I began the year with determination. I was going to show my own bookshelves some love this year. I was going to finally read all of those lonely and neglected books that line the stuffed rows. I wasn’t going to buy any new ones or check out books from the library until I conquered my own collection.
That lasted for approximately 4 months until I could no longer avoid the call of my beloved library. Walking back into the familiar space after my hiatus felt like I was coming home. I’m not being dramatic in the slightest bit 😉
Once I welcomed the library back into my life, so to came the “Add to Cart” button on Amazon and before long, I had slipped back into my old habits of collecting books. You would think that these returning habits would yield a large list of books read but this year was one of my lowest reading numbers I’ve had in several years.
The list of books I started but never completed is large. For whatever reason, I started dozens of books but never got around to completing them. Most of them had to be returned back to the library before I could complete them, others simply couldn’t hold my attention so they were abandoned.
I did completely read 27 books this year, which is a low number for me. I had grand intentions of reading oodles more, after all my bookshelves are stuffed and overflowing still!
Life became increasingly busier this year and my usual evening reading time was replaced by other things. I would try to squeeze in reading here and there when I had a few spare moments but none rhe less, I read less this year than I have in previous years.
Even still, I did somehow manage to complete a handful of books and the ones I did finish and loved, I’m sharing with you today.
My Top 10 Favorite Reads of the Year
Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington
Genre: Christian Living
About the Book: “Alli delivers truths that dismantle common happiness myths. Then she empowers you to get unstuck, to let go of the good to make way for the great, to know yourself and your Creator, and ultimately to find peace and purpose in this world of crazy.”
My Thoughts on Why I Enjoyed It: I think we can all agree that busy is both positive and negative. I was very encouraged reading about Alli’s experience laying down good things, things she was called to do and was really passionate and excited about, but began to suck the life out of her. I think sometimes we feel that because we love doing something or felt called by God to do it in the beginning, we close the door to any possibility of walking away from it. Alli’s words are both encouraging yet challenging. “Crazy busy is life without peace. It’s marked by decisions made for the approval of the word, not the approval of God.”
Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson
Genre: Christian Parenting
About the Book: “Using biblical wisdom and practical teachings, Sally Clarkson shows how you can make a lasting difference in your child’s life by following the pattern Christ set with his own disciples–a model that will inspire and equip you to intentionally embrace the rewarding, desperately needed, and immeasurably valuable Ministry of Motherhood.”
My Thoughts on Why I Enjoyed It: Pretty much anything Sally Clarkson writes, I’m going to love. I read a chapter a morning during the month of November as part of my devotional time and my book is marked up with highlights, notes, and prayers. Every single day I read, I found inspiration to carry something over into my day ahead as a mother of raising little ones. If you are looking for practical and real life examples of how to display the Gospel to your children every day, this one is for you!.
Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
About the Book: “Reminding us all that our own true character is not meant to be hidden, Reay’s debut novel follows one young woman’s journey as she sheds her protective persona and embraces the person she was meant to become.”
My Thoughts on Why I Enjoyed It: Who doesn’t love a good fiction book? At first, I thought the style of how the book was written was going to bother me (written as letters) but as the story progressed, the letter format naturally unfolded. This was one of those books I couldn’t put down and for the week I read it, my household responsibilities may have fallen my the wayside 😉 You know it’s a good book when you stay up until the wee hours of the morning finishing it, then re-reading parts the next day because you didn’t want it to finish! It’s a love story but unlike most other romance novels, this one slowly unfolds how the love developed. It kind of reminded me of mine and my husband’s love story in a way!
As You Wish by Carey Elwes
About the Book: “From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars.”
My Thoughts on Why I Enjoyed It: If you love The Princess Bride, you will love this! I LOVED reading this behind-the-scenes memoir of life as they prepared and filmed the movies. It actually made me love the movies even more. It’s a fun read, and I’ve actually been told the audio version is better so add it to your play list!
Steadfast Love by Lauren Chandler
Genre: Christian Living
About the Book: “There are times when worship overflows easily and effortlessly from a heart full of gratitude and praise. Yet, there are other times when God seems far and we feel we have nothing left to offer. We are tired, or thirsty, or imprisoned in our own chains through our own devices, or caught in the waves of a tumultuous sea. This is when God shows us His steadfast love.”
