It has been fun to think back over the last year and remember the different books I have read. Here are ten of my favourites. The first two are those that have had the biggest impact on me this year; the rest are in no particular order. Where I have written a review or a post about the book you can find that by clicking on the title.
Anything by Jennie Allen
I read this at the start of the year as part of my focus on my word for the year: “surrender”. It was a challenging read but helped me to face a lot of the fears I associated with the word and to take steps of deeper surrender to God. I wrote more about the blessings that have come from this journey of surrender here and I would say that much of this is as a result of reading this book.
Journey To Heal by Crystal Sutherland
If you have experienced childhood sexual abuse, or are seeking to walk alongside someone who has, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It contains biblical wisdom and practical steps for moving towards healing from someone who has been on this journey, and it is helpful whatever stage of the journey you are on. I know of others for whom it has also led to significant breakthrough this year.
The Pianist by Wladyslaw Szpilman
I read this book at the very beginning of the year but it is one that has stuck with me. It is the memoir of a Polish pianist, telling of his experiences as a Jew in Warsaw during World War 2 and it is a remarkable story of survival and perseverance.
God*stories by Andrew Wilson
If you want to get a bigger picture of the Gospel and how it is revealed all the way through the Bible, this book is so helpful. The chapters are only 3 or 4 pages long and they explain some deep truths in a very accessible way with brilliant metaphors and everyday examples to help understanding.
Fervent by Priscilla Shirer
A great book on prayer. It is based on the idea that the devil has strategies to bring us down in different areas of life, but that we can create our own counter-strategies, using God’s Word, to fight back through prayer.
10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman with Craig Borlase
The story behind the well-known song, and stories of how the song has impacted people around the world in different situations. It also contains part of Matt Redman’s own story and it is an amazing testimony to the power of worship in sustaining people and focussing them on God in the midst of hard times.
A Half Forgotten Song by Katherine Webb
“1937. In a village on the Dorset coast, fourteen-year-old Mitzy Hatcher has endured a wild and lonely upbringing – until the arrival of renowned artist Charles Aubrey, his exotic mistress and their daughters, changes everything…Years later, a young man in an art gallery looks at a hastily drawn portrait and wonders at the intensity of it. The questions he asks lead him to a Dorset village and to the truth about those fevered summers in the 1930s…”
Katherine Webb is one of my favourite fiction authors. Her descriptions are always vivid, she creates memorable characters and every book is so different. I also read “The English Girl” this year, but my all-time favourite is “The Unseen.”
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Described as “To Kill A Mockingbird for the 21st Century” this book tells the story of Ruth, an African American nurse who is blamed for the death of a baby after she is banned from caring for it by its white supremacist father. The story is told from three different perspectives- Ruth’s, the baby’s father’s and the public defender’s- and it is extremely powerful and thought-provoking.
I also enjoyed attending an event as part of Jodi Picoult’s book launch tour in the UK and getting to meet her! It was interesting to hear more about the background to the book and the writing process.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
I’m sure you’ll have heard a lot about this book even if you haven’t read it. I avoided it for a while because I wasn’t sure whether it would live up to the hype, but, in my opinion, it definitely did. After struggling to get into a fiction book for a few months this one had me staying up late to read some more.
The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee
I loved being part of the launch team for this book and it was really interesting to explore the topic of happiness from a Christian perspective. Sometimes we can feel it’s wrong to want to be happy; this book teaches the opposite. The part I found most helpful was exploring the different happiness styles and understanding more about how we all find happiness in different ways. You can take a quiz to discover your happiness style here.
Those are my ten top books of the year, but I have to include a bonus entry:
Five Minute Friday Book
Five Minute Friday was where my blogging journey began and it was exciting this year to have the chance to contribute to a Five Minute Friday book which collected favourite posts from 150 writers. It’s amazing to see how a one-word prompt and five minutes can spark such a variety of posts, and I loved taking part in this as well as reading the other contributions.
I’d love to hear about your favourite books. Feel free to leave some recommendations in the comments or write a post and link up here on 28th December.