8 Books you don’t want to leave 2015 without

2015 was the year of discovering GoodReads for me. For those of you who don’t know, GoodReads is a social media tool for organizing your book lists. You can track what you want to read and what you have already read, as well as see what your friends are reading!

As a book lover, I love having all my “to reads” in one place, as well as all of my book reviews in one place! After finishing a book, I usually try to give it a rating so that I can remember later what I thought about the book. If I really loved (or hated) the book, I’ll also write a review. One of my favorite features, though, is seeing what other people are reading. Hence my ever-expanding “to-read” list.

My goal last year was to read 30 books, but I actually read 42! I won’t bore you with all of them, but I do want to share my top 8 from this past year.

8. Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community
by Andrew Marin (5 Stars) – I wavered on whether or not to put this one on my list, but it was definitely in my top eight this year. This topic of conversation can be a bit… heated, to say the least, in Christian circles, unfortunately. I’ve been trying to do some research in forming my opinions on this topic, and this book was incredibly illuminating. In light of the damage much of the Christian community has cast onto this group of people, this book did a great job humanizing the topic and encouraging conversation. I’d highly recommend it.

7. Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God
by Bob Kauflin (5 Stars) – This book is geared toward worship pastors and worship leaders, but it was super encouraging for me as a new worship pastor! Not much of it was eye opening material, but it was full of great reminders that easily get lost in the week in, week out routine of scheduling people and songs, working with volunteers, etc. This will probably be a book I come back to time and time again when I need some encouragement or just fresh eyes for how to better lead my ministry!

6. The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears
by Mark Batterson (4 Stars) – This is an awesome book for anyone looking to reinvigorate her prayer life. This book fueled a new fire within me for praying truthfully and radically for things going on in our lives. I will probably put this on my list to read again this year! Jacob also got me the Draw the Circle
40 day prayer challenge companion for this book for Christmas, so I can’t wait to dig into that.

5. The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity
by Julia Cameron (5 Stars) – I did this book with two of my close friends last year. It’s definitely a commitment once you start: it takes 12 weeks if you follow the design and complete the tasks each week. And while it was sometimes hard to keep up with in the midst of my daily life, it was an extremely encouraging and creatively re-fueling process. Last year was a healing year for me – I felt burnt out from blogging and the creative elements it entails, but was still searching for my own creative self outside of blogging. This book was a healing tool for me and I’d recommend it to all of my blogging and creative friends!!

4. What Alice Forgot
by Liane Moriarty (5 Stars) – This book was so fun and entertaining! It’s another quick read for someone who loves to get lost in the world of fiction. It was also all the rage last year, so you’ve probably heard of it;).

3. All God’s People: An Exploration of the Call of Women   by John E. Phelan Jr. (5 Stars) – YES YES YES. This book. I read this one with another friend who wanted to explore this topic and this (very short!) book was extremely illuminating and thought provoking. It did not answer all my questions or feed me a tidy theology on the subject of women in the church, but it helped me to more solidly question the things I had always wondered about, but couldn’t defend well. It helped me to feel uncomfortable with where we are as a Church today, not just due to unsure feelings, but because of Scripture and Jesus’ attitude toward his people.

2. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess
by Jen Hatmaker (5 Stars) – I recommend this book for anyone who has ever questioned any part of how you spend your time, money, resources, etc. Hatmaker graciously shatters your reality as she goes through this experiment of hers, but keeps you laughing the whole way. I love her down to earth attitude and desire to not let the life we’ve been given slide through her fingers. I was so convicted by this book in a way that inspired me to move forward and make changes to my life.

1. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (5 Stars) – This book was so intriguing! It pulled you through all the emotions of a family experiencing the death of one of their own and trying to understand it. Race, parental expectations, social struggles… all of it was so real and heartbreaking, I wanted to stop reading because my heart hurt so much. But I’m glad I didn’t stop. The premise of the story and the way it was written was incredibly well done. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a quick but engaging read!

Happy reading, book worms!

  • Added you on Goodreads! I ordered another one of Jen Hatmaker’s books, For the Love, so I’m pretty excited to dig into it.

    • Yay! That is awesome. You’ll have to let me know how that is – I’ve been wanting to read it!

  • Patty

    I too in a recap of books read included a similar book to your first one, called God and the Gay Christian, it is written by a gay Christian man who looks at Scripture as a way to affirm same sex relationships. While I don’t agree w/ a portion of it, I was glad to read it and help me understand another perspective and in entering this conversation to do so with grace and pastoral care.

    Also read Jen Hatmaker’s new book! SOOO good;)

    • That’s awesome! I’ll have to add that one to my list – it’s good to read things that you don’t necessarily agree with, that way you can form your own opinions more strongly.

  • I definitely need to read all of these! The “Love is an Orientation” sounds amazing. I am working to form opinions on that issue as well. . . I really need to utilize Goodreads more. I joined in high school, never used it. I created a new account last year, got on it once. I rediscovered it yesterday so I can keep a list of books I want to read this year! I never remember and then I go to Mr. K’s and I wander around buying books I don’t *need* to buy (I always need more books.)

    • GoodReads has been AMAZING for me to organize all the books I want to read AND to remember what I thought of books afterwards haha – I have a sadly terrible memory, so GoodReads helps jog it 🙂

  • I loved The Circle Maker!