I’ve always been an avid book reader, but for my 2017 New Year’s resolution I took on an immense challenge. I would read a book every week throughout the whole year! This challenge was extremely rewarding and my heart, mind, and spirit developed in phenomenal ways.

In 2016, I authored my first book, The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. Writing is my passion and I hope to reignite a newfound hunger for the missionary biography—a genre that sadly seems to have gone out of fashion. 

One of the main reasons for this 52 book challenge was to gather more literary ammunition for my forthcoming book, The Mind of a Missionary. My Evernote app is now stocked with new ideas, and I am excited to express my own missiological contemplations in writing.

So without further ado, here are the top 15 books I read in 2017 during my 52 book challenge.

These books are listed by date in the order that I read them. Because they constitute a wide array of genres, I do not recommend one over another. Each of these books received my highest rating based upon the following headings: target audience, content quality, message clarity, creative style, language selection, overall impact, and 10 point rating.

Note: Because of the tremendous impact it made on me, I have included one extra book that I read at the end of 2016. Navigate to the bottom of the page to find out more!


01.21.2017  Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul by Mark Buchanan

02.13.2017  Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity by Nabeel Qureshi

04.07.2017  Mission Smart: 15 Critical Questions to Ask Before Launching Overseas by David Frazier

04.14.2017  The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected by Nik Ripkin

04.21.2017  The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg



05.18.2017  Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward by Henry Cloud

05.28.2017  There’s a Sheep in My Bathtub: Birth of a Mongolian Church Planting Movement by Brian Hogan

06.02.2017  Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health by Caroline Leaf

06.19.2017  Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know by Meg Meeker

08.24.2017  The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile



09.02.2017  Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

10.28.2017  Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

11.23.2017  Through Gates of Splendor by Elizabeth Elliot

12.11.2017  Bruchko by Bruce Olson

12.28.2017  Let My People Go: The Life of Robert A. Jaffray (Jaffray Collection of Missionary Portraits) by A. W. Tozer


I finished this final book one day before beginning my 52 book challenge on January 2017. Because it has impacted me so tremendously I could not help but include it in this post.

12.31.2016  Quantum Glory: The Science of Heaven Invading Earth by Phil Mason


And what would a post like this be without a shameless plug for my own book? Get it on Amazon today!

The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary by David Joannes


David Joannes
Founder/President at Within Reach Global

David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.

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