My Thoughts on Why I Enjoyed It: I read this book over the summer when I was experiencing my burn-out and it was just the challenging and convicting book I needed to read! Rooted heavily in the Gospel, Lauren writes about theology and God’s transformative love in a way that draws you in. Unlike other Spiritual Growth books for women, this one isn’t about what you should be doing or what more you could be doing to grow your faith. Steadfast Love pulls you into the Bible and unpacks truths and inspiration without all the fluff. I’m actually planning on rereading it again!
Hope for the Weary Mom Devotional by Stacey Thacker and Brooke McGlothlin
Genre: Christian Parenting
About the Book: “Jesus promises rest to those who seek Him. But how can a weary mom find rest in Jesus when she doesn’t know Him? How can she build her life on the truth of His Word when she doesn’t know it? Hope for the Weary Mom Devotional offers 40 truths every mom needs to know in a devotional format—easy for a busy mom to fit in her life.”
My Thoughts on Why I Enjoyed It: A devotional for weary mothers everywhere! I read a chapter each morning with my Bible reading time during an especially draining season of motherhood earlier this year and every single day, their words rooted in Scripture inspired me. My book is heavily marked up and look forward to going through the devotions again soon.
Hands-Free Life by Rachel-Macy Stafford
Genre: Christian Living
About the Book: “We all yearn to look back to find we lived a life of significance. But is it even possible anymore? Considering the amount of distraction and pressure that exists in society today, living a fulfilling life may seem like an unachievable dream. But it is not—not with the nine habits outlined in this book.”
My Thoughts on Why I Enjoyed It: This was a book that I read at the end of last year that overlapped onto the beginning of this year. I enjoyed this one better than her first book Hands-Free Mama because this one really focused on just being present and enjoying life in the everyday, mundane moments. I actually listened to this one on audio and had to get the book because there were notes and quotes I didn’t want to forget.
The Lake House by Kate Morton
About the Book: “Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate, has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. He is never found, and the family is torn apart, the house abandoned.”
My Thoughts on Why I Enjoyed It: This is the final Kate Morton book I have read and it did not disappoint! Another fiction book where I found myself deeply engrossed and staying up way too late to read. I will say that as a mother to little ones, my mother-heart broke but as in all Kate’s novels, the story concludes with hope, not total resolve but a glimpse of how all the parts came together to form the big picture. If you haven’t read a Kate Morton novel, I suggest reading them in order, not because they go together (they don’t) but because her storytelling just gets better and better!
The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma
About the Book: “When Alice Ozma was in 4th grade, she and her father decided to see if he could read aloud to her for 100 consecutive nights. On a hundredth night, they shared pancakes to celebrate, but it soon became evident that neither wanted to let go of their storytelling ritual. So they decided to continue what they called “The Streak.” Alice’s father read aloud to her every night without fail until the day she left for college.”
My Thoughts on Why I Enjoyed It: I love how the love of reading brings a father and daughter together. The connections they made as they read book after book, showed how the love of reading and reading to our children, greatly impacts our children for years to come. I went into this book thinking it would be a “help” book about practical examples of reading with our kids. It wasn’t, but yet I closed the book with a new desire and determination to read more with my kids every single day.
Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin
Genre: Christian Living
About the Book: “Offering a clear and concise plan to help women go deeper in their study of Scripture, this book will equip you to engage God’s Word in a way that trains your mind and transforms your heart.”
My Thoughts on Why I Enjoyed It: I read this book last year after the birth of my third baby but then had the opportunity to read and discuss it again this spring with my friend Leigh Ann from Intentional By Grace. As a result, the way I view reading and studying the Bible has greatly changed, in a good way! Jen doesn’t just tell women they should be in the Word more, she equips them! Her Bible study method is simple enough for everyone no matter what stage in your faith journey you are in, yet allows you to go deep in the Word and discover how it’s a book about God and His redeeming love.
As usual, I have a gazillion books on my to-read list which includes books from the library, on my Amazon Wish List to purchase and my own bookshelves are filled with books still waiting to be read. I have no shortage of reading material, it’s the time part I’m hoping to work on for 2017!
What books did you enjoy reading this year?
If you are looking for even more suggestions to add to your reading list for the New Year, you can check out my past reading round-ups here:
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