One of my favorite things to do at the beginning of a new year is to look back over the past year and reflect on all the books that I was privileged to read. As I’ve shared before, my mom instilled a love of reading in all three of her children and to this day…my brother, sister, and I all love reading. I pray that will be true of all of our kids as well! As a child, being a voracious reader offered me the opportunity to travel to far off lands in my mind and dream about what it would be like to visit those places one day. Reading gave me a glimpse into history and cultures that created in me a deep desire and longing to learn more about people and to travel the world. One of the main things that made reading accessible to our family at that time was simply that reading was not expensive. I was home visiting my family last week for Christmas and we were driving around town. We passed the public library that our family used to frequent when I was a kid. With much fondness, we reminded ourselves of how much we looked forward to those library trips where we would all emerge with armloads of books that we were ready to dive into! As a child, if I was in need of correction, my mom would often have to take away my books. That was the best way to get my attention! As an educator, it thrills me to see students who are challenging themselves to read beyond what is required in order to stretch themselves and think deeply.
The last several years, I’ve taken the opportunity to post a list of all the books I read in the past calendar year. This is mostly a chance for me to reflect and remember the things that I’ve learned and the fantastic stories that the Lord is using to shape my life. This past year, I dove back into fiction a little as I read the Harry Potter series. For the most part, I tend to stick to non-fiction…mostly to embarrass my little sister when we are at the beach and I am highlighting while reading. But this year, I chose to read Harry Potter in order to remember my dear friend John-Michael Ritchey. JM was a voracious reader as well and he and I had lots of similar interests…John Piper, Timothy Keller, Russell Moore, etc. However, I always missed out when he was making Harry Potter references we were in conversation with other friends. After he passed away in September of 2015, I knew that reading those books would be soon on my list! I’m so grateful for the gift of reading those fantastic stories and journeying with Harry, Hermoine, Ron, Dumbledore, and so many others. I was sad when I finished the books! But grateful to fill in the gaps of so many conversations with JM and other dear friends who have joined in the Potter adventures as well. That’s already got my mind churning as to what fiction books will find their way on to my list this year!
I typically try to highlight a few favorites to share in the blog…
- Under Our Skin by Benjamin Watson was so incredibly enlightening..particularly as the mom of a young black son. I’m grateful for Watson and the way that he allowed the gospel to shape his thinking on what it truly means to love one another.
- It’s My Pleasure by Dee Ann Walker and Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard were both pivotal reads in my efforts to be excellent in the area of customer service and stewardship of the leadership gifts that God has blessed me with.
- The Emotionally Healthy Leader by Pete Scazzero and Creative Followership by Jimmy Collins were both great reads to help me be reminded that I’m not as important as I like to think I am! What a relief! God has an incredible plan for my life and my calling and I’m called to trust Him. Grateful for this reminder!
- I wrapped up the year with Hidden Christmas by Timothy Keller and was so blessed to study God’s Word about his promise of the Messiah throughout the Old Testament that preceded the coming of our Savior in the gospels. Keller has such a way with words that caused me to truly study Scripture and experience Christmas in a new and exciting way this year.
I was privileged to have read 54 books in 2016. I also read more magazines this year than ever before and constantly find myself reading articles online that I’ve found or that thoughtful friends have sent my way. However, I am very aware that the pull of my phone has caused me to squander away time that would have otherwise been better suited for reading things that really matter. My first finished book of 2017 Reclaiming Conversation has already been a great reminder to put down the phone!
If you have any interest in reading any of my reviews on the books listed at the bottom of this post, please visit my website and type the name of the book into the searcher or simply view all of my book reviews by clicking here. I’m excited to jump into reading for 2017. I pray that the books I will encounter will help me treasure Jesus and the people that He has put in my path in a new and deeper way than ever before!
Thanks for checking out this post….now let’s grab a book and get back to reading!
**If you are looking for a great strategy to jump into reading, check out my friend Sarah’s blog Book Fifty about a 2017 Reading Challenge she wants to help you with. Lots of great tips and resources here!**
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias
Comparison Trap by Sandra Stanley
Humility: The Journey to Holiness by Andrew Murray
Picture Perfect: When Life Doesn’t Add Up by Amy Baker
The Knowledge of the Holy by AW Tozer
Under Our Skin by Benjamin Watson
Manning by Archie and Peyton Manning
This is Awkward by Sammy Rhodes
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Gaining by Losing JD Greear
Why They Stay by Dr. Steve Parr and Dr. Tom Crites
Delighting in God by AW Tozer
The Fifth Discipline by Peter M. Senge
Born Anonymous by Anitha Kobusingye
Ephesians: Gaining the Things that Money Can’t Buy by Warren Wiersbe
Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen
It’s My Pleasure by Dee Ann Turner
The Customer Rules by Lee Cockerell
Navy Seals by Dick Couch and William Doyle
Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard
Last several weeks of school and our family moved to a new home
Talk like TED by Carmine Gallo
The Emotionally Healthy Leader by Pete Scazzero
A New Kind of Leader by Reggie Joiner
Shaped by the Gospel by Timothy Keller
Work Rules! by Laszlo Block
Who Moved My Pulpit? by Thom Rainer
Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman
Unashamed by Christine Caine
The Residence by Kate Andersen Brower
Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker
Creative Followership by Jimmy Collins
Building Biblical Worldview by Joe Neff
GRIT by Angela Duckworth
The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner
Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst
Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be by Frank Bruni
Right Color Wrong Culture by Bryan Lorritts
In the Arena by David Prince
God and Politics by Mark Dever
There is Life After College by Jeffrey Selingo
Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson
Good Faith by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons
Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp
The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
Hidden Christmas by Timothy Keller
The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni