To celebrate the end of the year, we’ve rounded up the year’s best books!
Foreword by Jimmy Kimmel
As a 6'2" dreadlocked black man, Tyler Merritt knows what it feels like to be stereotyped as threatening, which can have dangerous consequences. But he also knows that proximity to people who are different from ourselves can be a cure for racism.
Tyler Merritt's video "Before You Call the Cops" has been viewed millions of times. He's appeared on Jimmy Kimmel and Sports Illustrated and has been profiled in the New York Times. The viral video's main point—the more you know someone, the more empathy, understanding, and compassion you have for that person—is the springboard for this book. By sharing his highs and exposing his lows, Tyler welcomes us into his world in order to help bridge the divides that seem to grow wider every day.
In I Take My Coffee Black, Tyler tells hilarious stories from his own life as a black man in America. He talks about growing up in a multi-cultural community and realizing that he wasn't always welcome, how he quit sports for musical theater (that's where the girls were) to how Jesus barged in uninvited and changed his life forever (it all started with a Triple F.A.T. Goose jacket) to how he ended up at a small Bible college in Santa Cruz because he thought they had a great theater program (they didn't). Throughout his stories, he also seamlessly weaves in lessons about privilege, the legacy of lynching and sharecropping and why you don't cross black mamas. He teaches readers about the history of encoded racism that still undergirds our society today.
By turns witty, insightful, touching, and laugh-out-loud funny, I Take My Coffee Black paints a portrait of black manhood in America and enlightens, illuminates, and entertains—ultimately building the kind of empathy that might just be the antidote against the racial injustice in our society.
by Yvonne Orji
Thriving stand-up comic and actress Yvonne Orji—best known as Issa Rae's BFF on the HBO series, Insecure—shares the secrets to living the life of your dreams.Yvonne Orji has never shied away from being unapologetically herself, and that includes being outspoken about her faith. Known for interpreting Biblical stories and metaphors to fit current times, her humorous and accessible approach to faith leaves even non-believers inspired and wanting more.
The way Yvonne sees it, God is a Sovereign Prankster, punking folks long before Ashton Kutcher made it cool. When she meditates on her own life—complete with unforeseen blessings and unanticipated roadblocks—she realizes it’s one big testimony to how God tricked her into living out her wildest dreams. And she wants us to join in on getting bamboozled. This is not a Self-Help book—it’s a Get Yours book!
In Bamboozled by Jesus, a frank and fresh advice book, Orji takes readers on a journey through twenty-five life lessons, gleaned from her own experiences and her favorite source of inspiration: the Bible. But this ain’t your mama’s Bible study. Yvonne infuses wit and heart in sharing pointers like why the way up is sometimes down, and how fear is synonymous to food poisoning. Her joyful, confident approach to God will inspire everyone to catapult themselves out of the mundane and into the magnificent.
With bold authenticity and practical relatability, Orji is exactly the kind of cultural leader we need in these chaotic times. And her journey through being Bamboozled by Jesus paints a powerful picture of what it means to say “yes” to a life you never could’ve imagined—if it wasn’t your own.
Most of us don’t live in a dream home that was custom built to suit our tastes. We have to work with a house that brings its own style, quirks, and personality to the table. But imagine walking into this house, but it’s perfectly designed and decorated with your style in mind—a home that fits you like a well-tailored outfit and yet is as comfy as your favorite pair of pajamas.
What would that home look like exactly? How would it feel to live in a home styled specifically for you?
The truth is, every home should feel like a custom home and not have to break the bank. In Feels Like Home, DIY makeover queen Marian Parsons (a.k.a. Miss Mustard Seed) teaches you what she’s learned over the years, sharing budget-friendly practical tips that will inspire you to change your space from “blah” to beautiful, from a builder-grade to character-rich home. Each chapter will guide you through detailed, easy-to-implement tutorials for projects, makeovers, decorating ideas, and tips for handling common challenges. Special note-taking spaces are also included for recording your own design ideas. Room by room, you will be empowered to transform your house into the home of your dreams!
by Jenn Johnson
by Kyrah Edwards
- Waiting to have sex until marriage out of obedience to God's plan for our lives.
- Waiting to take the time to lay a foundation for our future rather than rushing to get on with life.
- Waiting for God's plan for our lives to be revealed.
- Waiting for God's timing.
- Waiting for God to refine our character.
- Waiting for one another to become who we will be.
- Waiting for God to come through when trouble comes.
by Jeremy Vuolo
by Jinger Vuolo
TLC's Counting On breakout stars Jeremy and Jinger Vuolo share their love story, a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lives together, and the hope that drives them every day.
