Celebrating the Bookshelf Top 20 of 2022

Some of the books in the top 20.

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Each year, we look back over the bestselling books that have been advertised in Bookshelf over the year. This is a moment for congratulating the successful authors, but also offers insights into those books being most enjoyed and appreciated by our fellow readers. There are always some expected entries, some surprises, some books that are new and some that continue to appear on this list over a number of years.

In its 13th year, the Bookshelf Top 20 reflects book sales through Adventist bookshops in Australia and New Zealand since January 1 this year. The longest-running book on this year’s list is Live More Happy that holds its place with its Pocket Edition, even when selling them five at a time. But award-winning cookbook Food As Medicine reappears on this year’s list after missing last year’s Top 20 and author Dr Peter Roennfeldt continues the prominence of his books with two entries again this year.

So this is your chance to discover your next great read—and perhaps to win one of the books on this list (see the details below).

1. The Table I Long For: Learning to participate in the mission and family of God

This story and reflection of Pastor Shawn Brace’s local church in Bangor, Maine, includes the church’s closure and then replanting as a new community of faith with a greater focus on their community. The book reflects on the motivations, the lessons learnt, the challenges and opportunities—and ultimately examines what it means to be the church today and how we can understand our larger mission as the people of God in our increasingly secular cultures. Accompanying this number-one listing, the audiobook edition of The Table I Long For was launched on November 18.

2. Living Kingdom: Fresh perspectives on the parables of Jesus

The parables are the dominant way in which Jesus taught His disciples about what it means to live as citizens of the kingdom of God. They are both practical and evocative, familiar and challenging. Drawn from a series of articles in Adventist RecordLiving Kingdom brings fresh thinking to the meaningful stories Jesus told, with these chapters written by (mostly) younger writers from across the South Pacific and discussion questions question added for use in small groups, book clubs or other classes. Audiobook now available.

3. The Cross and the Millennium

Retired pastor and church leader Pastor Peter Colquhoun brings his passion for the gospel to one of the lesser studied doctrines of the Adventist Church and explains its significance for understanding and fulfilling the sacrifice of Jesus. He rebuts some of the divergent understandings of the Bible prophecies surrounding the millennium and points us back to Jesus as the true source of our hope and redemption.

4. Outside the Gate

The third in a series of small books for younger readers and their families written by story-teller David Edgren, Outside the Gate invites us into the early church through the eyes of Rhoda, the servant girl at John Mark’s house mentioned briefly in Acts 12. Now also available as an audiobook, this is a story that portrays the new kind of community that sprang up after the death and resurrection of Jesus, that sort to keep alive His story and share it with others. Discussion questions in the back of the book make this a resource for family worships or classrooms.

5. Sisters in Arms: Courageous Women of the Reformation

Number one on last year’s Top 20 list, Sisters in Arms continues to attract readers, with a third print run currently under way and also now available as an audiobook. These historically based stories introduce eight female characters of the European Reformation, offering an engaging and creative introduction to many of the key people, place, events and ideas of this important time in Christian history, as well as being inspiring stories of faithfulness amid hardships and persecution.

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

In its fifth year on the Bookshelf Top 20 list, the message of Live More Happy is more relevant than ever and continues to be shared by churches and church members around the world. While the original edition is currently being re-printed to meet ongoing demand, the Pocket Edition is sold in packs of five so you can share this guide to positive wellbeing with family, friends and neighbours. Now also available in an audiobook edition.

7. Retirement’s Gift: Time to Grow Your Life and Faith

Six years after Retirement Ready?—a guide to preparing for retirement—Dr Bruce Manners returned to this topic as an experienced retiree and with a pastor’s heart for living and growing our faith in this stage of life. Launched in September, the strong initial response to Retirement’s Gift bounced it into the Top 20 for this year.

8. I Will Go . . . To My Family

After working with the Trans Pacific Union Mission to create this daily devotional book from and for the Pacific nations, Signs Publishing took on this book to make it available in Australia and New Zealand. It has obviously been well received by many of us who appreciate the faith and stories from our Pacific church family.

9. Listening in the Morning: Devotional readings for Teachers

This book was developed by experienced educator Dr Trevor Lloyd and published in conjunction with the South Pacific Division’s Department of Adventist Education, including reflections on this year’s 150th anniversary of the first Adventist school. As well as being distributed to the almost 5000 teachers in Adventist schools around the South Pacific, this listing is for additional sales through local Adventist bookshops.

