Friday, January 2, 2015
At this time of year, I love to peruse blogs for book lists. I can usually find some new-to-me books for the coming year.
It has been several years that I wrote my own end-of-the-year book list.
This year I read 36 books - fewer than some years - and most of those were read in the first six months - when I was spending lots of quality time with a nursing baby. (Though I admit that sometimes I stayed on the couch long after the baby had finished just to read another chapter.)
I won't list all 36. Though they were all worth reading (or I wouldn't have finished them) the books that make this favorites list are the ones that I turned the last page and immediately began planning when I would read it again. (If only I didn't have six more books on my night stand waiting!)
And as always, just because I enjoyed these books doesn't mean they were perfect. You may need to spit out a few bones to find the meat.
1. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
My reading can sometimes go in binges. Last winter it was on this type of non-fiction as you'll see by first few books on this list. I had never considered how much of our actions are impacted by habit. The encouragement that I took from this book is that habits can be changed.
2. Quiet by Susan Cain
Are you an introvert trying to fit into an extrovert world? Or an extrovert who wonders what is wrong with the introverts in your life? Though not from a Christian perspective, Quiet gave me a new appreciation for the Body of Christ and our need for others' differing gifts.
3. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
How do ideas spread? Gladwell explores how little changes can make a huge impact helped along by people he calls Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen. I also enjoyed Outliers (the surprising answer to how people become successful) and Blink (about snap judgments, their benefits and their dangers) also by Gladwell.
4. Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
What makes some ideas stick and some messages easily forgotten? If you have a message to share (which would include every Christian and parent) this book details how to make your message memorable with six principles of stickiness. Made to Stick is practical and enjoyable and it is beside my bed to read again this coming year.
5. Fierce Women by Kimberly Wagner
Every year I like to read at least one marriage book. I believe that even a good marriage can get even better. This year I read two marriage books. Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is an excellent book describing the needs of the husband (respect) and wife (love) and the crazy cycle that ensues when a woman doesn't feel loved, so doesn't give respect, which makes it hard for her husband to love, making it hard for her to respect, and so on. But the good news is that the opposite is also true. Love and Respect gives the facts, but Fierce Women shows the principles in action. Wagner shares the story of how she almost destroyed her marriage and how God healed it. If you are willing to fight and sacrifice for your marriage, read Fierce Women.
6. Follow Me by David Platt
What does it mean to follow Christ? Platt says that rarely does it mean the easy pampered life that we Americans expect. My favorite chapter in this book was the one on The Church. Follow Me would be perfect combined with Walking the Talk by Arvin Martin which gives practical steps to radical obedience.
7. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi
Want to know more about Islam? Or Christianity? Or just read a well-written book about the spiritual journey of a devout Muslim? My sister gave me this book saying I had to read it and I finally did - after Ed picked it up and read it in two days. Short chapters and readable style makes this book hard to put down. If I could have only chosen one book for this list - this would probably be it.
8. A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser
Or maybe it would have been this one. Loss and grief seemed to be a reoccurring theme in the lives of us humans and several of my friends were touched with death closely this fall. The author of A Grace Disguised lost his mother, wife, and daughter in a car accident. He writes about how a soul grows through loss - but doesn't pretend there are any pat answers. I read this and immediately mailed it to a friend, so now I need to purchase another copy to reread.
9. By the Light of a Thousand Stars
Sometimes a Light Surprises
All by Jamie Langsdon Turner
I was trying to pick one of Jamie Langsdon Turner's books for this list but these three are running neck-to-neck so I'm including them all. I already reviewed all of Turner's books this year on Home Joys so I won't add any more. Just go read the Turner review and find out why Turner's books are different than most Christian fiction.
That is my nine (or eleven) favorites but I'll give an honorable mention to these five true stories.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
This story is well-written and a fun read, though the story itself of homelessness, poverty, and neglect is hard to stomach. Somehow Walls gives it a cheerful outlook though I mourn for all the children who don't survive as well as she did and the book shows the hopelessness without Christ. Edit to add: check the comments for further comments on this book.
Angels on Night Shift by Robert D. Lesslie
I don't usually enjoy medical books but the intrigue kept my attention to the very end.
Daddy, Are You Sad? by Lily A. Baer
This story of a young father's fight with cancer is a tear-jerker - especially since I know his widow and sons. But hopefully it can be a challenge for all of us to spend our days reaching out to others.
Tears of the Rain - Ruth Ann Stelfox
An account of a family's work in war-torn Liberia several years ago. With all the mention of Liberia in the news with Ebola, this book was even more poignant.
Footsteps on the Ceiling by Dorcas Smucker
A collection of true stories from an Oregon Mennonite minister's wife. My review of Footsteps on the Ceiling.
What was your favorite book in 2014?
I'm starting a new book list for the new year and would love to add your recommendations.
This post contains affiliate links.