Saturday, January 2, 2016

2015 Book List

I did it! I broke 20 books in a year!! This may not sounds like a lot, but for me, it's a record :)

I read 4 books in 2013, had the goal to read more {and did} in 2014 {I read 18}, and thought maybe I could break the 20-mark in 2015. I am happy to say that I read 24 books in 2015; I think my love of reading has returned! I attribute my higher book count to getting a kindle. But I also frequented the library a lot more too.

I feel like my 2015 list can be summed up in one word: random. I read books from all different genres and authors, and there really was no rhyme or reason to it. And I LOVED it. There wasn't any pressure to cross books off a list. If I wanted to read it, I did. If I heard about it in passing and thought it seemed interesting, I read it. And if I needed a suggestion, I consulted my list {or someone else's} on Good Reads. 

1. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand // LOVED this book. I had heard a lot about it and even put it on my list a couple of years ago, but I finally got around to reading it. It is written so well, and the story of Louis Zamperini's life is almost unbelievable. Definitely a must-read.

2. Live Sent: 31 Days in the City by Shauna Pilgreen // I follow Shauna's blog, so when Send Network offered this ebook for free, I knew I wanted to read it. I think some further editing is needed, but if you can look past that, you will find such value in this book. Shauna offers so many practical ideas on how to engage your city with the gospel, whether you are new to town or have been in the same place your whole life.

3. From Good to Grace by Christine Hoover // review here

4. The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith // This was a fun and light read; I really enjoyed it! She talks about how to make a home, wherever you live and whatever your budget. There were great tips, and I appreciate her story of learning to love the place{s} you live.

5. This Momentary Marriage by John Piper // I am trying to include a marriage book on my list every year, and I'm glad I chose this one. It is a really good gospel-centered view on marriage, and I really enjoyed it. It's always good to be reminded of the purpose and design of marriage.

6. Nobody's Cuter Than You by Melanie Shankle // I read her book on marriage last year. When I heard that this book on friendship was coming out, I was really excited to read it! She is a great story-teller, and I literally laugh out loud when I read her writing. This book was no different. It was a sweet picture of friendship from elementary school to adulthood, and I really enjoyed it. A quick, fun read :)

7. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan // This was a random pick up at the library, but I enjoyed it. We like watching his comedy shows, and his book was just as funny. A light, quick read.

8. Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker // This book was an intro for a women's study I attended over the summer. It is the account of the author's journey of questioning her comfortable Christian life {a good thing}, and the Lord convicting her to re-evaluate how she was living on mission for the gospel {also a good thing}. That being said, I must admit that I dove into this book with an overly critical eye, simply because I am usually cautious of trendy/viral blogger-writers {of which she is one}. I agreed with a lot of what she had to say, but I also was concerned by a lot of things she had to say. Most concerning were her heavy influences. I wouldn't not recommend the book; I appreciate the author's willingness to ask hard questions and move outside her comfort zone. I would, however, caution the believer to make sure you are wrecked by the beauty of the gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit {being rooted in Scripture}, and not a trendy blogger's book.

9. Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers // Several years ago, I read a few books by Francine Rivers and enjoyed them. So I decided to pick up this book from the author. It was predictable, and a little cliche, but one of those light, summer reads. I will say, I was surprised by a particular scene at the end that was described; not what I expect from a Christian author, so just a heads up.

10. World War Z by Max Brooks // I know, this one is completely random. But I heard really good things about the book, and I may or may not have become addicted to The Walking Dead...I liked how it was told from varying people's perspectives. Judge me if you like, but I really enjoyed this book.

11. Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot // With the passing of Elisabeth Elliot this year, I realized I hadn't read any of her books. I have read excerpts and quotes from her, but never an entire book. So I chose the biography she wrote of her husband's mission/ministry to the Auca Indians. Such an incredible story of persistent faith in the face of obstacles.

12. The Confession by John Grisham // I have always enjoyed John Grisham's books. I like the mystery/legal aspect, and I just enjoy his stories. I hadn't picked up a Grisham book in years, so I have missed several, but started picking up the ones that were available at the library. This was a quick read, and is an intimate look at the death penalty.

13. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen // I read this book in high school and in college, but thought it was time to read a good classic. As I dove into the world of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, I was reminded of why I like this book so much. It's a great piece of literature and I think everyone should read it at least once. I even got my hubby to watch BOTH movies with me afterward :)

14. Unplanned by Abby Johnson // With all of the media attention on Planned Parenthood this year, I was reminded of this former PP director's story and decided to read her book. It is such an incredible story of God's redemption and grace in her life. I am so glad she was brave enough to tell her story; I highly recommend this book. She now operates a ministry to help abortion workers leave the industry. Check that out here.

15. Adoption: What Joseph of Nazareth Can Teach Us About This Countercultural Choice by Russell Moore // This was more like a mini-book, but it popped up on my twitter account as a free e-book. I enjoyed how he talked about adoption as being a calling on every believer's life, in some form or fashion. I do wish that it was a more complete book, as I felt like a lot of his thoughts were incomplete. But perhaps that's the purpose of the mini-book and a fuller version will be forthcoming. I do know he has written another book on adoption that I would like to read.

16. Inheritance of Tears: Trusting the Lord of Life When Death Visits the Womb by Jessalyn Hutto // If you have suffered a miscarriage {or even if you have not, but know someone who has}, you need to read this book. It's a quick read, but is filled with so much truth and grace. I appreciated her gentle words to point the reader to Jesus and the gospel in the midst of a heartbreaking loss. I especially loved her prayers for the suffering mother at the end of each section. I highly recommend this book.

17. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr // I enjoy historical fiction and thought I would enjoy this story about a blind French girl and a German boy during WWII. I thought it read slowly, and I did not think it was well written. I hate that, because it actually won the Pulitzer prize, but it just wasn't for me.

18. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn // I canNOT recommend this book simply due to the vulgar language and references. Don't waste your time or defile your mind.

19. The IBD Healing Plan and Recipe Book by Christie A. Korth // Mike had bought this book for me awhile ago, and I finally got around to reading it! I found it so helpful. While I was already practicing a number of her suggestions, it was also interesting to read more in depth about varying foods and how they affect IBD sufferers. With anything, not every suggestion will work for everyone, but I highly recommend this book as a starting point for IBD sufferers as they work to adjust their diet.

20. Love Letters to Miscarried Moms by Samantha Evans // This book was not was I expected. I appreciated the author providing her perspective on miscarriage, but it seemed to be more of a stream of thought on her experience, rather than thoughtful love letters to others who have experienced miscarriage. She does admit that she wrote it during the actual days of her miscarriage, rather than allowing some time to pass. I personally don't process heartache with humor {something the author attempts to do}, so I did not find this book helpful. I would even go so far as to say it was not completely sensitive. But I am still processing our miscarriage, so I may be overly sensitive to her approach.

21. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee // I wanted to re-read this beloved classic, and I enjoyed it just as much as when I first read it back in middle school. I am curious about Harper Lee's newly released book, but with all the controversy surrounding the book {both its release and its story}, I don't want it to ruin the original. I will say that I am not sure how the Atticus of this book can be the same in the new one, but I guess I will have to read it to see.

22. The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible...on Schindler's List by Leon Leyson // I happened across this book by accident. I was searching for another book at the library, and this one popped up instead. It is a memoir of a boy who survived the Nazi occupation of Poland, mainly due to his family being on Oskar Schindler's list. It's hard to say that I "enjoy" books about the suffering of the Jewish people during WWII, but I appreciated the author's story.

23. To Live is Christ To Die is Gain by Matt Chandler // I enjoyed this book. I enjoy Chandler's teaching, and he writes just the same. I appreciate his encouragement for Christians to pursue maturity in Christ. And he does so in a way that makes sense, offering tangible examples to apply to every day life. And he doesn't mince words. I think this book would be a great addition to a Bible study over Philippians. I kind of want to read it again while doing an actual study over Philippians, as I think it would be a great summary and commentary.

24. Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty // I bought this book with a gift card I received from the credit department when I left IB, and I appreciated a lot of what she had to say. It is definitely a memoir, the author's story of infertility, adoption, and learning to trust God's goodness in the face of heartbreak and shattered dreams. The book's promos say it's for anyone who has faced difficult circumstances, but I do think it is very specific to infertility. If you haven't walked that road, it may be difficult to appreciate the outpouring of her heart, and her emotions may be misunderstood. While not my favorite infertility book, I still appreciated her story and her desire to try to see bitter circumstances as an opportunity to know the Lord in a deeper way.


I have already started working on my list for 2016! :)

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