10. Remembering Mona Mona: The Mission in the Rainforest

After strong interest around the launch of this book last year, this history of Mona Mona Mission in northern Queensland continued to sell across this year to the point that there are few left in stock. Drawing on interviews with former Indigenous residents of the mission and historical record, the various authors seek to tell the truth of this challenging history, led by researcher Dr Brad Watson.

11. Canoes, Crocodiles and Christ: The Story of Haru Hariva

This story of pioneering indigenous missionary Haru Hariva is one of faith, adventure and miracles, with stories collected by Dr David McClintock from various members of Hariva’s family he worked with as a teach and education leader in Papua New Guinea. Written for use in high school Bible classes, it is easy to ready with photos and illustrations. Also now available as an audiobook.

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

This book was number 12 on last year’s Top 20 list and is the first of two entries this year from Dr Peter Roennfeldt, who has been a perennial contributor to the Top 20 since his debut in 2017. The Holy Spirit has been a contested topic, but the Bible also presents the Holy Spirit as personal and powerful, necessary and refreshing. Now also available as an audiobook, this is an accessible study of this important topic.

13. Understanding Daniel and Revelation

Understanding Daniel and Revelation is a chapter-by-chapter commentary of these two prophetic books, drawn from four decades of Mark Finley’s study of God’s Word. The prophecies of Daniel and Revelation hold answers for honest-hearted people seeking to understand the uncertainties of our time. Although the world may seem out of control, prophecy reveals a God who is still in control. 

14. 1922: The Rise of Adventist Fundamentalism

This new book picks up the story from Dr Michael Campbell’s previous study of the 1919 Bible Conference, focusing this time on the change of church leadership at the General Conference session in 1922 and the growing acceptance of a specifically Adventist form of fundamentalism, albeit influenced by trends in society around them. It explores questions and issues that continue to shape and challenge the church 100 years later.

15. When Your Church Goes Home: Answering questions about church at home

Picking up on the growing interest in “church at home” in the aftermath of the impacts of COVID-19, Dr Peter Roennfeldt addresses key questions about how “households of faith” can best function as church in sustainable ways. Also launched this year as an audiobook, this is a simple guide for families and church leaders in finding opportunities arising from our recent disruptions to church as usual.

16. Food As Medicine: Cooking for Your Best Health

After debuting on the Top 20 list soon after its launch in late 2016, Food As Medicine was number one in 2017 and a regular on the list until missing out last year. But it is back again this year and promises to continue its success with new “Food As Medicine” projects currently in development.

17. A Plan Larger Than I Could Draw: Stories and perspectives from the mind and heart

The eight essays give snapshot and reflection from Dr Neville Clouten’s fascinating life experiences as an architect, award-winning academic, administrator and artist. They trace his travels in Europe and North America, his work recording Aboriginal rock engravings in outback Australia, his role as the first Professor of Architecture at Andrews University, and his humanitarian and advisory work in Africa. Seeing the world from Dr Clouten’s experience will give you a new perspectives on life, faith and creativity.

18. The Revive Café Cookbook 7

With a new Revive Café cookbook promised for 2023, the series continues to be popular, even after a hiatus since this most recent release in 2019. This instalment in the series features 13 recipes for plant-based cheeses and “secret recipes” for three of the Revive Cafés’ most popular desserts.

19. Angels Over Kisangani

Our Bookshelf “Book of the Month” for May this year, Angels Over Kisangani tells the story of the Dumans, Adventist missionaries in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2016. It is a story of courage and protection, and also a reminder—as our reviewer put it—of “an urgency to love and serve those around us well in the time we have.”

20. Far Away From Home

This is the third year that Far Away From Home has made the Top 20 list as reader’s continue to discover this true story of the Kavur family’s faith, endurance amid persecution and eventually escape to the freedom of a new life in Australia. 

Visit adventistbookcentre.com.au/top20 to win a book from this year’ Top 20. To enter, simply submit a product review for any product on the Adventist Book Centre webstore. The five reviews deemed most useful for undecided customers will win the entrant a book of their choice from the list. Entries close December 15, 2022.

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