Since my life these days is filled with the wild laughter and raucous of a nearly 3-year-old and the equally wild giggles and needs of a 5-month-old, this'll be a quick and easy list. Most of these I read the old-fashioned way, but I have really loved incorporating audible books into the lineup when I can. Comes in handy in those fringe hours, where the boys are sleeping and I want to get a zillion house tasks completed before I have two little shadows. I love their app and it's helped me add a few books to my list that I otherwise wouldn't have had time for.
While I did read 27 books, I can't remember what my goal was, to remember if I met it - will go digging for that this week, just to see. But if I'd only read one book, I would be pleased with myself, because it's really in the pages that I learn so much, live other people's lives, have my perspective shaped and my compassion grown. I should also mention that this list doesn't include the tens of cookbooks I've borrowed, bought and studied from friends. I'm always pushing myself to cook new things, but in a year where birthing a kiddo meant I was often nauseous, not hungry or without time - reading through cookbooks and soaking up technique tidbits and flavor combos was like honey for my heart. Maybe I'll get to a posting of favorites, for those of you who also enjoy wandering through recipes and gorgeous food photographs. (For ease, if you click on any of the books it'll take you to the amazon page for reading about them there/amazon priming because lets be honest: amazon prime is my bestie)
The Road Back to You - Loved this approachable and witty take on finding your enneagram number. There are quick statements to help you identify and quick takeaways, too. If I haven't drafted you into personality work and typing junk, consider this your invite. Read it, then let's have coffee.
Bread and Wine - Oldie, but goodie, that we re-read for book group. Love everything Shauna has to say, but this book is a sweet invitation back into food for community. So much happens around the table and this book is a firm hug from a dear friend.
Wild in the Hollow - LOVED this one, so much. Amber's words are a balm, her honest experience of life in and out of the church is so refreshing. I've got her husband's memoir about his first 30 days sober, on my to-read list. Love hearing from both of these wise souls in the podcast world.
Women of the Word - Read this right after I wrapped up a seminary class, actually and really loved Jen's pushing women right into study. She covers a variety of topics and some method with depth, yet a perfect approachability. Super great for diving into deeper study.
Delancey - Loved this second book by famed food writer Molly Wizenberg. Her first book was sweet and endearing, while this one was interesting and probably played into my business and marriage interests. She and her husband work together to open a pizza shop that is largely his but equally theres. I enjoyed.
Tables in the Wilderness - I wanted to love this one, but I didn't. It was interesting if you're into spiritual memoir....but I kinda am and I still didn't love it. Let it be known, that in my mind, if something talks about tables then it better talk about food or hospitality...and this didn't. My own problems. But problems, nonetheless.
The Finishing School - Loved it. Love Val. Love her approach and the way she writes from doing life alongside you. This is a great practical book filled with wisdom on a variety of topics. A good read for the start of a year or to give your fresh start a boost. While you're at it, go check Val's prayer journals out. They're my fave - going on year 4's, I think.
For the Love - I am stubborn - surprise! And didn't read this forever because everyone was reading it and her dang launch group was massive and felt like it was suffocating my social medias....BUT. I laughed my butt off. If you wanna laugh: read it. If you wanna laugh super hard and grew up in any form of the church: read it. If you want someone to saucily discuss some current day church ish: read it.
Eight Twenty Eight - A beautiful account of Larissa and Ian's walk through a traumatic brain injury. I knew the story and it was still so beautiful, transforming and challenging. It IS hard on the heart, but that far outweighs the goodness.
The Dirty Life - I enjoyed this cross between a love story, journalistic experiment, small farm trial and error and just good storytelling. If you're interested in farming or women farmers or love or food or people working the land with horses (OMG!) you'll love this.
Stir - This sweet book recounts how the author cooked her way through life after an aneurysm. Part food, part love story, part medical miracle: I enjoyed every minute. Recipes, too!
When God Makes Lemonade - I read this in a stitch where my heart needed some encouragement and this was a delight. Think about the chicken soup books of yesteryear. Along that same vein, this book is a collection of essays with stories that run the gamut of all sorts of people. Really enjoyable. Really sweet. Really a lot of awe and happy tears.
What did you expect? - Great biblical marriage book that challenges and pushes your heart in all the right ways. It covers quite a vast array of marriage info and all of it from a biblical space. Much encouragement and many practical ways to show grace, love and share joy with the spouse the Lord gave you.....same spouse that may drive you crazy and vice versa. Good listen.
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality - Hands down, one of the best reads for me, this year. So good. So much heart mining. I loved it so much, I roped my friends into working through it in book group...
