Announcing the Bookshelf Top 20 of 2023

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It’s time to look back over the bestselling books advertised in Bookshelf over this year. This list recognises books that have seen success among our readers, but also gives recommendations of those books that have been most enjoyed and appreciated by our fellow readers. 

In its 14th year, the Bookshelf Top 20 reflects book sales through Adventist bookshops in Australia and New Zealand since January 1 this year. Live More Happy continues its run for the most consective years on this annual list, among a few long-running favourites and some exciting new books. With his new number-one, Dr Peter Roennfeldt cements his place as our most successful author across the years of these bestseller lists.

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. Calvary to Pentecost: The Weekends That Changed the World

This year’s new release from Dr Peter Roennfeldt features 50 readings that cover the seven weeks between the death and resurrection of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit at the Feast of Pentecost. These readings explore how these two events are intertwined in the teaching of Jesus and the establishment of the church. Each reading includes a question to prompt further reflection or discussion and invites readers to go deeper into these foundational experiences of our faith.

2. In the Spirit and Power 
3. One Miracle After Another 

Pastor Pavel Goia visited Australia a number of times this year, speaking at camp-meetings and other events—and selling copies of the two books that share some of his remarkable personal stories. From growing up in Communist Romania to his worldwide ministry today as editor of Ministry magazine, based at the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, his presentations in Australia caught the attention of many would-be readers, selling his new book In the Spirit and Power and creating new interest in his 14-year-old One Miracle After Another.

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

In its sixth year on the Bookshelf Top 20 list, Live More Happy continues to be read and shared by churches and church members. Dr Darren Morton’s original edition entered into a new print run this year, while the Pocket Edition continues to be sold in five-packs to enable low-cost sharing of the principles of wellbeing and feeling happier in your communities.

5. If You Can Eat, You Can Make Disciples 

Since its launch in 2017, If You Can Eat, You Can Make Disciples has appeared on the Top 20 lists a number of times and continues to be in demand for its simple guide to sharing faith in our multi-faith communities.

6. Thinking Faith 

Collecting articles written over the past few years for Mountain Views—the magazine for the Rocky Mountains Conference, based in Colorado—Thinking Faith responds to a variety of issues and themes in the church and world today. “Thinking Faith” was also a weekend conference for university students in Melbourne in May this year and this book was an invitation for participants to continue thinking about their faith after the event.

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

Number one on the Top 20 of 2022, readers have continued to discover and be inspired by Pastor Shawn Brace’s reflection on replanting his local church with a greater focus on the community around them. The Table I Long For reflects on the motivations, the lessons learnt, the challenges and opportunities—and ultimately examines what it means to be the church today. 

8. A House on Fire: How Adventist Faith Responds to Race and Racism

With racism one of the burning issues in the wider world today, 20 Adventist scholars, leaders and writers took on the challenge of exploring what Adventist faith can offer in response. While a book is unlikely to solve such an entrenched social issue, it can spark many important conversations and demonstrate that our faith can make a valuable contribution.

9. The Perfect Lamb 

Ten years after its first release, The Perfect Lamb was re-launched this year with new illustrations to match the other more-recent books in this series: Just Believe and Outside the Gate. These stories re-tell Bible stories in a way that bring out their deeper truths and invite families to go deeper in exploring them together.

10. Sisters in Arms: Courageous Women of the Reformation

A former number one and in its third year on the Top 20 list, Sisters in Arms has become a favourite with many readers. This year has seen the release of a Norwegian edition and a Spanish edition is due in the new year—as well as a new book of stories from author Suki Goonatilleke.

11. Daring to Live By Every Word: Loving God With Heart, Body, Mind, and Soul

Melody Mason’s sequel to Daring to Ask For More has been around for a couple of years and has been appreciated by many readers for its call back to the Bible as a guide for all aspects of our lives.

12. Food As Medicine: Cooking for Your Best Health

A regular on the Top 20 list since 2016, Food As Medicine has been a longstanding favourite in Adventist bookshops—and beyond. And look out for a new “Food As Medicine” project in the first few months of 2024.

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

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.

14. Stories from Sunnyside: Ellen White in Australia, 1891–1900

Author Marian de Berg passed away in May, but this book of stories she collected and retold of Ellen White’s time in Australia has been a favourite over the past few years and continues to be read and shared.

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

Retirement expert and practitioner, Dr Bruce Manners brings a pastor’s heart for living and growing our faith in this stage of life in this conversational and thoughtful book.

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

Earlier this year, author Dr Neville Clouten was able to take this book back to Andrews University, where he served as the first Professor of Architecture. But this is only one of the locations in the stories from his global life, faith and creativity.

17. Updraft

“Read about a piece of paper, an upward movement of air, the message of the three angels of Revelation 14, and the wonderful workings of the Spirit in the hearts of people called to a relationship with the God of second chances.” This simple story emphasises the importance of sharing our faith.

18. Hearts of Faith

Hearts of Faith tells the story of the 19 years of the Adventist church between the Great Disappointment in 1844 and becoming the Seventh-day Adventist Church officially in 1863. Dr David Trim identifies the key developments of identity and mission that grew into the Adventist Church today.

19. The Significant Pastor: Leading in a Disrupted World

The Significant Pastor was given to pastors at the Australian and New Zealand meetings for pastors in the first part of this year, but the book still sold additional copies through Adventist bookshops with the insights into church leadership.

20. Boldly Brave: God’s Courageous Champions

Teachers Kirsten Roggenkamp and Heather Blaire have now written a series of simply-told Bible stories that are being enjoyed by younger readers—and any of us that want to get back into the stories and characters of the Bible in a fresh way.

Visit to win a book of your choice from the Top 20 list! To enter, simply submit a product review for any book on the webstore. The five reviews deemed most useful for undecided customers will win the entrant a book of their choice from the Top 20 list. Entries close December 18, 2023

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