Want to know what my Top 10 Favorite Books were that I read in 2017? Well, of the almost 90 books I read, here were my Top 10 Picks (these were chosen based upon how much the books resonated with me, how much they impacted me or stuck with me since reading them, and how much I enjoyed reading them):
If you’ve always struggled with setting and following through with goals and new year’s resolutions, I highly recommend this book.
It’s a fast read, but it will likely challenge and conflict with most other goal-setting advice you’ve heard. And I think it will inspire you that you don’t have to be this amazingly disciplined person to actually finish goals you’ve set. You just have to change your process for goal-setting, and maybe completely overhaul your perspective on what goal-setting should be.
One of my favorite parts in the book is when the author, Jon Acuff, talks about “Strategic Incompetence” which is the act of deciding what you will bomb ahead of time so that you have energy and capacity to actually finish and win in those few areas that matter most.
It’s so freeing to claim a long list of things I’m not good at or don’t want to win at in order to focus on the short list of things I am good at and the few areas that are really important to me longterm (like my marriage and my kids!)
Kaitlynn and I read this book as part of her Sonlight curriculum in homeschool and really enjoyed it! It was one of our very favorites this year — especially if you love Ancient Egyptian history.
It was a Newberry Honor Award winner and I’m not surprised. The storyline is compelling and interesting and it brings Ancient Egyptian history to life.
Plus, it’s a story of endurance and resilience in the face of many odds. It was one of those read alouds that we just didn’t want to stop reading and both of us looked forward to each day to see what was going to happen. And we were kind of sad when the book was finished!
I really loved this book and slowly savored it over a month — reading just a few pages each day. I will say that it took me a few chapters to really get into and I almost didn’t think I would actually finish it in the beginning since I found it had a pretty slow start.
But I’m so grateful that I didn’t stop after the first chapter or two because so many sections of this book challenged me in new ways to think about what rest truly is and why it’s so important in the life of a Christian.
Here’s a quote from it that I especially loved:
“One measure for whether or not you’re rested enough… is to ask yourself: How much do I care about the things I care about? When we lose concern for people… when we cease to laugh when our children laugh (and instead yell at them to be quiet) or weep when our spouse weeps (and instead wish they didn’t get so emotional)… When we hear news of trouble among our neighbors and our first thought is that we hope it isn’t going to involve us…When we stop caring about what we care about…That’s a signal that we’re too busy. We have let ourselves be consumed by the things that feed the ego but starve the soul.”
We really enjoyed reading this book together as a family. It’s the true story of a young Jewish girl who was hidden in a room for two years to protect her from being captured or killed by the Germans. While the writing in the book could have been tightened up a bit, we all found the story fascinating and such a good reminder of the gift we have of freedom to be able to go outside and live our normal lives without fear.
Note: It totally caught me off guard that this book had language in it that I never would have expected for a kid’s book and I’ve had to edit out a few words here and there. Just keep this in mind if you’re planning to read this to your kids or let them read it.
This book really, really impacted me in a number of different ways. One of those was in the area of friendships. I wrote this as a result of how the book challenged me:
“We weren’t created to be loners; we were created for community.”
I’ve said this from stages and written it in posts. And yet, for years, I’ve worked incredibly hard to not inconvenience anyone around me, if I can dare help it.
I’ve gone way out of my way to avoid causing someone else to have to go out of their way.
I’ve struggled through many things privately and not shared them with those closest to me lest I add one more thing to their already-full plates.
I’ve put on a brave face and kept it together when I felt like my world was falling apart because the last thing I would want to do would be to be a burden to someone else.
But I’m slowly learning this is the road of loneliness and isolation.
If we want to develop authentic deep relationships, we have to spill out the vulnerable, broken parts of our soul and let other people in to the messy, hurting, raw spaces. And be a safe place for them to do the same.
It requires the willingness to inconvenience and be inconvenienced. It means we let others bear our burdens and we’re willing to bear theirs. It will result in disappointing others and in being disappointed ourselves.
But when we let others get close enough that our brokenness and messiness is on full display, they also get to see the most beautiful, intimate parts of our heart and soul, too.
