2018. A Good Year for Books
Number of Books: 84
Average pub date: 2002
I had a great year of reading! These are a few of the books I recommend you checking out. Each title is a link to buy it on Amazon. Enjoy!
Bible: Immerse Messiah; God (2017)
I know it’s weird to have a Bible as a category, but this was THE BEST reading experience for me. I also read the Immerse Beginnings (first 5 books) and I loved that too, but nothing beats the new testament. If you haven’t read much of the bible, this is a wonderful way to start. The intros before each book are filled with information that makes it so much easier to understand. If you want to get crazy, invite a friend to read along with you. Check out the Immerse website for helpful tools such as audio files so you can “read” on your way to work or while doing chores. I can’t recommend this more strongly.
Biblical Fiction: Two from Galilee; Marjorie Holmes (1982)
Are you thinking, “Biblical fiction”? I didn’t know this genre existed either. But in the 70’s and 80’s, it was pretty popular. Have you ever wondered what the backstory is about characters in the Bible? This may be a genre for you. This particular book takes a look at what Mary and Joesph’s experience may have been. It may seem sacrilegious to add to the Bible, but the author did a lot of research about the time period to show the reader what it may have felt like to have a front row seat for the greatest birth story ever. I loved this book and I know Christmas is over, so if you read seasonally, put it on your list for the end of the year.
Biography: The Simple Faith of Mr Rogers; Amy Hollingsworth (2001)
I’ve already gushed about this book on my blog last month. I know some of you bought it and I’m thankful you trust my recommendation. I can’t wait to see what you think.
Children’s book: No talking; Andrew Clements (2007)
Anna and her friends read this book for their summer book club, so I read it with them. What a treat! It starts with a rivalry between the boys and girls in a class of 5th graders. Who can make it three days without talking? I don’t know about you, but I think three hours would be a challenge for me. By the end of the book the girls and I were able to talk about the power of our words and how a group of 10 girls using their words for good could transform their school. If you have kids, I recommend anything by Andrew Clements. Pick up an audiobook from the library and pop it into your car. The kids will love the stories and it may be easier to get them out the door. Win win.
Christian Nonfiction: Everybody Always; Bob Goff (2007)
This is a followup of Bob Goff’s first book, “Love Does.” I think I liked this one better, but maybe because I read it more recently. Both of these books are amazing. There are books you read and think, “That was really good,” and some that completely change the way you think and what you do. Bob Goff books are the second kind. Warning: don’t read if you don’t want your heart to grow.
Classic Fiction: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943)
I tried to read this book a half a dozen times over the years but never made it past the first chapter. This year, I decided to push through. Honesty, once I got to chapter two, I couldn’t put to down. It’s a wonderful story with unforgettable characters. It’s no wonder people are still reading this classic book. I recommend listening to it. It’s great.
Fiction: A Man Called Ove; Fredrick Backman (2012)
You know I love this book. I’ve talked about it before. Read it with a pen because you’ll want to underline a lot. I unfortunately borrowed it from the library, so marking wasn’t an option. Maybe I need my own copy to re-read this year. The language is exquisite and I can’t believe it’s a translation. This book is talked about a lot and for good reason. I love it.
Historical Fiction: Flight of the Sparrow: a Novel of Early America; Amy Belding Brown (2014)
This book was a surprise. It’s about a women living in Puritan New England around the time of the witch trials. That premise sounds interesting but maybe not something relatable today. I found it to be the opposite. Sadly, it’s easy to draw parallels to people using religion to push their agenda and marginalize others. Maybe it’s time to stop that.
History: Hidden Figures; Margot Lee Shetterly (2016)
Maybe you saw the movie of these amazing women who made our first space explorations possible. The book was just as good. I read it after seeing the movie and that didn't detract from my reading experience.
Memoir: Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology; Leah Remini (2015)
This was crazy! You’ve probably seen Leah Remini on King of Queens, but didn’t know the battle she was fighting in her personal life. Did you know she was a Scientologist? I thought I had a pretty good idea of what Scientology was, but boy was I wrong. Remini sheds some light on this religion popular among Hollywood stars and it’s super creepy. This is a book you won’t want to put down, so don't pick it up during a busy season.
Middle Grade: Wolf Hollow; Lauren Wolk (2016)
This book is pretty sad, but beautifully written. It was important for me to read it while I was editing Silvery Moon because it helped to have a standard to aim for. That being said, it’s a great book for others too. Read it with your middle schooler if you have one. It’ll spark great discussions.
Mystery: Death Comes to the School; Catherine Lloyd (2017)
Another surprise. I love cozy mysteries set in "old-timesy" England and this one delivered. It had all the stuff I love, fun characters, misunderstandings, and of course a great mystery.
Sci Fi: 11/22/63; Stephen King (2011)
I’ve been wanting to read this for a while but was turned off by the sheer size of the book. Don’t let that hold you back. If you saw the TV series, it’s a little bit different and I preferred the book. It’s a great story and not terrifying like most Stephen King books, though there are a few scenes that are very suspenseful. I’d describe it as a nail-biter, not a nightmare-maker.
Suspense: The Lincoln Lawyer; Michael Connely (2005)
Maybe this year could be summed up by “I read a bunch of things that were turned into movies”. I liked this movie, but the book is even better. The storytelling is awesome.
True Crime: Columbine; Dave Cullen (2009)
I had trouble putting this book on my list because it’s not really a book for me. I’m very sensitive and this book breaks every one of my rules. However, it’s also completely amazing. Dave Cullen does an unbelievable job of explaining exactly what happened that terrible April day. His research is mind-blowing. I’m not exactly sure if I’m recommending this, because sensitive people like me will have a hard time with it. You know your limits. It may not be a book for you.
YA: The Revisionary; Kristen Hogrefe (2017)
You know what I love about dystopian novels? All the mystery, world-building, and suspense. You know what I hate about dystopian novels? How sad and hopeless they tend to be. The revisionary is all the fun of dystopian with actual hope. I’m embarrassed to admit I haven’t read the others in the series, but I plan to in 2019. Also, the author is a friend of mine and she’s amazing. (I wasn’t sure if I should mention that because it may make my recommendation less tempting. But trust me on this one. It’s an amazing book.)
Five Things I've Learned This Year: Audiobooks are not cheating. Many of the books I “read” were from Audible or Overdrive. I’m able to more than double the books I read in a year with audiobooks and that’s important to me. Also, depending on the reader, it’s often a better experience than reading it.
It’s okay to put a book down. If you haven’t learned this yet, it’s time. Life is too short to read bad books. Even if you bought a book in hardcover at full-price, put it down if it’s not for you. This isn’t high school. You’re not going to have a test on it. Read books you actually like.
Sometimes the best books aren’t the most enjoyable. I mentioned Columbine. It was a great book, but I didn’t enjoy it. I was very upset while reading it and I made the mistake of picking it up at Christmastime. (If you saw me looking distraught right before Christmas, I blame that book.) However, it was very well-written and I don’t regret reading it.
Cheesy mysteries are wonderful. That’s all. They never get old for me. Put the mystery in a bakery or knitting club and I’m in heaven.
A reading me is a happier me. I hope that’s true of you too. Whatever your reading goals are for 2019, I hope you have a wonderful year of reading.