THE BOOKS I’VE READ FOR FUN IN 2019!
Every year I set a goal to read a certain amount of books outside of my assigned reading for my Master’s program. In 2019 my goal was 13, and I ended up reading 23! I know, I know. I’m as surprised as you are. The only bad thing is I want to beat my record now. HA!
Today I’m sharing more about each book I read this year. There’s a mix of fiction and non-fiction, and spoiler alert: the third-to-last book is a Pulitzer Prize winning work that I’m still mad at for wasting my time, and my feelings on book number 23 (that I’m currently reading) are still undecided.
The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron
The Road Back to You is all about the enneagram. If you haven’t heard of the enneagram, have you been living under a rock? If you’ve delved into the world of the enneagram and you aren’t quite sure which “type” is you I highly recommend this book to help you 1) understand more and 2) help identify your number! It explains so much, plus it’s easier/better to type yourself using the book because the enneagram is really about motivation rather than taking a test!
Favorite quote: “The Enneagram is a tool that awakens our compassion for people just as they are, not the people we wish they would become so our lives would become easier.”
Leading Cross-Culturally by Sherwood Lingenfelter
Sometimes I’ll add a textbook to my Goodreads lists so I can reference it later. This one was excellent in getting me to think about leadership perspectives.
Favorite quote: “Leading, then, is inspiring people who participate with you in a community of trust to follow you – a leader or a leadership team – and be empowered by you to achieve a compelling vision of faith.”
Soul Rest by Curtis Zackery
I’ve been casually studying the rhythm of Sabbath for a few years. This book is an excellent read, gets very deep, and explains the importance of Sabbath in a very compelling way. If you’re interested in reading more about rest, this book is for you!
Favorite idea: Working from a posture of rest, knowing my identity is in Jesus rather than what I can or will produce.
A Man Called One by Fredrik Backman
This was my first fiction book of 2019, and I finished it in 9 days. It’s such a heartwarming story, and if you plan on reading it let me know so I can buy you a giant box of tissues. I loved this because it’s a creative and different story that makes you want to be kind to your neighbors.
Favorite quote: I can’t give you one because all of my favorites give away something of the plot and I just can’t do that to you!
The Prodigal Prophet by Timothy Keller
Everyone who grew up in church needs to read this! It’s the story of Jonah that will give more depth and meaning to why it’s a part of the Bible than you ever knew was there from Sunday School messages. IT’S SO GOOD!
Favorite quote: “Jonah wants a God of his own making, a God who simply smites the bad people, for instance, the wicked Ninevites and blesses the good people, for instance, Jonah and his countrymen. When the real God—not Jonah’s counterfeit—keeps showing up, Jonah is thrown into fury or despair.”
Company of One by Paul Jarvis
My favorite quote sums this book up pretty well: “Every business, theoretically is a lifestyle business, in that each represents your choice of how you want to live. If you want to work in the fast-paced corporate world, you have to accept that your life will have little room for something else. If you choose the growth-focused venture capital world, you have to accept being beholden to two groups of people: investors and customers (and what each wants could be vastly different). And if you work in a company where enough profit is acceptable, then your lifestyle can be optimized for more than just growing profit.”
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
You’ve probably seen this everywhere this year, and with good reason! This book was my favorite fiction work I’ve read all year. The story is different and I couldn’t predict what was going to happen next. It’s a very emotional story, but very much worth your time!
Favorite quote: I’m not putting one here either because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone!
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
This book would be an excellent for a book club. IT IS WEIRD, so very weird, and when you get to the end you’re going to need to talk about it. I liked this one because I couldn’t predict anything at all. When you pick up this book, buckle in because you’re going for a weird ride!
Favorite quote: “Tomorrow can be whatever I want it to be, which means for the first time in decades, Ii can look forward to it. Instead of being something to fear, it can be a promise I make myself. A chance to be braver or kinder, to make what was wrong right. To be better than I am today. Every day after this one is a gift.
I just have to keep walking until I get there.”
Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl
Give me anything by Ruth Reichl because her life is fascinating! Ruth had a fascinating career in the food world, and this is just one of her many autobiographies remembering about those years in her life. Her book Garlic & Sapphires is still my favorite, but this one is great too!
Favorite quote: “I’d learned an important lesson: When something frightens me, it is definitely worth doing.”
Called to Create by Jordan Raynor
This book is a challenge to use your personal giftings for God and others, not just yourself. It’s a reminder that your personal giftings are as valuable and needed as everyone! I cried a lot reading this because it just felt so personal to my current season. Such an encouragement!
Favorite quote: the whole thing.
Why Don’t We Listen Better by James Peterson
This book needs to be read in every organization, every home, every business, everywhere! It’s the best communication book I’ve read, and it’s got practical advice and strategies to communicate with everyone in your life in a more productive way!
Favorite quote: “People never fully commit to our solutions for their lives. They only give one hundred percent effort to their solutions. When we grab responsibility for the problems of others, they usually stop working on them and become irritated with us.”
