2017 Book List

Today is another rainy, grey day, in a string of a lot of them lately. The fog has been so thick and socked in for days, it reminds me so vividly of the Seattle winter (sending much love to my Seattle dwelling friends!). Still, we are hanging in there, at least enjoying the slightly warmer temperatures than we are accustomed to in January. Ryan is gone for the week (in Florida, whatever, it’s fine, I’m not jealous), and I find myself trying to check some items off my to-do list: a long overdue visit with a friend, the usual shopping and clean up, matching the giant basket of clean socks, and of course, compiling my 2017 book list.

Though a book list is not strictly in the style of my typical blog posts, I share because reading has become an important part of my life as of late. Also, I find reading to be a wonderful way to explore the secular and sacred connections in so many different spheres of life, whether learning from a theologian or social expert, or learning about history and the stories of people’s lives. God is always at work causing beautiful collisions of the sacred and the secular in our world, and reading is one way that I can best remind myself of that truth.

This year’s book list is especially exciting, because, well, it’s the first of its kind! I have never made one of these before, and it just feels so adult and exciting. In years past, making a book list would have been a fool’s errand, because until recently I simply didn’t enjoy the wonderful gift of pleasure reading. I’m thrilled for how that has changed in the past year or so, but I realized recently that my lack of interesting book choices had left me a bit stagnate in reading. When my dear friend Ashley Danyew finished her book list for the year, I was inspired to create my own. She and I have begun reading some titles together and writing to one another in a sort of paper-and-ink book club. (Side Note: You should check her out! Ashley is a wonderfully creative soul who inspires me regularly to dream, create, and bring beauty to the world! Website: www.ashleydanyew.com. Instagram: @ashleydanyew. Etsy: Doxology Press)

So here it is! My book list I hope to tackle this year, along with brief descriptions from Amazon, and a few snippets of my own thoughts.

  1. Wild and Free (Morgan & Connolly) “Wild and Free by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan is a liberty hymn for the modern Christian woman, who is held captive by the belief that she is too much, that she is not enough, and sometimes both.” Wowzah, if a description ever seemed just right for me, it’s this one. I have long struggled with the battle of being too much, and not enough, at the same time.
  2. Let’s All Be Brave (Downs) “Annie knows that courage resides inside each and every one of us, and she’s on a mission to triumph over her own fears while encouraging the reader to do the same.” I have had this book a long time, but since Ashley had it on her list, I decided I would finally get it read!
  3. Love Does (Goff) “When Love Does, life gets interesting. Each day turns into a hilarious, whimsical, meaningful chance that makes faith simple and real. Each chapter is a story that forms a book, a life. And this is one life you don’t want to miss.” Ashley highly recommended this book to me, and well, I trust her judgment.
  4. Chasing Slow (Loechner) “Through a series of steep climbs—her husband’s brain tumor, bankruptcy, family loss, and public criticism—Erin learns just how much strength it takes to surrender it all, and to veer right into grace.” I saw this book mentioned on Instagram and knew instantly I had to have it. It’s a combo of things I love: people’s stories, almost memoir-like, Christian living, and grace.
  5. The Cozy Life (Edberg) “In today’s world, we’re constantly rushing from one thing to the next and are struggling with information overload. We’re more disconnected from ourselves and our loved ones than ever before. Rediscover the joy of the simple things through the Danish concept of Hygge in The Cozy Life. This book will inspire you to slow down and enjoy life’s cozy moments!” Um, I live in Michigan, where we have lots of opportunities to embrace the cozy moments {Read: the WINTER IS ETERNITY}. I’ve already started this one and love the way I feel even when simply reading the book! It’s like a blanket and cup of tea in book form!
  6. Body Kindness (Stritchfield) “Imagine a graph with two lines. One indicates happiness, the other tracks how you feel about your body. If you’re like millions of people, the lines do not intersect. But what if they did? This practical, inspirational, and visually lively book shows you how to create a healthier and happier life by treating yourself with compassion rather than shame.” I love building my knowledge about making peace with food and with my body. I am sure I’ll blog more about this topic when the time is right, but for now, I’ll just say that I’m thankful for how far I’ve come, and excited to see how I continue to grow on this journey.
  7.  Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (Metaxas) “Eric Metaxas takes both strands of Bonhoeffer’s life—the theologian and the spy—and draws them together to tell a searing story of incredible moral courage in the face of monstrous evil. Metaxas presents the fullest accounting of Bonhoeffer’s heart-wrenching decision to leave the safe haven of America to return to Hitler’s Germany, and sheds new light on Bonhoeffer’s involvement in the famous Valkyrie plot and in “Operation 7,” the effort to smuggle Jews into neutral Switzerland.” I have had this book for several years. It is intimidatingly large at 625 pages, but I recently felt the desire to finally make it through this book. I have long appreciated Bonhoeffer for his contributions to Christian thought, especially in regards to the traditional problem of evil/suffering, but I would love to increase my knowledge of his life and work. You can all pray for me on this one!
  8.  My Life in France (Child) “Julia Child singlehandedly created a new approach to American cuisine with her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her television show The French Chef, but as she reveals in this bestselling memoir, she was not always a master chef.” Because Julia Child. And memoir. It doesn’t get much better for me in the realm of books.
    {PS- the rest of the books are memoir-like too because I love this genre, and it’s the genre that taught me how to love reading! And, well, I’m an adult, so I get to pick my own books!}
  9. All is Grace: a Ragamuffin Memoir (Manning) “It has been over twenty years since the publication of The Ragamuffin Gospel, a book many claim as the shattering of God’s grace into their lives. Since that time, Brennan Manning has been dazzingly faithful in preaching and writing variations on that singular theme –   Yes, Abba is very fond of you!” I’m excited to learn more about the life of Manning, whose Ragamuffin Gospel book was a beloved of mine in my young adulthood.
  10. Letters and Papers from Prison (Bonhoeffer) “One of the great classics of prison literature, Letters and Papers from Prison effectively serves as the last will and testament of the Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.” Like I said, I’m on a bit of a Bonhoeffer kick. This one comes from his own hand, so it should round out the story nicely.
  11. Barbara Bush: a Memoir (Bush) “Barbara Bush endures as one of America’s most popular First Ladies. She has won worldwide acclaim for her wit, compassion, and candor as both a presidential wife and mother.” I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic about the Bush family lately, especially since Barbara and George were both recently in the hospital ill. But this book has been on my list for quite some time, partly because politics interest me, and maybe partly because she wears pearls all the time. Being quite young during her tenure as first lady, I’m thrilled to have a chance to learn more through this book..
  12. Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford (Hill & McCubbin) “The assassination of one president, the resignation of another, and the swearing-in of the two who followed those traumatic events. Clint Hill was there, on duty, through Five Presidents.” See my aforementioned interest in politics, combined with my love of all things memoir. I’m excited about this one!

 

And there you have it! I’m chomping at the bit to get started, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to wrangle some kids into bed and grab a blankie and tea (or wine… TBD) for some snuggled in reading. Maybe I’ll be brave and build a fire in the fireplace all by myself. What’s everyone else reading these days?