I said it last year that I’m far too bold to make this an annual post, but here goes another year.
Things you should know:
- Books are listed in alphabetical order by the title, not by any ranking because I’m bad at favorites.
- I do not receive any endorsements, just occasionally free books that I review honestly.
- If you would like to purchase the book described, click its picture and Amazon will open in a new tab.
- Yes, I do have a life outside of reading books.
1.) Braving the Wilderness
To read my review of Braving the Wilderness, click here.
2.) The Broken Way
I enjoy Ann Voskamp and especially love to hear her in person. This book includes some great nuggets and quotes about brokenness and identifying with the brokenness of Jesus. If I’m honest, though, I find myself lost in her writing style and have a hard time seeing the forest for the trees.
3.) Christians in an Age of Wealth
I would have never chosen to read this book on my own volition, but read it to meet a requirement for my Christian ethics class. Blomberg presented some interesting information on how many Christians do not give, not because they are unable, but because they have chosen a lifestyle that does not allow them to give generously. He offered some practical steps to saving money both for individuals and churches, presenting modern giving statistics and how global poverty statistics could be offered if they Church is faithful to give. This is quite a dry read, but good information if you are looking to learn more about this topic.
4.) How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk
This eye catching title provides precisely what it says, practical insights as to how to avoid falling in love with a jerk. Dr. Van Epp works with the US Armed Forces providing seminars presenting his research in how relationships should healthily progress and signs of personality traits to avoid. This is a very practical read that is based primarily on psychological research.
This book provides good information and insight for all who work with or interact with teenagers. Clark illuminates many of the hidden battles teenagers face. While this book is beneficial, it is also 7 years old and the majority of the information presented is dated.
6.) The Inner Voice of Love
This might be one of my favorite books I’ve ever read. Nouwen, renowned theologian, faces the greatest challenge of his faith. He journeys to a monastery where he openly and rawly journals his innermost thoughts in the pit of darkness, slowly inching back toward believing and accepting the love, grace, and friendship of God. He never intended for this work to be published. It is extremely honest and I wept through most of it.
7.) Love Lives Here
To read my review of Love Lives Here, click here.
8.) Men, Women, and Worthiness
I have yet to find this in print, only in audio. Read my review here.
9.) Of Mess and Moxie
I love Jen Hatmaker both for her honesty and out of jealousy of her friendship with Brené Brown. I admire her bravery to speak up for the marginalized and oppressed and was excited for this read. I have so enjoyed certain parts of it. I listened on Audible and was deeply touched to hear Jen weeping as she read certain chapters. If I’m honest, though, I stopped listening sometimes because of exaggerated mom humor. While I serve as a “bonus mom” for so many as this book describes, I found myself not thinking many Mom jokes were funny and maybe its my own “junk”, but joking about Mom’s needing to neglect their children just strikes a deep and painful chord. This book has some great nuggets. Great ones. But I struggled through it.
10.) Out of Sorts
To read my review of Out of Sorts, click here.
11.) Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child
While I do raise many children, I am not biologically a parent; yet, took away some great insights from Dr. Gottman’s work. He describes how parents can interact with their children when they are afraid or pitching a fit by “emotionally coaching” or helping them to name the emotion they are experiencing and walk them through an appropriate response. I LOVE THIS! I hear so many parents or grandparents in stores or restaurants just telling their child to “shut up” or “suck it up”, then none of those parents understand why we need counseling. What I especially love about this book is while offering this incredible approach to raising littles, Dr. Gottman is practical about when behavior simply needs to be disciplined and how to respond when you’re in a hurry and don’t have the time to properly “coach”. If you have little people in your life, read this. Naming and appropriately responding to emotions is the absolute best way you can prepare your child for adulthood.
12.) The Road Back to You
It seems 2017 was “the year of the enneagram” in contemporary Christian culture (by that I mean modern, not like Michael W. Smith). As an enneagram junkie, I have loved every last minute of it. This book by Ian Cron is my favorite resource on the Enneagram. Cron does an incredible job of concisely describing each enneagram profile, but most importantly unpacks how the believer should use the enneagram as a tool. This is what sets the enneagram apart from most other personality profiles. Rather than describing you, the enneagram is a tool both for understanding others and for overcoming the “mask” you have worn to survive. The Road Back to You hands its readers large paving stones to create the road to wake up and toward becoming your most real, unfiltered self.
13.) Sacred Marriage
Sacred Marriage is a common resource provided to believers who are about to enter the covenant of marriage. While this context makes total sense, I felt as a single person, Sacred Marriage also had a great deal of insight to offer. Gary Thomas’ thesis of this work is “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” This book debunks many false understandings of marriage and the purpose of marriage, many of which are created and perpetuated by Church culture. He was honest about the difficulty of marriage, while also illuminating its sacredness. I think this is a beneficial read in any stage of life.
I read Soul Virgins as a resource for a seminary class and went into it with great expectations. Single sexuality for the believer is almost never touched, while the average number of years between the onset of puberty and marriage increase. I was highly interested in this read, primarily as I work with college students. This may be a good resource, but I think my expectations were too high. I was thankful the authors addressed this topic, but stayed too broad to have any true impact or voice on the topic. Also, this book is a little dated. The alphabet worked highly in my favor because the book I would recommend over this one in this subject area is next.
15.) Swipe Right
To read my review of Swipe Right, click here.
My small group of post graduate girls studied this book together this Fall semester and I absolutely loved it. Unseen reads very personally and intimately, like most Christian living and would be a great solo read, along with a read for a group. I felt met and seen by Sara Hagerty in the most beautiful ways on these pages, have recommended it to many college students I mentor, and will be closely on the lookout for any reads from her in the future. I would recommend this book for anyone who feels forgotten and overlooked, for anyone in a difficult season, or for anyone interested in meeting God more intimately.
17.) You are Free
I know I fan girl over my Christian authors I love and I am not ashamed. I am such a fan of Rebekah Lyons. This girl is honest, fun, and when I saw her speak had incredible taste in shoes. I loved You are Free and needed it in all of the best ways. I greatly appreciated Rebekah’s honesty in talking about learning their precious first born would have Downs Syndrome. Her word choice throughout the book challenged me to expand my vocabulary. But most central, the message of this book empowered me to walk in the confidence of my Father in a season where every foundation beneath me felt shattered. Read it, okay.