Jinger Vuolo did not have what you'd call a typical childhood. The sixth child of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's nineteen, she grew up with the bright lights of television crews in her home, filming the hit TLC show 19 Kids and Counting. Jinger has always been a fan favorite, and now she and her husband Jeremy are the breakout stars of the show's sequel, Counting On.
Porsha Williams, entrepreneur and one of today’s most recognizable media personalities, opens up about family, faith, fame, and becoming an agent for change.
Porsha Williams is a remarkable voice in the television and podcast communities. In The Pursuit of Porsha, she takes readers on a deeply personal journey as she searches for happiness and self-acceptance, giving fans a first-hand look into the defining moments of her life that have not been captured on-screen or in the press.
Charged with candor, vulnerability, and the sharp wit Porsha is known and loved for, The Pursuit of Porsha brings readers back to the beginning and along her path of self-reflection and discovery. She details her upbringing as the granddaughter of civil rights activist Hosea Williams and her painful recollections of childhood bullying and gives readers a look at her search for love and her journey into the spotlight. Porsha shares every moment that has tried–and restored –her faith, over and over again.
Through it all, Porsha proves that she is more than a soundbite, headline, or rumor. She is an empowering role model to black women and an icon for women everywhere. In The Pursuit of Porsha, readers will see Porsha as they have never seen her before.
"Seven years on from its original publication, Pastrix remains bracing and beautiful. Nadia’s bold vulnerability and tender heart are timeless gifts. And the words she has added to this edition remind me: We need her call to tender grace and a loving, forgiving God now more than ever."
-- Jeff Chu, Author of Does Jesus Really Love Me?
Pastrix: a derogatory term used by Christians who refuse to recognize female pastors.
Heavily tattooed and foul-mouthed, Nadia Bolz-Weber, a former stand-up comic, sure as hell didn't consider herself to be religious-leader material—until the day she ended up leading a friend's funeral in a smoky downtown comedy club. Surrounded by fellow alcoholics, depressives, and cynics, she realized: These were her people. Maybe she was meant to be their pastor.
Using life stories—from living in a hopeful-but-haggard commune of slackers to surviving the wobbly chairs and war stories of a group for recovering alcoholics, from her unusual but undeniable spiritual calling to pastoring a notorious con artist—Nadia uses humorous narrative and poignant honesty to portray a woman who is both deeply faithful and deeply flawed, giving hope to the rest of us along the way.
This is the book for people who hunger for a bit of hope that doesn't come from vapid consumerism or navel-gazing; for women who talk too loudly and guys who love chick flicks; for the gay man who loves Jesus and won't allow himself to be shunned by the church. In short, this book is for every thinking misfit suspicious of institutionalized religion but still seeking transcendence and mystery.
Updated with a new afterword, Pastrix is wildly entertaining, sardonically irreverent, and deeply resonant—a messy, beautiful, prayer—and profanity-laden narrative about an unconventional life of faith.
We long for moments we can slow down and be still.
Our days are often filled with too much noise, anxiety, and confusion. What do you do when your life isn’t what you expected it to be? What can you do to slow it all down? Stilte encourages readers to focus on stillness and literal silence, creating space for moments of peace.
Originally published in Dutch, Stilte reveals a grace-filled lifestyle. It shows practical ways for how to receive inner calmness and serenity. It brings you closer to the heart of yourself, other people, and God.
by Nicole Crank
Foreword by Kristina Kuzmic
A lot of people struggle with the concept of being holy. But the fact is, even the hottest of messes are being shaped—right now—into Jesus' likeness. In this book, Mary Katherine shares the sometimes-hidden evidence of God's work in her life and shows you that it's okay to embrace the hot messes.
Mary Katherine will share both hilarious and vulnerable stories about faith, friendships, motherhood, marriage, and depression. She will cover the topics that plague our hearts every day with raw, honest truth and a side of laughter. Mary Katherine invites you into her story as a friend, encouraging you to embrace the hot messes in your life. Because we are all a work in progress, and as long as we are alive, we are under construction—and construction sites tend to be messy.
Many of us feel more alone than ever despite living in the most connected society in human history. We need to belong in the same way that we need oxygen–our physical bodies require it. We perform better and have greater successes as individuals when we are connected to the collective.
Join author Natalie Franke as she shares her story of longing for connection in the chaos and lessons learned on her journey to true belonging. Together we’ll uncover how to:
- Kick scroll-induced jealousy to the curb and transform the way that social media makes you feel about yourself and others
- Overcome loneliness by finding your people and cultivating true community in your personal and professional world
- Strike the balance between camaraderie and competition so that you can live a deeply fulfilled and joyful life
We are destined for something better. We’re made for so much more. Because knit into the fabric of our DNA, we were Built to Belong.