I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

My Most Favorite Books from 2017

My Most Favorite Books from 2017

2017 proved to be a better than normal reading year for me. I finished 30 books. How's that for a nice round number? 

To be honest, I started a half dozen others throughout the year, soldiered through at least 100 pages of each (my personal litmus test number), but eventually set them aside for more interesting titles.

For a self-proclaimed bibliophile, 30 books a year doesn't seem like a lot. That's only a little more than two books per month. But, I'm a rather slow reader. I don't just read; I digest. 

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Just as a plant would wither if it was over-watered, I would mentally wilt if I tried to read too much. A firehose of words would never actually have a chance to sink in. So, I take my time and read slowly. 

At the recommendations of a trusted reading mentor, I use book darts to mark sections or passages that really speak to me. (Before I begin a book, I stick a handful of darts onto the copyright page. I like having them at-the-ready so that I never have to search for them mid-reading.) By the end of a reading session, if I darted any passages, I grab my reading journal and begin copying and/or journaling my thoughts about any interesting quotes that I had marked.

In this way, I am never the same person at the end of a book as I am when I started. I'm always learning and growing. 

Slow reading is purposeful reading...in my opinion, anyway. 

I keep track of all the books I've read or hope to read in a running list I started years ago on GoodReads. Here's a look at the 10 books I enjoyed most this year.

10- Just Do Something 

by Kevin DeYoung

I stumbled upon this short little book while doing research for a project I'm working on. And while I am not the target audience for the topic, I greatly enjoyed the no-nonsense, cut-to-the-chase voice the author brings to our wishy-washy society. Just Do Something would make the perfect gift to include in a high school or college graduation gift basket, as it answers some of the main questions that plague most young people today: 
  1. Whom should I marry?
  2. What career path should I choose? 
  3. What's God's will for my life?
DeYoung uses solid Scriptural evidence to prove that God's will isn't as elusive as most people think. 

9- Knights in Training

By Heather Haupt

As a mother of four boys, I found this to be a very practical resource for developing manly character in my men-to-be. Society would have us all believe that strong, confident, courageous men of valor are no longer in vogue. But I disagree. This book unpacks the code of conduct entrusted to the knights of old and helps parents use those same principles to raise up modern-day knights in our decaying culture

8- The Mercy Falls Collection

By Colleen Coble

I was completely unfamiliar with the work of Colleen Coble when I unwittingly read the last book in this three-part series. I was pleasantly surprised with the bits of intrigue that she sprinkled into an otherwise simple romance. Set in a sleepy coastal town of Mercy Falls, California, this trio tells the mysterious stories of three women all bound in some way to the lighthouse and the men who watch the shore.

7- Reading People

By Anne Bogel

In her debut book, Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy outlines five of the most well-known personality frameworks including the Myers-Briggs types, the 5 Love Languages, and the Enneagram. This one took me a long time to read, but not because it wasn't interesting. Quite the opposite. Every time I read a chapter, I found myself scouring the internet for more info and free online assessments of my personality. This is a great book for anyone looking for a quick-start, cliff-notes style breakdown of personality types and how they operate best with others. 

6- Why Motherhood Matters

By September McCarthy

Homeschooling mother to ten, September McCarthy offers grace and hope to women in every season of mothering. Kindness is draped over every page. While it offers practical insight and helpful applications in each short chapter, this is not a HOW TO style parenting book. This is just a gentle reminder to keep at it even on the hard days because mothering matters. Since it leans so heavy on Scripture and Scriptural principles, Why Motherhood Matters could be used as a devotional.

5- Uninvited

By Lysa TerKeurst

I can't say that I've ever really felt left out of friendships, as I've been fortunate to have many great women surrounding me throughout my entire adulthood. But like most women, I've been known to carry around my own personal cloak of insecurity at times. Uninvited, while not thick with spiritual insight and counsel, offers up the typical wit and encouragement that TerKeurst titles are known for. In the end, this book gave me some great talking points to use in conversations with one of my sons who spent much of the first half of the year struggling in relationships. 

4- A Million Little Ways

By Emily P. Freeman

We all ache to create art--to do something that fills, not depletes. That desire is God-breathed in us by the Master Artist who took such great care with His creation. But, we don't often see our regular gifts--teaching, nursing, baking, etc.--as art. In her poetic, whispered style, Freeman reminds every aching heart that creating is not selfish. On the contrary, it's actually a self-less way to worship a Creator. 

