For the past few years I’ve shared my favorite books of the year, these aren’t necessarily books that came out this year, but books that I read this year and truly enjoyed—in no particular order….
The Joy of Less by Francine Jay
About the book: “In this fully redesigned and repackaged edition—featuring never-before-seen content—Jay brings her philosophy to more readers who are eager to declutter. Rather than the “crash diet” approach found in other tidying up books, Jay shares simple steps to cultivate a minimalist mindset and form new habits, paving the way to lasting success.”
Why I liked it: I always enjoy reading books about decluttering and this one is a keeper. It’s a perfect mix of philosophy and applicable ideas. I made the mistake of reading it on vacation and couldn’t wait to go home and change where I was keeping things in my kitchen after having some big ah-ha moments.
All the Pretty Things by Edie Wadsworth
About the book: “It would take her whole life burning down once again for Edie to be finally able to face the truth about herself, her family, and her relationship with God. Readers of The Glass Castle will treasure this refreshing and raw redemption story, a memoir for anyone who has ever hungered for home, forgiveness, and the safe embrace of a father’s love.”
Why I liked it: Edie’s been a friend and Home Mentor to me for years and I couldn’t wait to read this book. It made me love my family, Edie, cooking and Edie’s daddy more than I expected. I don’t usually like books that make me cry, but this book had all the good crys. I wish I could read it for the first time again. If you haven’t read it yet, you are so lucky that you still get to read it!
Brazen by Leeana Tankersley
About the book: “With moving personal stories and spot-on observations of the longings we all experience–to know we are loved, to feel comfortable in our own skin, to be heard–Tankersley calls women to honor that voice deep down inside of them rather than bowing to outside influences that push them to become someone they’re not. Gritty and overflowing with grace, Brazen will set women free to be truly themselves in a world bent on molding them in its image.”
Why I liked it: Leeana is my soul whisperer. I just love her writing and it always hits me right where I am. I want her words to follow me around all day, I’ll read this book again and again. This is a great book to give as a gift.
The Forest Feast Gatherings by Erin Gleeson
About the book: “Lushly illustrated with hundreds of watercolor drawings and photographs, The Forest Feast Gatherings is an inspiring reference for anyone who wants to share good food with good friends, simply, easily, and beautifully.”
Why I liked it: I went to the book store looking for a specific cookbook that I’d been wanting, and instead I came home with this–a vegetarian “cookbook” about feeding groups of people. It is an absolute delight, y’all. I am so not vegetarian, but here’s the thing–meatless stuff is SO EASY! The recipes are like 3 steps and are delicious. I realized I could easily add in a few of these dishes into my repertoire. Plus, you get all sorts of appetizer and cocktail ideas that make you look so fancy but they are also 3 steps! And, the photography is just charming–HIGHLY recommended for anyone who ever makes food, or anyone who likes to look at pictures of pretty food! This might be my favorite book purchase of the year!
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
About the book: “One of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Crime Novels of 2016! I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.”
Why I liked it: I read about 18 fiction books this year and none of them stood out like last year. But I wanted to have a work of fiction on this list, so I picked my favorite one. It’s been a long time since a book has genuinely surprised me and this one did–my friend Jessica and I both read this book at the same time and it was fun to have someone to talk about the twists of this book with. (By the way, here’s Jessica’s top books of the year–I didn’t want to look at it until I had finalized mine and guess what–she picked this one too!)
Rhythms of Rest by Shelley Miller
About the book: “With encouraging stories from people in different stages in life, Miller shares practical advice for having peaceful, close times with God. You will learn simple ways to be intentional about rest, ideas for tuning out distractions and tuning in God, and even how meals and other times with friends and family can be Sabbath experiences.”
Why I liked it: I’ve been reading Shelley’s blog, and a member of her Sabbath Society for years. She is one of my Rest Mentors. I believe we all need to be reading books about rest every year and this graceful book will encourage you to experience true rest no matter what your schedule looks like.
