and how it should change how we live. The variety of voices, many of them younger writers, bring a freshness to this book and the discussion questions at the end of each chapter invite readers to join the conversation.

4. Far Away From Home

This is the story of the Kavur family from the perspective of the youngest brother, Josip. Not only do we share the experiences of Joe and his brothers growing up under Communism in the former Yugoslavia, we also hear his father re-tell the dramatic stories of his conversion as a prisoner of war during World War I and the earliest Adventist missionary work in Macedonia. Inspired by their quest for faith and freedom, Joe and three of his family escape into Austria and eventually find a new life in Australia. It is hardly surprising that these stories have caught the attention of many readers this year.

5. The Giving Equation: Working out Your Relationship with God and Money

Dr Ken Long has been an advocate of stewardship for many years. As a business consultant and church member, he has developed a unique approach to understanding how our attitude to money both reflects and shapes our lives with God. When we give, he urges, we do not only assist the causes to which we give, we also practise a different understanding of our faith, which brings important benefits to our own lives.

6. I Am Loved: A Daily Devotional for Women by Women

This “Women’s Devotional” book for 2020 continues the series of devotional books edited by Carolyn Rathbun Sutton that collect stories from women around the world, presented around a common theme. This is a perennially popular series and the books have been an ongoing source of encouragement and inspiration for many readers.

7. If You Are Thirsty, You Can Be Spirit-filled: Be Empowered for Life and Witness

The first of three books from Dr Peter Roennfeldt on this year’s Top 20 list—he’s had three on this list each year in which he has had three books available—this is also the newest release on this year’s list. The Holy Spirit has long been a confused and contested topic within Adventism and the wider Christian world, but the Bible also presents the Holy Spirit as personal and powerful, necessary and refreshing. We need a better understand of Who, what and how the Holy Spirit is, so grab a boxful (available at a special price from your local Adventist bookstore) and explore this book with your church community.

8. How to Interpret Scripture

This companion book to the second quarter’s Sabbath school lesson study should have a life beyond that quarter as it examines the origin of the Bible, explores why it is the source of our theology, evaluates the influence of biblical languages, investigates prophecy and so much more.

9. Education

While school days are important, education is much more than school and extends far beyond our adolescence. This book by Ellen White goes deeper into the power and the interconnected relationship between Christian education and the family, the law, personal worldview, worship and the church.

10. Making Friends for God

Veteran evangelist Mark Finley draws on his 53 years of ministry experience to set out the key principles of personal evangelism. When we come to Christ and are changed by His grace, charmed by His love and redeemed by His power, this changes how we see and relate to others—and we cannot be silent.

11. Story Catcher

Dick Duerksen is a favourite storyteller to many of us who have heard him speak at camp-meetings and other church events over many years. Whether re-imagining Bible stories or collecting remarkable stories of God’s intervention in the lives of people around the world, that some of his best stories have been collected between the covers of a book is a great thing.

12. As Light Lingers: Basking in the Word of God

Number one on this list last year, Nina Atcheson’s focus on the Bible with practical strategies for incorporating Bible-reading into our lives has continued to be popular this year. The book even includes colourful pull-out bookmark guides for use in reading your Bible.

13. Following the Apostles’ Vision for Disciple-making, Church-planting Movements

In the third in his “Following . . .” series, Peter Roennfeldt reads the letters of the New Testament for what they were: letters to new disciples and recently planted churches working out how to live as followers of Jesus and how to share their faith in their cities and regions. In doing so, he discovers insights into our living and sharing faith in our communities and cultures.

14. Food As Medicine: Cooking for Your Best Health

Extending its record run in the Bookshelf Top 20, Food As Medicine is still a great addition to your cookbook collection or a beautiful and health-promoting gift. Adding to its success, Food As Medicine also celebrated the launch of the North American edition of the book in the past few weeks.

15. If You Can Eat . . . You Can Make Disciples

Drawing on Peter Roennfeldt’s experiences with his multi-faith neighbours and his study of the teaching of Jesus in Luke 10, this simple book offers a strategy for everyday faith-sharing with friends and neighbours—and recommends eating together to build relationships.

16. Cooling Down Stress

An experienced stress-management coach shares strategies for coping with stress and developing resilience with a story drawn from real-life experiences that demonstrates key issues of stress and how to respond.

17. Hearing the Way: What the First Christians Heard in the Story of Jesus

Released late last year, Hearing the Way snuck onto last year’s Top 20 list and continued interest into this year gets it onto the list again. This book explores “the Way”—an Old Testament theme that recurs across the New Testament and offers new insights into understanding the stories of Jesus and His first followers.

18. Norma: Beyond Their Tears

The true story of Norma Nashed, through her difficult early life growing up in the Middle East to a troubled marriage and a cancer battle that led her to a unique ministry that sees her organisation caring for thousands of orphans in a number of countries around the world.

19. Steps to Christ Activity Book

Introduce children to the life-changing spiritual principles of Steps to Christ with interactive activities and songs, suitable for family worship, schools, Sabbath activities, children and youth camps, and other settings.

20. Ellen White’s Afterlife: Delightful Fictions, Troubling Facts, Enlightening Research

This book is a worthwhile summary of the progression in understanding the ministry and writing of Ellen White over recent decades, as well as a selection of original documents—many of which have not been widely published—that have supported some of this growing body of research.

Visit adventistbookcentre.com.au/top20 (Australia) or adventistbookcentre.co.nz/top20 (New Zealand) to win a book from the Top 20. To enter, simply submit a product review for one of the products in the 2020 Top 20 list. The 5 reviews deemed most useful for undecided customers will win the entrant a book of their choice from the list. Entries close December 15, 2020.