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Course - ...our group used this in conjunction with the videos that you can buy on amazon. We did the workbook, read the book and watched a video at each session. Was such good work to wade through with close friends.
Wild and Free - Jess and Haley get it. They take so many sweet biblical truths, walk them out for women and encourage you by calling you higher - into the calling the Lord has issued over his ladies. If you're ever a little bit annoyed with traditional church projections for ladies or feel like some things you've heard don't sit well with your heart - well. Read this. It's a good'n.
Everyday Hope - Each of Katie Orr's studies have been such a joy for me. This one came along right after little Cal was born and I needed something that was quick for when I needed to be quick, but could give me depth when I had time all without shaming me into not doing enough. So perfect. I also love that Katie and her hubby live just up the road in Harrodsburg. If bible literacy and study is on your goals list for this year, you may enjoy their podcast.
Tender to the bone - An early classic, as far as food memoirs are concerned. I really enjoyed it once I got past her statement that starts the book off...where she more or less tells you she embellished parts of her story for your own enjoyment. And well. If I'm reading fiction, I'm down with that: duh. But something about it rubbed me wrong the whole time. Still a super enjoyable book!
A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet - I so enjoyed this sweet read. It was equal parts funny, joyful, southern, friendship - just like sitting down for tea on a snowy day with your funny, southern friend. Quick and funny.
Women are Scary - I honestly thought I'd like this more than I did, because Melanie Dale and I have similar ways of talking and sarcasm and yada yada... But maybe it's because I've always hung out with 'mom friends' and found a really deep batch of good ones. The book is funny and was a good middle-of-the-night nursing book.
Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full - Oh my. I listened to this one and treated it as a morning devotional of sorts during that time that Cal was eating 1 million times in his early days. It is so beautifully written, deeply convicting and encouraging. The author comes alongside you in the trenches of motherhood, calls you higher and encourages you right along in the tricky. So great. So purposeful. Is something I still pull up on audible on a busy morning or short car ride. Loved it.
You Learn by Living - Politics aside, I really enjoyed this quick book by Eleanor Roosevelt. She tells some interesting tales about coming into her own as a first lady. It's rich with practical wisdom on a variety of topics and makes me want to read more about the Roosevelts.
Daring Greatly - If you haven't read any of Brene Brown's work, this is a super one. But also: they're all great. This pushed on my heart LOTS in regards to relationships where I sit too long, wishing for vulnerability but not pressing into leading it on my own. Good stuff. So much good stuff. But also, I couldn't read it without a deep longing for a gospel narrative to accompany it. There is much missing in the way we humans were made and how the fall affected us. Still so great...but definitely check out this book as a follow up or companion if you're of the same mindset.
Life from Scratch - Generally, I don't say you shouldn't read something because I generally think every book has something to offer. But this one. Meh. No thanks.
Present over Perfect - This is my second Shauna Niequest book here (and she's the one who turned me to the enneagram years ago..) and I have to say it is fantastic. When I had my first son, I went through a phase of forced restructuring where I really learned to sit still are pare back my life to what was necessary and life-giving. That said, I approached this book release with a bad attitude because I figured it would have little to offer my generally slowed-down self. WRONG. In the way that only Shauna tenderly can, she shares much of her own journey across many facets of life and the ways she found herself achieving and running ragged. But she does it in a way that doesn't condemn you, it invites you in to the freedom of enjoying a rich and intentional and pared back life. So good.
Uninvited - If you're a woman (or a human) and you're considering a book on this list READ THIS ONE. I read it in tandem with my bestie and I can tell you we text quotes from at least half of the book. Lysa is SO WISE and just goes hard after those all too familiar feelings, experiences and reactions that come with rejection of all sorts. Don't know how else to tell you that this book is rich and wise beside telling you that you WILL want your own physical copy, you'll need a highlighter and a pen and a box of tissues and a journal. Because there's heart-gold to be mined with this one. So wonderful.
The Magnolia Story - If you're American, you know these two from their HGTV fame. I super enjoyed this book Luke picked up for me. Was fun, encouraging and interesting. And I think you'll still get a kick out of it if you (somehow) have no clue who they are.
Unashamed - Lecrae. Hubby and I have been on a hip-hop kick. We've mostly been on a well-written words and poetry, put to music kick so when I heard about Lecrae's new release, I ordered it up as a gift. Then I read it and connected so many dots of so much photo work I had done that opened my brain and heart to predominantly black communities. If you look at this book or hear Lecrae and think "I don't need to read that" or "I don't care about racism/black culture/abuse/hiphop/singing/white priveledge/whatever else you think this man is" - you need to order it, or come grab it from our Little Free Library. He shares hard things, challenges, you find such joy and hope in his hardworking single-momma. It's just good.