3- Bittersweet

By Shauna Niequist

While I don't always agree with Niequist's theology, I'm always compelled by her well-crafted words. They make me dig deeper and know that I know what I know. Instead of just shaking my head in agreement and moving on, I'm forced to examine things from all angles and push forward to find the truest truth. This book reads like a collection of short memoirs which draw a reader to one singular conclusion: that every bitter experience in life can be sweet, eventually. The common thread in all of the stand-alone chapters is Niequist's own journey with infertility and how she learned (is learning) to find God in all things, even the hard ones.

2- The Life-Giving Table

By Sally Clarkson

Last year, Clarkson's first installment of this three-part series sky-rocketed to my top spot. In fact, I would place The Life-Giving Home in the top three best women's interest/mothering books I've ever read. Not surprising, the sequel did not disappoint. It takes on a more practical tone by focusing on building faith through feasting. Clarkson points to Old Testament feasts, the food-inspired miracles of Jesus, and the table gatherings of the early church leaders as keys to modern discipleship. At the close of each inspiring chapter, she includes a few favorite recipes that she and her family have enjoyed over the years. I've tried many of them in the last few weeks and have gotten rave reviews from around my table every time. I can't wait until The Life-Giving Parent hits the shelves!

1- Mere Motherhood

By Cindy Rollins

I have a very small collection of non-fiction, adult books that I consider MUST HAVES. These are books that I continue to read, re-read, and pass around to friends and family. Mere Motherhood made it to the pile this year. Unlike other titles, it doesn't offer bullet points and lengthy lists for how to homeschool well, but focuses on encouragement instead. It's a bit autobiographical as it wraps up the homeschooling journey of Cindy Rollins, the founding mother of Morning Time. I would highly recommend it for any home educating mom, but especially those who lean towards the Charlotte Mason method of teaching. 

How were you changed by books this year? Care to share your favorite titles? My GoodReads account thanks you in advance.

More books worth reading


  1. I loved reading your list! Mere Motherhood was one of my favorite reads last year (2016) and I'm happy to see that a number of books on my bookshelf right now, to be read in 2018, are part of your list! They are: The Life Giving Table, Uninvited, Why Motherhood Matters, Reading People, and Knights in Training!

    1. I hope you like them as much as I did. It sounds like we have similar taste!

  2. A Million Little Ways and The Life-Giving Table are on my Christmas wish list, I still haven't finished Uninvited, and I think Mere Motherhood has been my number one favorite book in this category, of all time. I loved it. I felt like I had a personal mentor sitting right next to me, sharing her wisdom without preaching or telling me what to do.

    1. Same. That is exactly how I felt about Mere Motherhood. Well, if you liked that one, you'll definitely like The Life-Giving Table.

  3. I enjoyed the books read with my 7 yo daughter more than the ones I picked for myself.
    Pinocchio and Pollyanna would be at the very top this year.

    1. I like middle grade fiction better than adult fiction too!

  4. Two of your to picks are currently on my wish list :)

  5. Present over perfect was my best read in 2017! So freeing, especially for someone who has done fulltime Christian ministry.

    1. I read that one last year, and while I enjoyed the writing style, I was really disappointed with how little Jesus was mentioned in the book. He played such a bit part that I wouldn't really even rank the book in the "Christian" category. It seemed more "spiritual."
      This is why I struggle with Niequist's writing...and the writing of several other big name "Christian" women's interest writers.

  6. I love your blog, your book commentaries and reviews. I have added several of your books- adult and child- to my must read list. I always enjoy when a new post from you shows up in my inbox. :)

    1. Thank you for the kind words! I love talking books with anyone and everyone willing to listen. Happy reading in the new year!

  7. I feel the same way. Anytime you have a new post about the books you enjoyed or your read alouds, i have your page open along with amazon and I’m adding books to our list the entire time haha!

    I personally couldn’t finish Uninvited. Now, I’ll say i don’t really think i FEEL the way she feels/felt, but i just felt as if each chapter focused on her woes. If that makes sense? I don’t know, maybe i should pick it back up.

    As for The Life-Giving Table, that one should be here tomorrow!! Should’ve been here today but Georgia, snow, and UPS doesn’t mix haha! So it was delayed and man I’m bummed! I read The Life Giving Home And re-reading it again this year for each month. I love her podcasts and man, she just seems like an old friend ❤️.

    1. Uninvited was definitely my least favorite of all the TerKeurst books I've ever read, but it was useful to me in helping my son. I hope you like The Life-Giving Table. It's a bit different than the first, but still so encouraging!

      Thanks so much for the kind words. It's so nice to have such a great community of bibliophiles here with which to talk titles.



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