My goal is life is to always be spending more time reading books than I do watching TV (or, in our case, Netflix!). My dear husband hauls plenty of books home each month on his bike commute for me from our local libraries, for which I am so thankful. 🙂 In the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about all the great books we’ve read this year that have shaped our thinking and how really truly different my brain and heart are only a year later. So, here are my top five books from this year. If you’ve read one of them, I’d love to hear your thoughts! And please recommend some good ones for 2016 in the comments below!
#1: Best Fiction
Til We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
To me, this novel was fascinating for two reasons: 1. It was the retelling of an old “pagan” myth by a Christian and 2. It was full of the most intriguing plot twists, characters, and themes which made it SO hard to put down!
Even though the story was based on Greek Mythology, I actually found it extremely “Christian” in really beautiful and unexpected ways. Whether or not you identify as a follower of Christ, this book has some moving and profound comments on what it means to love.
#2: Best Non-Fiction
Newton On the Christian Life by Tony Reinke
The best compliment I can give this book is that it has made me love Christ more. Full of Newton’s own writings as a pastor, sermons, and pastoral letters to his congregation, the words in these pages are timeless, convicting, encouraging, and most of all packed to the brim with Jesus. Please read it. The End.
#3: Best Oregon Author
Pursuing Justice by Ken Wytsma
This year I’ve read a LOT of books about justice, and this one really rose to the top (although Overrated by Eugene Cho was a close second). It’s informative, wise, and most of all a great blend of encouraging and realistic. I never once felt like the author was trying to guilt me into anything, or tell me that “ordinary” life was wrong. Instead, it inspired me to infuse my ordinary life with concrete, practical acts of justice that really made a difference. This is a book I’ll be re-reading in 2016 for sure.
#4: Best Writing Book
Pray Write Grow by Ed Cyzewski
This book almost reads like a “how-to,” with the author’s own experiences of prayer and writing interwoven with practical ideas to merge the two together. For me, it’s been a good reminder to pay attention to things that keep me up at night, or fill my mind during the day. These are the topics I need to embrace instead of running from. I need to pray about them, and perhaps I also need to write about them.
Overall: short, sweet, and just what I needed to convince myself to keep writing this year.
#5: Best Book I Haven’t Actually Finished Yet
Teach Us To Want by Jen Pollock Michel
This book is just beautiful. One review I just read summed it up well: “Teach Us to Want redeems the topic of desire in a Christian’s life.” I think it is normal for everyone to struggle with desire. How do I know if my longings are selfish, or God-given? When is it OK to pursue what brings me joy? What does it mean to take up my cross and follow? I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m pretty sure this is another book I’ll be coming back to again.
So there you have it! My top 5 of the year. Which books have been your favorite in 2015?
Here are a few on my list for 2016. My goal is to begin reading an even more diverse range of authors. There aren’t any on this list yet, but my goal is also to read at least one book I’m going to really disagree with. I’d love to know what you think I should add!
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
- The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez
- When Helping Hurts (been on my list for a while! still waiting for it to come through the library!)
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clarke
- The Art of Neighboring
- The Divine Office (free on Kindle!)
- Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ron Sider
- Choose Joy by Sarah Frankl and Mary Carver