Each of these books that made the top 10 list was either a book that deeply impacted me in some profound way, a book that I just fell in love with the storyline, or a book that taught me something that will probably stick with me the rest of my life.
In no particular order, here are my Top 10 Reads from 2015:
It’s too hard to sum up how this book impacted me in just a paragraph. But let’s just say the impact was deep, wide, and profound. You can read my posts on Stop Feeling Guilty About Asking for Help and Failure is Hard. The End. for a small taste of how this book messed with me.
I thought I was a minimalist. Then I read this book. Although some of the parts were weird and repetitive, the question, “Does it spark joy?” has changed how I approach so much of life — from things I own to personal commitments and calendar clutter. Read more of my thoughts on this book here.
I typically steer clear of parenting books because I just don’t feel like there’s a method or 1-2-3 plan for raising kids. Every child and every family is different and there are no one-size-fits-all plans. So I almost didn’t read this book, but I’m so glad that I because it really challenged my heart and approach in loving and nurturing relationships with my kids.
This book is the story of Kayla Aimee’s daughter being born as a micro-preemie and the pain and heartache and struggle that she walked through while fighting for her daughter’s life. It’s funny AND heart-wrenching at the same time — which is a mark of a talented author, in my opinion. (I always say that I consider a highly talented author to be someone whose writing makes me laugh and tear up in the same page.)
This book resonated with me at a very personal level because my husband was born at 27 weeks. His mom died when he was young and I never got the chance to meet her — which has always been hard for me because I wish so much that I could ask her all about what Jesse’s birth and long hospital stay was like for her. Kayla’s book is giving me a glimpse into some of the emotions and heartache and fears Jesse’s mom must have experienced and it feels like such a gift to understand more of what that was like from her perspective.
The book starts out slowly, but once I got to about page 40, I couldn’t put it down. It delves into some deeper issues of how past hurts and rejection can wound people so deeply that they hide their real self for fear of further pain and rejection. It’s a beautiful story of healing and redemption and of how to love and reach out to hurting people.
Ever read a book that you just don’t want to end and when you finish it, you want to meet the characters in real-life? That was this book for me.
This book spoke to me at a deep, heart level. It challenged me to stop hurrying through life, quit worrying about what other people think, and start savoring the ordinary, everyday moments. I smiled through parts, cried through other sections, and came away from the book with fresh resolve to make each day count — not in more efficient productivity but in more meaningful relationships with others. Highly, highly recommended!
I really enjoyed this book and it has stayed with me for months after reading it. While it wasn’t written from a Christian perspective and had some swear words in it, the book was well-written and really caused me to step back and examine my own marriage and relationships to see if I’m making small choices that would, over time, have devastating consequences.
This book is laugh-out-loud funny, but packed with many, many thought-provoking nuggets. You probably won’t agree with everything in it (I didn’t either!), but I think it will really make you think and re-examine relationships. And I’m almost positive it will make you laugh!
Note: I enjoyed the first half of the book better than the second half. I’m not exactly sure that I can pin-point why, but just thought I should put it out there. Also, the book is a little all over the place and the chapters feel more like essays or blog posts on different topics, not a cohesive compilation that builds upon itself and needs each chapter to make the whole book what it is.
I loved this book! It’s chock-full of all kinds of helpful advice, tips, and inspiration on living life more slowly with purpose.
One of the quotes that especially jumped out at me was this:
“Our lives have gotten so cluttered with things we think we should do, that we can’t figure out what we were meant to do. Let your life be about what you were meant to do, not full of what you think you should do. This starts with your daily decisions about how you spend your time.”
If you like Christian fiction that tackles real-life brokenness and doesn’t have Hallmark endings, I’d highly recommend this book. I loved the character development and it reminded me that everyone has hard burdens they are carrying, and that hurting people need our love not our judgment, ostracizing, or criticism. Thanks to Lisa-Jo Baker for the recommendation!
Bonus: Just Show Up
I just had to include this one! While I think this book could have used stronger writing and better editing, I gleaned so much from it. If you have a friend who is going through trauma or heartbreak, this book gives very practical and wise advice on how to walk through suffering and hard times while being a blessing, not an annoyance or causing more hurt.
What were your favorite reads from 2015? Tell us in the comments!