The 10 books I liked the most in 2017
Just a few years ago, I only read the newspaper. All that changed after my counselor asked me to read Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman, and I’ve been reading books ever since. Mostly spiritual/religious books, but some memoir and humor thrown in because a girl can only read so many books about such heavy topics. (Exhibit A: Timothy Keller’s Walking with God through Pain and Suffering)
I’ve read over 50 books in 2017 and I present to you the 10 books I liked the most in 2017, in no particular order.
All of the “about the book” descriptions come directly from the Amazon book summaries with my explanation of why I loved the book and think it’s worth your time. (Full Disclosure: I’m an Amazon Affiliate, which means I earn a bit of commission on each sale. But don’t worry there’s no added cost to you!)
1. A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough by Wayne Muller
Genre: Religion, Spirituality
About: “By learning compassion and mercy for ourselves and by recognizing what is most profoundly true about who we are and what we need, we can gain the self-acceptance so that whatever we choose to do, in this moment, it is wholly enough.”
Why I loved it: As a try-hard girl, I believe that what will bring me contentment and satisfaction is always out there so I strive for more: more achievements, more recognition, more everything. But what is enough? The book proposes thought-provoking questions. I could have underlined every word.
2. The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan
About: “With this book, Buchanan reminds us of this and gives practical advice for restoring the sabbath in our lives.”
Why I loved it: I secretly believe that resting is a sign of weakness and that there’s too much for me to do to sit down. But, oh, how this book brought home the truth that “A Sabbath heart is restful even in the midst of unrest and upheaval.”
3. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
About: Set in California in the 1850s, the book tells the story of prostitute Angel, who “hates the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside. Then she meets Michael Hosea, a man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything. Michael obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation, until despite her resistance, her frozen heart begins to thaw.”
Why I loved it: I’m not one for fiction so this book totally caught me by surprise. I’d tell myself, “Just finish this chapter” and then find myself devouring two more. I love how Rivers makes it so easy to understand how much God loves us, wants to heal us, and simply be with us even as we struggle, feel unworthy, and talk ourselves out of being with the one who loves us most.
4. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero
Genre: Personal Growth, Spiritual Growth
About: “Scazzero found two truths to be true: you can’t be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature, and unless you slow and quiet your life down for a first-hand relationship with Jesus Christ, little change is possible.”
Why I loved it: Have you ever read a book and thought, “How does the author know all this about me?” That was this book for me. If you’ve ever pushed down your emotions, avoided God by serving Him, or believed that you’re loved because of what you do, get thee to the bookstore to pick up this book!
5. The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile
Genre: Psychology, Religion
About: “In The Road Back to You Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile forge a unique approach―a practical, comprehensive way of accessing Enneagram wisdom and exploring its connections with Christian spirituality for a deeper knowledge of ourselves, compassion for others, and love for God.”
Why I loved it: Friends, this book has shaped how I understand my inner motivations, organize my days, and give myself grace. No book has impacted how I see myself and others as much as this one. If you read one book, let it be this one.
6. Are My Kids on Track? by Sissy Goff, David Thomas, and Melissa Trevathan
Genre: Family, Religion
About: “Are My Kids on Track? helps you identify and measure 12 key emotional, social, and spiritual milestones in your children’s lives. Moreover, you will discover practical ways to guide your kids through any stumbling blocks they might encounter and help them reach the appropriate landmarks.”
Why I loved it: I’m generally not a fan of parenting books, but this one is so helpful. It’s written by three children’s counselor’s with over 60 years of experience between them. I learned so much about parenting out of love and not fear plus the book provides practical, common-sense ideas on how to help your child grow into the person he/she is.
7. Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work by Kevin A. Thompson
About: “With engaging stories and clear, simple language, pastor Kevin A. Thompson explains the three critical roles of a spouse–friend, partner, and lover–and shows how to nurture those roles in order to keep a marriage healthy and strong. Using solid biblical principles, he helps couples understand how to grow their friendship, be a supportive partner through the good times and the bad, and develop a healthy and satisfying sex life.”
Why I loved it: Ryan and I have been married for 18 years so why the need for a marriage book? Because the questions at the back of each chapter are incredibly helpful in having an open conversation about all different topics that might otherwise be weird to bring up.
8. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
Genre: Humor & Entertainment
About: “In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls.”
Why I loved it: I love The Office and I’m 99% sure that Mindy and I would be friends in real life. This book made me laugh out loud, which is pretty hard to do. Her final chapter had tears of joy streaming down my face. Not hyperbole – that’s actual fact.
9. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Genre: Historical Fiction
About: “The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France―a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women.”
Why I loved it: I read three World War II books this summer, and this is the one that made me cry. The story of these two sisters had me wondering, “What would I have done in their shoes?”
10. What’s Best Next by Matt Perman
Genre: Personal Growth
About: “What’s Best Next offers a practical approach for improving your productivity in all areas of life. It will help you better understand: Why good works are not just rare and special things like going to Africa, but anything you do in faith even tying your shoes; How to create a mission statement for your life that actually works; How to overcome time killers like procrastination, interruptions, and multitasking by turning them around and making them work for you.”
Why I loved it: No book has shaped my workflow more than this one. Because of Perman’s words, I’ve crafted my own mission statement (one that I like and review regularly) and decided on my life goal (connect women to Jesus through words, verbal and written). This book makes complex concepts easy to apply to your right-now life.
Enough about me!
What did you read that you enjoyed in 2017? Which of these 10 books sounds most interesting to you? Comment below and you’re entered to win a book of your choice (limited to the books on this list!). Comments must be submitted by 12/19/17 by 7 a.m. CST. One winner will be selected and notified on 12/19/17.