In the last couple of years I had only just gotten back into the habit of reading. And since I started, I can’t stop, won’t stop. I just can’t get enough of a good book. Between listening to books on Audible and reading in all my downtime, I’ve rekindled a long lost love with books. I feel like there’s so many good ones out there that I could never have enough time to read them all. But, I have certainly made it my mission to try. I was really impressed with myself in 2018 because I’d read 20 books which at the time was the most I’d read in a single calendar year. This year I’ve finished just over 30 books and I am still working on a few!
Have you ever used the GoodReads app before? If not, I highly recommend it. I love the app because I get to see what my friends are reading and what they thought of the books they’ve read. These sort of reviews usually make me want to read a book even more, or maybe save that one for later. I don’t know what it is about a review from someone you know, but it definitely holds much more weight for me than a review from a random stranger on the internet.
With that being said, I wanted to give you a few short reviews of my favorite books that I read this year. Below you will see my top 10 favorite books that I read in 2019 and why they should end up under your Christmas tree this year!
This post does contain affiliate links to each product.
1. Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff
Wow. So I actually read Bob Goff’s books backwards. I started with his second novel, Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People, and loved that one so much I had to go back and read the first one. I finished both of these books within a week. I am a fairly fast reader, but even this was quick for me, especially since these are two I did not listen to on Audible but actually read. The book basically describes how love is an action and one we are all called to do. When we live through the lense of acting out the love of God to the world around us, we are transformed from the inside out and the world around us will literally transform before our eyes. His sense of humor and wit made the book even more entertaining and felt like I was just hearing the incredible stories of a pretty amazing guy.
2. Everybody Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People by Bob Goff
So yeah, I just mentioned that I read these books backwards so I started this one and then went back and read Bob Goff’s first book, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World. Absolutely amazing. In a world where we are surrounded by difficult people in our homes, work-place, churches, everywhere, it can be hard to be intentional about the art of loving. But the bottom line of the book can actually be summed up by the title. God’s love is deserved to be shared with everybody, always.
3. Loveology: God, Love, Marriage, Sex, and the Never-ending Story of Male and Female by John Mark Comer
One of the ways I keep my marriage focused on what is right is by reading tons and tons of books about it. I think the main reason for this is so that I can remind myself that no two marriages are the same, no one’s marriage is perfect, and to keep our marriage healthy and thriving we need to keep Jesus at the center of it. So most of the marriage books I read tend to be Christian. I really enjoyed John Mark Comer’s take on marriage and the art of love. He dug right in and gave some amazing viewpoints and advice on how to keep a marriage alive and thriving and why it is worth it to keep fighting for that. All marriages will experience highs and lows, but it’s about working to get through the lows that make the highs even more special.
4. The Unreasonable Jesus: Becoming the Person He Made You to Be by Thomas Christianson
I LOVED this book. Partly because I know the author personally so it was really cool to read through his voice. Like I could actually hear his voice in my head as I flipped through the pages, and no I didn’t listen to this one on Audible. I loved how Thomas Christianson dug right in to how unreasonable Jesus is, because come on, he can seem pretty unreasonable most of the time, and why that matters. Jesus is unreasonable because in order to live out what he asks of us, we have to rely on him and not ourselves. I think that was pretty intentional of him if you ask me. But anyway, this book is an incredible read, and TC’s humor in both the book and the footnotes will have you cracking up during each chapter!
5. A Love Letter Life: Pursue Creatively, Date Intentionally, Love Faithfully by Jeremy & Audrey Roloff
Evan and I actually read this one together. I have been a big fan of the Roloff’s for a couple years now. I love what they are doing over on www.beating50percent.com and their marriage journal has done wonders for my marriage. When I learned they were writing a book I knew I needed to read it. Once we had the book, Evan and I decided that it would be a good one to read through together and boy was that a good decision. Reading through this book sparked intimacy and connection and a number of conversations that have impacted our relationship. Though we read this together as a married couple it is honestly good for any stage of a relationship, whether that be single, dating, engaged, or married. They provide so much truth and wisdom on pursuing an intentional love that it is a must read for anyone in or hoping to one day have a relationship worth fighting for.
6. Own Your Everyday: Overcome the Pressure to Prove and Show Up for What You’re Made to Do by Jordan Lee Dooley
As a female, multi-passionate, creative I’ve definitely resonated with what Jordan Lee Dooley is putting out there on social media, in her podcast, and online. She released this book back in May and I finished it in 2 days! I couldn’t put it down. In this book she inspires women to show up and own their everyday by finding their purpose and living out what they were made to do. She talks about how to overcome the comparison trap and to live out the journey that we each are set out to do. Loved this book! A must read for any of my female, entrepreneurial, creative thinkers out there!
7. The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron
One of the major themes I’ve noticed in the majority of the books I’ve read this year is love and relationship. The Road Back to You was another step for me in learning how to love others well by understanding my own needs, wants, and desires, and learning to understand those of the people around me. If you’re a Christian or a creative you’ve probably heard of the enneagram by now, but if you haven’t, it’s a personality typing tool that is useful for understanding yourself and the people around you. I’ve found it helpful both in the workplace, my marriage, and other intimate relationships I have with friends and family. I love how Ian Morgan Cron lays everything out for each type in each chapter. The best way to judge what type you are is by reading about each one and whichever stings the most, that one is probably you. I’m a type 2, what type are you?
8. The Ministry of Ordinary Places: Waking Up to God’s Goodness Around You by Shannan Martin
This book was actually recommended by a good friend of mine and I absolutely loved it. As some of you may already know, my husband works for a church so he is in the nitty gritty of ministry work. At times I can feel so removed from ministry, though as a couple we are knee deep all the time. Reading through this book, I realized that my mission field is the one I’m in on a day to day basis. It might not look like my husband’s does and it might look “ordinary”, but God’s goodness is in the ordinary everyday mission work of hospitality, motherhood, marriage, and more. Reading this book you’ll realize that your mission field is the one you’re in every day. Shannon’s voice is such a soft and reassuring one and feels like you’re just chatting with a girlfriend over coffee or tea. Highly recommend.
9. Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer by Priscilla Shirer
Okay, Okay, I love Priscilla Shirer. If you haven’t seen War Room yet, you need to. She’s amazing in it and the story of the movie will move you to start your own prayer closet. I don’t know about you but a lot of times my prayers tend to be generic, simplified, and to the point. This isn’t always a bad thing. But reading through this book and by beginning to write out my specific and strategic prayers, I noticed some immense change happen before my eyes. Not only in the world around me, but in myself as a woman of God. This book is a must read and is so very necessary to helping to grow yourself in the way you pray. It’s transformed my relationship with God and those around me, and I am sure it will do the same for you!
10. Adamant: Finding Truth in a Universe of Opinions by Lisa Bevere
And last but certainly not least, this book was such a great one for me. I listened to this one on Audible in Lisa’s voice and there is something about listening to a book read by the author. It’s like they’re talking directly to you (sorta). I stumbled across this book because I loved the byline: Finding Truth in a Universe of Opinions. In the social media age we currently live in opinions are everywhere. You don’t even have to search for them, they are voluntarily there without your even needing to ask. I love how Lisa says in her description of the book “both love and truth are timeless, transcending our current trends and opinions”. Culture is ever changing which means opinions are ever changing, but God’s word stands true. In her book Adamant, Lisa Bevere reminds us to keep pointing back to His word and His truth.
Okay, now I need to start working on my 2020 reading list. What are some of your favorite books you read this year? Share with me in the comments below!