14 December 2015

My 10 Favorite Books of 2015

It's the time for end of the year lists. I love good books and majority of my reads come from the recommendations other people. This was the first year I have ever kept a count of how many and what exactly I read, so I thought it might be fun to do a re-cap of the good reads of the last year.

So far, I have read 58 books this year. So as to not just list 58 book titles, here are my top 10 favorite reads from the year.

Let me know what you read and loved this year, too... 

The Way of Serenity: This book I actually read 3 times this year, and has stretched me like a rubber band. Don't make the mistake I did going through life thinking I could change other people. Serenity has taught me the only I can change is me. Fr. Jonathan Morris uses really practical life examples, but is deep without too much book knowledge. Easily one of the most life-giving books of this past year.

Devil at My Heels: A Heroic Olympian's Astonishing Story of Survival as a Japanese POW in WW II: When I first saw the trailer for the movie "Unbroken," I knew right away I wanted to see it. I read the book based off the movie, but much more enjoyed this book which was written by Mr. Louis Zamperini himself. This book recounts the painful reality war leaves on souls, the incredible strength of the human spirit, and the power of faith and forgiveness.

Daring Greatly: Books by Dr. Brene Brown are getting talked about a lot on the inter webs. What I love about her writing is she is bold enough to talk about things that so many of us avoid or ignore. Things like shame, guilt, fear, and vulnerability are actually the things that can hold us back most from living truly free and courageous lives. When we can dare to be vulnerable in life and our relationships it breaks us free from our prisons of loneliness and isolation. Insightful on many levels, no matter your stage in life...read it!

Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church: I started following Rachel Held Evans several years ago on Twitter, and over the last two years started reading her work. In the millennial boat like me, Rachel wrestles with tough issues and questions related to faith, the church, and social issues. Growing up in an evangelical church, she began wrestling with her faith as her questions were not satisfied. There are things we would differ on a variety of issues, but I love how her work challenges me to think outside of the book and consider life from different perspectives.

This book is written from a sacramental perspective in relating to the issues people in the church find themselves facing, wrestling, and working through. Insightful and a heart-felt read from a woman just seeking after God like me.

Thirsting for Prayer: I was given this book on a retreat last winter. Fr. Jacques Philippe is a simple, deeply profound author and speaker. His insights and teaching on prayer really challenged me to let go of long held preconceived notions on what prayer is and is not. This book really grew my own prayer life through the ways of simplicity and silence. REALLY good read!!! 

The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Living Guide: While I couldn't get into the KonMari idea of wishing farewell to each discarded item from my closet, this book for me was a lot more practical and helpful. A user-friendly guide on how to simplify your home and it taught me how to really be a good gate keeper to my stuff. Learning to become more detached from our possessions is a good lesson for every Westerner living in a materialistic society.

Making Sense out of Suffering: This.book. I think easily could be the top #1 book of 2015. Addressing the age old question on why suffering exists, Peter Kreeft thoroughly looks for answers to the question of "Why God?" from art, philosophers, prophets, and Scripture. He also speaks quite well as to why the modern world cannot understand or make sense of suffering. This book has brought a lot of peace and insight for my own life and I have found to be a helpful resource in youth ministry.

The Hardest Peace: This book reminded me of the above book, only a much more personal story of understanding and accepting suffering, while still expecting and finding God's grace amidst it all. Kara Tippetts was a mom to 4 tinies, wife of a church planter, and facing a terminal breast cancer diagnosis. 
Perhaps you remember her plea to Brittany Maynard to not end her life in suicide? Such a beautiful post. 

Kara's call to still find joy and seek God's grace in the middle of life's hard is a book for all. Whether a seeker or believer, her words are comfort for all tired souls.

Mindless Eating: I like food. Sometimes I like food a little too much, hence my relationship with Weight Watchers. This book really jolted me and taught me so much on the science as to why folks overeat to what are the food messages and scripts I learned as a child and carried with me into adulthood. Crazy insightful for all of us who need to re-evaluate our relationship with food.

God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships: This book was a really unique, interesting read for me. While much I didn't agree with some it, it was helpful for me to understand the mindset and perspective of Christians who are affirming of same-sex relationships. I don't want to be a person who only reads books supporting my own belief system. I want to engage in healthy, life-giving discussions on the tough stuff. I appreciated Matthew Vine's deep study of Scripture and passion for his beliefs as a gay Christan man. And I think there is value even for those who are non-affirming of same-sex relationships to give it a read.

Other honorable mentions of my 2015 reads here below:
Make It Happen
7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess
Notes from a Blue Bike
He Leadeth Me
Grace for the Good Girl
Forgive for Good
The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything
The Purpose Driven Life

So what books would be on your favorite reads for 2015? Do you keep count of books you have read?

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing!!! I LOVE book lists! Making Sense out of Suffering is AWESOME; I read that in college when I took a class titled "Theology of Healing," which was all about suffering, healing, and hope in the life of Catholics (it was amazing). Anything by Fr. Jacques Philippe is basically gold, too. I did not keep count of all the books I read, but I read a ton! I think one of my top favorites was the unabridged "Les Miserables," by Victor Hugo, which I read over the summer. I love the movie adaptations, but the full book is simply incredible. Now I find it hard to go back to the Liam Neeson version of "Les Mis," because I've seen how much good stuff they left out!

    Another really awesome book, which would probably go hand-in-hand with "Mindless Eating," is "French Women Don't Get Fat," by Mireille Guiliano. It was basically about how to get the maximum pleasure out of really good food, which I thought was a cool approach. She teaches the importance of not eating on "autopilot" and the necessity of having an overall healthy life. I wrote a little bit about the book on a blog post this summer (it's on the second half of the post), in case you're interested in seeing more about the book-http://marianninja.blogspot.com/2015/06/food-and-blessedly-insane-life.html

    Thanks for a great post, Patty!


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