Another reading year gone by.
With the help of publishers and Netgalley, I've had the opportunity to read and review a quite a few books this year.
So, whether you're looking for a gift to give this holiday season, or an idea for your own list, here are the highlights from my year in reading.
(And feel free to follow along on Goodreads)
For When You Need to Pause
I'm not usually the biggest fan of devotional books, but this one by Tara-Leigh Cobble stood out to me. She takes short portions of Scripture to highlight a part of God's character and helps us apply it meaningfully to our lives. Each day has a short teaching and questions for reflection.
If you're looking for something while you're on vacation, or when your time is short, or you've drifted in your daily habits in the Word and are looking to get back into a routine, this one is for you! I'm handing this over to my daughter to read next! 5 stars.
Every Bible story tells us about the greatest story.
She introduces us to 30 women of Scripture, not just to tell their story, but to show us how each woman's role is a piece of the big picture of God's work in the world through Christ. This book has short, but meaty, chapters to help you grow in your understanding of the storyline of Scripture. I wrote a full review HERE. 5 stars!
These beautifully written prayers are rich with scripture and theology. I've been enjoying this journey of having biblical truth flood into my prayers. I wrote a review on this one HERE. (5 stars)
For the Story Lover
I've not read many classics since my AP English class, and this was my first reading Jane Eyre...although I don't know why. I really enjoyed it and felt sorry for not having read it sooner! 5 stars.
For anyone who loves the Narnia series! This book is about a chronically ill young boy who does and longs for answers about the stories. His older sister, studying at university tries to help him find them by asking the author. The Lewis brothers, instead of answering them, tell her more stories instead, inviting her to consider the value of imagination. This was an excellent story! 5 stars!
Set during WW1, and in Windsor Ontario, and the years following, there’s a lot to enjoy in this one. I loved the loyalty between brothers John and Jerry as they went from war to home, Adele’s courage to go to war and use her nursing skills to care for the wounded, and the sister who doesn’t understand, but listens when Adele returns. I enjoyed all the Canadian history about the tunneling companies in the war and the cultural climate during Prohibition.
There’s a dual timeline but most of the story happens between Jerry and Adele to explain Cassie’s present day mystery. I’d highly recommend this one if you enjoy historical fiction. 5 stars! (Note: clean, general market fiction)
Doctor Cynthia Myers and Captain Rick Norton don't meet under normal circumstances. A warlord's army is coming to the African village she's serving in and he's tasked to get her out. The journey gets complicated as the team brings along their two wounded battling against limited resources and time. Themes of forgiveness and patience when people aren't perfect. Recommend for those who enjoy Christian suspense! 5 stars!
Norah King, engaged to be married, lives on her family farm and finds a man beaten up in the field, without a hope in the world. Nursed back to health, Quincy is given a second chance in life, and by the grace of God he takes it. His business becomes successful, and he uses the resources he has to help the broken that come his way start a new life, the same way Norah did for him.
An unexpected turn of events finds them together again, but secrets and threats will shake their world. Forgiveness and restoration are themes at the forefront of this story as the gospel shines through. I really enjoyed this novel! It's the first one I've read by the author and recommend it! 5 stars!
For Missional Adventure
This was a really fun read! I really enjoyed his stories of travelling up into Manitoba (my home province) and how he learned to survive in the winter conditions with the help of his friends. It reminded me a lot of our time in Africa, and how much our local friends taught us about life in a new place. Also, we've had so many snow storms this year that I keep thinking about what it would be like to travel through it by dog sled. This was so good! Find the ebook FREE on Amazon! 5 stars!!
For the Disciple-Making Parent
For parents, the great commission begins in our homes - going and making disciples starts here. But, here's a question, do you know what that means?? And, do you know how?? This is a super practical book and it's one for every believing parent! Read more of my review HERE. (5 stars)
Most parenting books focus on the 'how-to' aspect of parenting, but this book is refreshingly different! The author turns our focus to wonder at the character of God and how He parents us, which in turn impacts us as we love and disciple our children. I highly recommend it! Find my full review here.