Falling Free by Shannan Martin
About the book: “Martin’s practical, sweetly subversive book invites us to rethink assumptions about faith and the good life, push past insecurity and fear, and look beyond comfortable, middle-class Christianity toward a deeper, richer, and ultimately more fulfilling life.”
Why I liked it: When you read Shannan’s writing you feel like you are her BFF. This book will have you looking at your life with a fresh perspective, not because you have to, but because you want to.
Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
About the book: “Present Over Perfect is a hand reaching out, pulling you free from the constant pressure to perform faster, push harder, and produce more, all while maintaining an exhausting image of perfection. Shauna offers an honest account of what led her to begin this journey, and a compelling vision for an entirely new way to live: soaked in grace, rest, silence, simplicity, prayer, and connection with the people that matter most to us.”
Why I liked it: This book simply reminded me that I have permission to be myself, the way God made me to be. Priceless.
Roots and Sky by Christie Purifoy
About the book: “Anyone who has felt the longing for home, who yearns to reconnect with the beauty of nature, and who values the special blessing of deep relationships with family and friends will love finding themselves in this story of earthly beauty and soaring hope.”
Why I liked it: Ok, I have so many things I could say about this book. I didn’t expect it to be what it was–in many ways, it’s an ode to a house which already is speaking my love language, plus, it’s organized by seasons which I always fall hard for. Christie’s writing is impossible to put down and caused me to fall more deeply in love with our imperfect home. Loved it.
Hope Heals by Katherine & Jay Wolf
About the book: “When all seems lost, where can hope be found? Katherine and Jay married right after college and sought adventure far from home in Los Angeles, CA. As they pursued their dreams, they planted their lives in the city and in their church community. Their son, James, came along unexpectedly in the fall of 2007, and just 6 months later, everything changed in a moment for this young family.”
Why I liked it: I’ve been following the Wolfs online for ages and this was one of the books I looked forward to reading from the moment I heard they signed a book deal. I don’t want to say too much if you don’t know their story–just read it!
The More of Less by Joshua Becker
About the book: “The More of Less delivers an empowering plan for living more by owning less. With practical suggestions and encouragement to personalize your own minimalist style, Joshua Becker shows you why minimizing possessions is the best way to maximize life.”
Why I liked it: I always enjoy Joshua’s perspective on intentional living with stuff. This is his best book yet, he’s got a graceful view of minimalism and I’ve learned so much from his writing.
The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond
About the book: The #1 bestselling author and Food Network personality at last answers that age-old question—“What’s for Dinner?”—bringing together more than 125 simple, scrumptious, step-by-step recipes for delicious dinners the whole family will love.
Why I liked it: Besides watching my mom, I learned to cook from Ree and Edie (yep same Edie from All the Pretty Things book above). I’ve got a few of PW’s books, but this one is my favorite because she’ll teach you a technique (making meatballs in bulk and freezing them) and then teach you five different ways to use them. I have NEVER had success freezing food until this cookbook came along. The meatballs alone were worth the price of the book (hint* I always use meatloaf mix for the meat –pork, veal & beef, it’s one of my boys favorites.)
Today only you can save $5 off $15 worth of printed books from Amazon (fine print here & yippie, it’s been extended another day!). Yee Haw! Just use the code: GIFTBOOK when you checkout! I’m buying this (thanks to my sister’s recommendation from HER favorite books of 2016).
Let’s talk fiction for a sec…
One of my goals this year was to read more fiction and I did! I read 17 fiction books? Books of fiction? Ficti? and am in the middle of another–I think that’s more fiction than I’ve read in the previous three years combined. I joined Book of the Month Club (BOTM) for a year and that has helped me reach my goal–I love it because they have five great books that you get to choose from every month, and the price for each hardback book is always less than you can buy it on Amazon!
BOTM has a special right now, if you give a 3 month gift subscription, you get 50% off 3 month subscription for yourself!
Your turn, what was your favorite book of 2016?
*affiliate links used in this post xo