It’s time for the annual summary of my favorite books. After a book-filled year last year, I again set the goal to read 52 books this year. Unlike last year, when I exceeded the goal by 30 books, I just barely made it this year. (I blame Elle…)
Even though I read fewer books this year, it feels like I read more 5-star books. Of the 53 books I read, 11 earned 5-star ratings. Perhaps it’s because I have limited reading time these days that I’ve been pickier about choosing books I’d most likely enjoy.
I’ve already blogged about some and others, while I very much enjoyed them, may not be for everyone. If you’d like to see all my ratings, check out my Goodreads account.
Here are 5 of my favorites this year. As usual, I’m nonfiction heavy. I’m trying to work on that, but as a stay-at-home mom, I need to keep on learning – it’s what keeps me sane!
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
This is a must-read book for everyone. While I knew America’s prison system is broken, I had no idea what that actually meant. Bryan Stevenson has devoted his career to giving inmates on death row a fair chance of acquittal. Just Mercy is a mix of shocking statistics and heartbreaking stories mixed with admirable hope. Stevenson’s book is heavy, but the hope and redemption that he finds makes it uplifting, as well.
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan
Zealot messed with my faith – in a good way. Reza Aslan looks at the life of Jesus through the eyes of a scholar and Muslim. This well-researched book is not out to disprove Jesus, but rather looks at Jesus the man rather than Jesus the Messiah. It made me question why I believe what I do and how I reached that place in my faith journey. It also brought about lively discussions in our home in regards to how we’ll present the Bible and its stories to our girls.
The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It by Peter Enns
If you’re a Christian and you read Zealot, you must follow it with The Bible Tells Me So. Peter Enns questions why and how we read the Bible, as well, but from a Christian perspective. While Zealot left me feeling a bit lost with where to go next, The Bible Tells Me So helped me regain my footing. Enns looks at the Old Testament mostly and helps us see the Bible as a story arc rather than a piece of journalism. It’s helped me read my Bible more critically but also with a better context.
Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone by Eduardo Galeano
I heard about Mirrors via a cousin on Facebook and through it sounded interesting so picked it up on a whim. I am so glad I did! Eduardo Galeano weaves the mythology of cultures across the world to create a tapestry of stories about the human experience. Some are stories, some are truth, most are a mix of both. I loved the connections he made between common stories and I finished remembering that cultures across time and geography are more similar than different.
Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas by Ann Voskamp
I am not a huge fan of Ann Voskamp. She has beautiful things to say but her style is a bit to flowery for me. I bought this book last year after hearing rave reviews about it, hoping we could start this Advent tradition this year. I went into it with low expectations – it’s really meant for older kids. I printed the free ornaments for Bea to color while I read the story. Of all the Advent activities we did, this is the one she loved the most! She would remind me daily when we needed to do it and she asked to start over after we finished. Definitely a winner and a tradition I look forward to continuing.
What about you? What were some of your favorite reads this year? And as always, any great fiction recommendations?