Taste and See by Margaret Feinberg
The author went on several adventures with the goal of finding out how different foods in the Bible point us to a deeper understanding of Jesus. It will make you look at food differently. It will make you look at hospitality in a new way. I loved this book and highly recommend it.
Favorite quote: “In the midst of a busy life, we can all create a space to taste and see God’s goodness. This begins by recognizing food as a gift from God instead of a commodity. Every mealtime is an opportunity to be on the lookout for Christ to reveal himself in surprising ways. We can all pause in order to pay attention to the One who has provided the food before us.”
When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin
Another fiction work that will make your eyes well up with all the tears. This is such a sweet story.
Favorite quote: “The heart is not only the most unselfish of organs, it is also the most courageous and faithful.”
The Tech-Wise Family by Andy Crouch
Practical ways to put technology in its proper place by setting intentional boundaries! If you’re addicted to your phone, this needs to be your January read!
Favorite quote: “We only get one life to live. Wouldn’t it be better spent enjoying and serving the world God made rather than a glowing screen?”
The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda
Another fiction work, but this one won’t make you cry! Hahaha! Until I put this list together I hadn’t realized how many emotional books I’d read this year.
Anyway, this one is a mystery and it’s really good! It’ll keep you on your toes!
Favorite quote: I won’t spoil anything for you!
Emotionally Healthy Spiritually Day-by-Day by Peter Scazzero
This is technically a devotional, but its practical advice was so applicable that I’m adding it to the list. This one helps you uncover why it’s important to slow down and listen to the voice of God.
Favorite quote: “Burnout is a state of emptiness, to be sure, but it does not result from giving all I have; it merely reveals the nothingness from which I was trying to give in the first place.”
The Supper of the Lamb by Robert Farrar Capon
This book is by far my favorite of the year. The author is both a chef and a priest, and has such a unique view of food and the goodness of God. The entire book is a recipe, but also a treatise on the goodness of God. It’s an amazing work!
Favorite quote: “For all its rooted loveliness, the world has no continuing city here; it is an outlandish place, a foreign home, a session in via to a better version of itself-and it is our glory to see it so and to thirst until Jerusalem comes home at last. We were given appetites, not to consume the world and forget it, but to taste its goodness and hunger to make it great.”
Come and Eat by Bri McKoy
A book about using food as hospitality, and how hospitality can lead others to Jesus. So wonderful!
Favorite quote: “Come with your brokenness, your celebration, and your worries, but most of all come and eat.”
Rhythms of Renewal by Rebekah Lyons
I read this on vacation and it was the best decision! This book encourages readers to begin slowing down and focusing on the four life rhythms that lead to a fulfilling life and finding your purpose. It’s excellent, and I’m using the book’s framework to cultivate better habits and rhythms in my own life in 2020!
Favorite quote: “Rest precedes blessing. We don’t have to run to earn rest; we run fueled by a posture of rest.”
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The world loves this book, I hate it. I loathed ever single character. The plot was slow and dark and icky, and I’m clearly still salty about it! This book and it’s whole premise, which it finally reaches 700 pages in, has already been written in Ecclesiastes. Its the wisdom of Solomon, without any of the wisdom.
Friend-ish by Kelly Needham
This book is about a biblical framework for friendships, and it’s excellent. I was hesitant to pick this up because I was worried that it would be shallow, but it’s NOT! It’s deep and meaningful, and will encourage your heart if you’ve had a hard time with friendship.
Favorite idea: When we find our identity in Jesus, and look to him to fill all the things only he can, we are released to have healthy boundaries and expectations in our friendships.
Favorite quote: When Jesus is my stability, my significance, my closest companion, I am freed to truly love others and love them sacrificially.
The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller
A marriage book that is deep, meaningful, applicable, and honest. It’s so good. If you’re a human who is married, getting ready to be married, or want to be married in the future this book is for you!
Favorite quote: “Within this Christian vision of marriage, here’s what it means to fall in love. It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of what God is creating, and to say, “I see who God is making you, and it excites me! I want to be part of that. I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to his throne. And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say, ‘I always knew you could be like this. I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!”
One Day in December by Josie Silver
I always love to read a Christmas-themed fiction book at the end of the year. Christmas stories are always so cozy and warm to match the season! I’m only a few chapters into this book and I’m not sure how I feel about it. So far it’s not Christmassy, it’s not warm, and it’s not cozy. There are quite a few f-bombs though so I may choose to shelve this one and pick something else soon!
Of course I’m already compiling a list of books I’d like to read for 2020. Already on my list are:
Letting Your Life Speak by Parker J. Palmer
Burnout by Dr. Emily Nagoski
Quitter by Jon Acuff
Conviction by Denise Mina
Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson
Flavor: The Science of Our Most Neglected Sense by Bob Holmes
Let Her Lead by Brady Boyd
The Pumpkin Plan: A simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field by Mike Michalowicz
If you have book recommendations, use the button below to email me! I ALWAYS love adding something new to my list!