For the Striving Mom
Maybe you're thinking, "what? another book on motherhood?!" But I'd encourage you to take a look at this one. It's not a how-to parenting book. This is an invitation and admonishment for us as mothers to accept our present role as one the Lord is using to direct us to model our Savior in humility. She takes us through the gospel of John to highlight the humility of Christ and to help us fix our eyes on Jesus in our day-to-day. My full review is here. 4 stars!
For Learning to Live Like Christ
In these divisive times, this book is so needed!! It's the first book that brought tears to my eyes this year as I grieved what's been happening with church community and the beauty God intended. Read my full review here. 5 stars!
This was an excellent read! It was pretty timely for me. He shares about how growing in our knowledge of God ought to impact not only our head, but our heart and therefore our character, manifesting in fruit of the Spirit. I'd say it's a must-read for those who have a special interest and passion for theology. Read my whole review HERE. (5 stars)
It’s surprising to live in a world that has what they need yet feels so unsatisfied.
Why is it difficult to be content when you have so much?
Preacher Jeremiah Burroughs (1599-1646) sought to answer this very relevant question through teaching a sermon series on Philippians 4:11-12. He saw the need in congregations and in his own life, to discover a life of contentment in the midst of need and trials. For Burroughs, “a Christian could find contentment in any circumstance if Christ Himself was his cherished possession.”
If you're among those living in prosperity, this is an important read! Check out my full review HERE. 5 stars!
If you are a Christian working in the sciences, you will find these articles edifying as the authors share how their faith intersects with their studies, research and applications.
If you are a pastor or involved in shepherding, please read this! Many evangelical Christians don't know what to do with science and while these articles don't present a robust framework for integrating theology and science, they do share how a Christian worldview integrates with their work in a variety of fields of study.
As a nurse, this was enjoyable to read. (5 stars)
We've all been there, stuck from a hurt relationship. Find encouragement to take a deeper look at forgiveness and reconciliation on a personal level. Check out my review here. 5 stars!
For Those Looking for a New Bible Study
The book of Revelation is mysterious and often misunderstood. In this book, Nancy teaches us how Revelation shows us the blessed life through the images and descriptions in the book. There's an accompanying study for deeper study available on her website. Read my full review here. If you're looking for a small group, or individual study, this one is timely!
I really enjoyed this upcoming release by Albert Mohler, learning the importance of Jesus' parables and how they teach us about God's kingdom. Many of the stories we've heard numerous times, maybe we think we already understand what they mean, but he takes us to the cultural context and the place in scripture to help us interpret what they mean. 5 stars.
I really enjoy this series! This particular volume on the book of Nehemiah shows us how the tasks and challenges Nehemiah faced as he walks in obedience to God influences our own work for the kingdom today as light bearers in our churches and communities. Read my full review HERE. 5 stars!
For the Content Consumer
As a consumer of content, I’ve highlighted, saved, reviewed and written from a variety of topics. But I’ve never had a cohesive workflow or process to go from reading, to processing, to writing.
Enter the Zettlekasten Method of note-taking.
I’ll admit it’s a bit overwhelming at first. I took a week to read and understand articles about it, to read this book, and to nervously start playing with this method. So far, what I can tell you is, it’s a lot of work when you get started, but I can already start to see the benefits in generating content ideas and discovering connections in thoughts and ideas. I’m using Roam Research as my digital slipbox.
This book won’t outline the process for you, there’s a lot of good articles on the web to give you a step-by-step guide (once I'm more fluent I may also put one together), but you’ll find really helpful principles for note-taking and writing in this book. So I do recommend it generally for that. It's a book I wish I'd come across 10 years ago. (5 stars)
For the Ministry Leader
This book teaches how to apply the restorative power of the Gospel to those who've suffered past trauma. For the pastor, the lay leader, the small group leader and Christian counsellor, you'll find both foundational principles and practical strategies to walk alongside others. She utilizes secular research but strongly applies the Gospel. (5 stars)
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you found something interesting. Have you read any of these? I'd love to know. AND, let me know what you've read and recommend from your shelf this year. I'm looking to set some reading goals for next year!
And, feel free to visit my favourites from previous years!