And let me tell you, getting to experience that depth in relationship is so very worth being inconvenienced and inconveniencing others for.
Please don’t judge this book by its cover. The contents are GOLD.
I firmly believe that every Christian’s life could be deeply impacted by a slow reading of this book. It will challenge you to truly understand, grasp, and live in light of the gospel like never before.
As soon as I finished it, I wanted to start reading it again.
“Preaching the gospel to myself each day nourishes within me a holy brazenness to believe what God says, enjoy what He offers, and do what He commands.”
I listened to this book as an audiobook and I loved it. I think the fact that it is so well narrated has made it such a good listen and I’d highly recommend it on audiobook. It’s a really compelling, tragic, and gripping story of the horrors of concentration camps.
(Note: I almost stopped listening to it because there was some edge-y stuff in the first part and I was afraid it was going to get worse as progressed. But it ended up getting quite a bit better as it progressed. Do note that it it is very much PG-13 and I would only recommend listening to it with headphones in if you have kids at your house!)
This book is such a worthwhile read! I read it in two days and can’t recommend it highly enough — especially if you have kids around ages 9-12 like mine are. I think it’s a book that can really impact your thinking on what compassion and empathy look like and the importance of being a true friend.
I picked up this book because the title intrigued me. It wasn’t at all what I expected — but it was exactly what I needed to read. It was all about the importance of being honest before God and others. I wrote this as a result of reading this book:
I’ve been studying what “lament” is recently. It’s not a word we hear a lot, but it’s a word that is completely changing how I pray. I’m realizing how often I sanitize my prayers because I’m afraid to just bring the real, raw, ugly, messy, yucky to God. Like He can’t handle me saying that I’m angry and hurt and upset and or that a situation doesn’t make sense. But isn’t that what David — a “man after God’s own heart” — did all throughout the book of Psalms?
It’s been really, really freeing for me to get brave enough to bring the ugly to God. He doesn’t need me to hold back how I feel. He wants me to be honest and when I’m being honest, He can meet me there in the darkness and yucky.
Think about it: if you’re a parent, don’t you want your kids to tell you ALL of how they are feeling? Even if it’s really ugly or dark? Of course! You want to exactly what us going on in their heart… because you care so deeply about them.
It’s the same with our Heavenly Father — only He loves us infinitely more than we could ever love our kids.
Bring Him your ugly, your broken, and your messy. Don’t hold back. It’s when we fully acknowledge our broken, that He can show up as our Healer. It’s when we completely verbalize our our messy, that He can show up as our Redeemer. It’s when we admit the hurt, the heartache, and the heartbreak, that He can show up as our Savior!
I read The Giver for the first time this week. And you guys, I don’t quite know what to say about this book. At first, I was so frustrated by the ending.
That’s it?!?! No! There has to be more!
I couldn’t get the story out of my brain. What am I missing? Why is it haunting me?The more I pondered, the more it started to make sense to me and I actually started to love the book and the powerful way it reminds us that without pain and suffering, we can’t experience emotional connection or truly feel at a deep level.
If we took all of the pain away from the world, it would also take away so much depth and the ability to experience life in full color.
I wished I would have read this book with a book club because I would have loved to hear what other people thought of things as I went through it. And I totally understand why some people love it and some people don’t like it at all.
I have been working on a surprise project the past 2 months and finally get to tell you about it! I’m launching a live group coaching in January called 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life where I’ll be walking you through some life-changing principles to help you live a much more productive and fulfilled life.
It’s designed for you if you…
- Wish you could change your life, but don’t where to start
- Hope to find a way to become more productive and get more done, but feel overwhelmed by the thought of taking yet another productivity course or reading yet another book on time management.
- Want to make 2018 the year that you actually stop wishing and hoping and planning and start DOING.
Doors will open for a few days only beginning January 1, 2018. If you are interested, you’ll want to sign up to be on the waitlist because you’ll be the first to know when it’s available and you’ll also get access to my brand-new printable called 6 Ways to Start your New Year Well.Go here to sign up — I can’t wait to have you join me for the live coaching!
What were YOUR favorite books from 2017? I’d love to hear! Tell us about them in the comments!