How To Spend That Amazon Gift Card You Just Got: Book Edition

December 26, 2013 — 2 Comments


It’s the day after Christmas. Some of you all got those books you wanted for Christmas. Others got books, and others got the most versatile gift of all for the bibliophile: the Amazon Gift Card. 1

While my not-so-well-publicized Great Christmas Book Preview was an attempt to help with Christmas shopping, this is a much clearer stab at helping you post-Christmas shop. I’ve got about $100 myself to work with ($50 for Amazon, $50 in cash), so we’re all in the same boat together.

Given that several people have asked if I was going to jump on the “10 Best Books I Read in 2013” bandwagon, this is my roundabout way of doing so. According to Goodreads, I read 159 books this year (make that 160+ by Tuesday). Now, in some cases, “Read” means I’m through with the book, not that I read every page cover to cover (because that’s not how you read a book in many cases, see more here). For the majority though, it means I did what you normally think of when you think “Read.” Let’s say a good 120-130 were cover to cover trips.

As you’ll see tomorrow, I posted 80 book reviews this past year. Many of the 159 total books I read were reviewed, though some of the books reviewed and recorded I didn’t check as read (and you can figure out how that works, here’s a hint though: they were reference books for the most part). Let’s say in general though, I was reviewing about 50% of the books I read.

The more interesting stat, and what this post is ultimately dedicated to, is the number of 5 star rated books I read this past year. As I’ve said before, I don’t give many 5-star ratings, And I think the stats bear that out. Of the 159 books, I gave 5 stars to 38 of them (that’s around 25% of the total). I’m going to throw in 2 honorable mentions to make this my “Top 40 Books I Read in 2013” post.

I’ve decided to break it down into categories, and I’ll follow the new category system I’ve added to the book review page. I’m adding the category “Leisure” since many of the 5 star books fall into that category, though no book reviews generally do (and you can maybe guess why). I’m also removing the category “Commentaries,” because though I did rate a few 5 stars, I’m just not including them on this list of “Read” books. If you’re looking to pick up commentaries, you should consult these two series that I completed this year:

Since most people that got a gift card for books got one for Amazon (I’m assuming), that’s what site I’m linking you to, but in the interest of your savings, you might want to double check Westminster Bookstore for a better price. Without further delay though, here’s my top 40 of 2013:


Biblical Theology

Christian Worldview

Christian Living

Historical Theology



Old Testament


Practical Theology

Systematic Theology


  1. Still others did not want books, and so were not disappointed by not getting them. If that’s you, then this post (and really my blog in general) has nothing to offer you


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I’m an avid reader, musician, and high school Bible teacher living in central Florida. I have many paperback books and our house smells of rich glade air freshners. If you want to know more, then let’s connect!

2 responses to How To Spend That Amazon Gift Card You Just Got: Book Edition

  1. I thoroughly enjoy Martin’s “Song of Fire and Ice” books starting with “Game of Thrones”, but you might want to add a disclaimer about content – reader beware. Some may not care for the mature content. Thanks for a great list!

    • Yeah that’s a good idea, I should have included a bit of a disclaimer. I’ll probably write on some aspect of the books this coming year, so I’ll definitely include it then.

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