2019 is, like, actually here! Some days I really didn’t think we were going to survive 2018, and then all of a sudden we’re a week in to this new year and I’m still working on my December to-do list. Oops.
I always try to post my yearly book lists in December because, Christmas gifts. There is nothing I love more than giving (or getting!) for Christmas than books. So ignore the fact that it is currently January (double oops), and think of all the books you can *exchange your other gifts for*. You’re welcome!
In 2017, I tried to read 30 books in a year – and I accidentally read 51 (I blame both insomnia and the Harry Potter series). This year I, once again, tried to read 30 – and I read TWENTY NINE AND A HALF. Triple oops. To be fair, if I included all my seminary books (which I included at the bottom!), I read way more. But I vowed to not count those and I don’t believe in cheating. In 2018 I also tried to read more work by both women and people of color. (It’s surprising how much of an effort you have to make to not read books by white males.) I think I did okay, but definitely want to continue that trend in 2019.
As always – let me know what you’re reading!! Send me a recommendation, let me know what’s on top of your list, tell me what was your favorite read of 2018.
- I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, Austin Channing Brown | Honest yet gracious; her words are sobering yet hopeful. One of the best books of 2018, hands down.
- Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman, Anne Helen Peterson | I kicked off 2018 with this book and it stopped me in my tracks. It’s so hard to find a book that is information & research heavy, thought provoking, AND reads as easily as a novel. This was all that and then some.
- All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr | Late to the game with this masterpiece – but wow wow wow. Worth the long read.
- The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships, Suzanne Stabile | If you talked to me for longer than 5 minutes in 2018, I probably brought up the Enneagram and Suzanne Stabile. Can’t get enough of either one! This short book, even for those of us who have taken a deep dive into enneagram-lane, is so helpful and so well done.
Best Novels: Fiction isn’t my forte, but I loved these!
- All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer | This book is just F U N. Plus Netflix did an adaptation, which pairs so nicely.
- The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead | Incredible all around!
- Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty | The best kind of beach read: suspenseful, funny, some heavy conversations, unable to put down. The HBO show is a little intense, but also pretty good.
For the Feminists…
- Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman, Anne Helen Peterson | So well researched, so well written, so interesting!!
- Men Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit | The title is enough, isn’t it? 😉
- Bossypants, Tina Fey | Okay, seriously late to the game here – but if you don’t love Fey, you aren’t a human being.
- Hamilton: The Revolution, Lin-Manuel Miranda & Jeremy McCarter | If you, like me, have the whole soundtrack memorized – this book is a dream come true. It goes through the play song-by-song with little notes by Lin-Manuel, backstory on lyrics, AND has articles throughout about how Hamilton came to be. PLUS images of the original cast! I was engrossed.
- The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships, Suzanne Stabile | For all you Enneagram-enthusiasts, I cannot recommend Stabile’s work enough. (Check out her podcast, too!)
- Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, Curtis Sittenfeld | I normally hate modern retellings of any classics – but this was a treat. Smart, witty, interesting in its own way (even when you know what’s coming) – I now want to read all of Sittenfeld’s work!
Books I simply can’t stop recommending:
- I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, Austin Channing Brown | Everyyyyyone needs to read this. Everyone.
- The Most Beautiful Thing I’ve Seen: Opening Your Eyes to Wonder, Lisa Gungor | This beauty is lyrical and water to your churched-out soul.
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott | Mostly advice on writing fiction – it reads like a mixture of therapy and life advice.
Don’t believe the hype…
- Sweetbitter, Stephanie Danler | I really, really disliked this one. I only finished it because I was on vacation and it was the one novel I brought with me.
- Tell Me Lies, Carola Lovering | This was decently interesting, but not as well written as people made it seem to be – and also some pretty heavy conversations I think it severely mishandled (eating disorders, abusive relationships, yikes)
- Next Year in Havana, Chanel Cleeton | Overall this wasn’t bad – I think it was just seriously over-hyped. A pretty fun read in the beginning, it got a little predictably forced at the end in a way that was disappointing.
- Tell Me Lies, Carola Lovering
- Next Year in Havana, Chanel Cleeton
- Mrs. Sherlock Holmes, Brad Ricca | SO interesting and started out SO well! ….then kinda started to drag
- The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Short Stories, Marina Keegan
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer
- The Sun is Also A Star, Nicola Yoon | The best kind of YA
- Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give, Ada Calhoun | Especially recommend if you’re married
- The Last Black Unicorn, Tiffany Haddish | A bit heavier than you’d expect, but still really funny!
- I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, Austin Channing Brown
- The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion
- The Most Beautiful Thing I’ve Seen: Opening Your Eyes to Wonder, Lisa Gungor
- Bossypants, Tina Fey
- Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy, Donald Miller | I reread this every. single. year.
- The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, Issa Rae | Probably more interesting if you watch Insecure (I don’t)
- The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott
- Sweetbitter, Stephanie Danler
- The Very Worst Missionary: A Memoir or Whatever, Jamie Wright | If you have ever done overseas missions work – must read!
- Hamilton: The Revolution, Lin-Manuel Miranda & Jeremy McCarter
- The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships, Suzanne Stabile
- All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
- Begin Again: The Brave Practice of Releasing Hurt, Leeana Tankersley | Really wonderful!
- Surrender to Love, David Benner
- Men Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit
- The Husband’s Secret, Liane Moriarty | I thought, after how much I loved Big Little Lies, I would love all Moriarty’s stuff! This was okay, but not as good.
- The Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri Nouwen
- Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, Curtis Sittenfeld
- Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman, Anne Helen Peterson
- Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty
And, as promised, my seminary reading list! (just the ones I really, really enjoyed)
- Four Portraits, One Jesus, Mark Strauss
- Christian Theology, Millard Erickson
- The Throne, the Lamb, and the Dragon, Paul Spilsbury
- A Little Exercise for Young Theologians, Helmut Thielicke
- Streams of Living Water, Richard Foster
- How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, Gordon Fee & Douglas Stuart
- Becoming Whole and Holy, Jeannine Brown, Carl Dahl & Wyndy Reuschling
- Gilead, Marilynne Robinson | *more like forever reading
- Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life, Cleo Wade | oh so slowly going through this one, and loving it! (PS follow Cleo on Instagram – SHE’S THE BEST)
- The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver | rereading this beauty, didn’t think I could love it more than I did the first time but WOW. It holds up!
& Excited to Start…