It has been a LONG time since I've posted anything on this blog - so many reasons for that, but not feeling any guilt over it at all! Jumping back in today to share some of my favorite reads from this past year. I had another great year of reading - finished 115 books! Of all the books I read this year, these are the ones I find myself recommending over and over when friends ask for book recommendations.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah: I loved this on audio and would highly recommend that format. A story of a boy growing up in South Africa as a mixed-raced child during apartheid, I learned so much listening to this story. It is also fun and funny! A captivating memoir that is outstanding.
Falling Free by Shannan Martin: Talk about a book that really makes you look at things differently, Falling Free made me re-evaluate what I deemed as "comfortable" in my day-to-day and how my life could and/or would look different if I actually believed and did some of the things the Bible calls me to do (i.e. helping those in need and loving your neighbor). Martin is a great story teller, making this convicting read very enjoyable.
Deep Work by Cal Newport: Finally found time to read this one after I saw it pop up on "best of" lists last year - I can definitely see why! I find myself thinking about this book all the time as I try to find a balance in my work life.
Unseen by Sara Hagerty: Oh man, this was an excellent read. I loved Hagerty's first book and had been highly anticipating her second book - it did not disappoint! As a mom of small children, this book really hit home for me in my current "season"; however, this would be a great read for anyone. Probably my favorite non-fiction read of the year.
Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant: I never would have thought that a book about grief would have made my "top" reads of the year, but I found this book compelling and one of those "everyone should read this" type of books. Detailing the unexpected death of her husband, Sandberg writes a powerful book on how to engage with and talk to those who have lost someone, or how to man those waters yourself if you are currently grieving.
Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle: This is a book I think I could recommend to anyone - young, old, male, female, religious or not. While it is technically a Christian book, the author weaves a universal story of hope. Detailing decades of work with gang members in Los Angeles, I found myself laughing out loud at many parts while also feeling my heart being tugged towards compassion throughout. This book was excellent (and despite my super long TBR list, I ordered his newest book immediately after finishing this one, if that tells you anything).
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: This year I discovered a new genre that I love - fantasy (who knew)! I just LOVED this Court of Thorns and Roses series and pre-ordered the last book to arrive on my Kindle immediately, which I never do, if that tells you anything about how much I wanted to keep the series going. Great story line, great characters, and just a captivating "other world", I found myself looking for comparable other fantasy series to read after finishing this one (check out Daughter of Smoke and Bone!)
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult: I've dabbled in Jodi Picoult books for years but haven't read one in a while…so glad I grabbed this one! Looking at the death of a white supremacist's baby in a hospital immediately after birth, and the black nurse being charged with the murder, this book opened my eyes to so many things, giving new understanding through the multiple character viewpoints used throughout the book. Really loved it.
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover: I just checked on Amazon, and I have bought this book 8 times this year to give to people, if that tells you anything! Another genre I would have said that I would NEVER read - romance (I actually didn't know it was considered a romance novel when I started, or maybe wouldn't have read it). Much like Small Great Things, this book tackles some big topics in an amazing way - I just loved it. I have read a few more of Hoover's books since then, and while they were good, this is my favorite.
This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankle: Another one of those "tackling a big topic through fiction" reads of the year, this book tells the story of a young five-year old boy who decides he is actually a girl, and how his family deals with the that decision in his life. As a mom of a five-year old boy at the time, this book hit home in a big way, showing the sacrifice and love of family, no matter what.
The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson: My first novel by Jackson (how did I wait so long?) but definitely a great read. Growing up in Alabama, I loved the Southern charm and "bones in the closet" family lore found in this one. An engaging and easy read with equal parts laugh-out-loud funny and family loyalty, no matter the cost, at the same time. Perfect lighter book.
Goodbye Vitamin by Rachel Khong: This might have been my favorite fiction read of the year, which is saying quite a lot, since it is a book centered around dementia. When a daughter returns home to help her father who is slowly succumbing to dementia, she learns so much about herself and her family in the process. This book is funny - I literally laughed out loud many times, while also being equal parts heartbreaking. What I found most endearing was the way the author showed how we are all dealing with our own little bit of crazy, humanizing the father's situation all the more. May not be for everyone, but definitely for me.
Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool: I read some excellent Middle Grade books this year and am slowing making my way through the Newberry winners list. Of all the middle grade books I read, this was my favorite. A heartwarming story of a young girl discovering who she is (and who her father really is) through small town life in Kansas, this story gives you equal parts mystery, coming-of-age, small town drama, friendship, loyalty, and more. Just excellent. (Other great ones: Wolf Hollow, The War That Saved My Life, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian)
Excited to jump into reading in 2018! What books should I add to the list?