I really enjoyed my non-fiction picks this year! So many good ones! I think my highlights were Roots & Sky, A Scandalous Freedom, Be Still My Soul, and Dead Wake.
It wasn't until I was putting this list together, however, that I realized I only read one narrative history the whole year (Dead Wake)! I found this surprising, given how much I love that sort of book. (Think Destiny of the Republic and The Immortal Life of Hennrietta Lacks.) So my non-fiction goal for next year will be to read more narrative history. I already have my first title waiting for me: Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World.
But first, what I read last year:
Roots & Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons by Christie Purifoy*****
I just loved this book! A full review here.
Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image by Hannah Anderson****
A thought-provoking book about where we as women find our identity.
Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes the Soul by Hannah Anderson*****
I love that Hannah doesn't give us one more thing "to do." Instead, she reminds us of what we can become in Christ. It really is about identity. Instead of giving us an extra burden of needing to "put on humility" she offers the freedom to let Christ work in us. I wrote a full review over on Goodreads, so check it out!
Christ in the Chaos by Kimm Crandall****
"Jesus is not my example . . . He is my replacement," is one of the many great quotes I highlighted in this book. That said, I couldn't relate with the author constantly beating herself up. And the fact that she struggled in this way simply highlights the need for thinking of ourselves through the lens of the gospel and God's grace, not legalism. This is part of the story she's in process of sharing. I'd just say our starting places are different and I'm coming to this book from a place of already understanding God's grace in my daily life (although not completely or perfectly, of course!) thanks to the awesome teaching I get in my local church.
Show Your Work: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon****
A little book packed with inspiration for the creative person!
Wild in the Hollow by Amber Haines****
A beautifully written spiritual memoir.
Deconstructing Penguins: Parents, Kids, and the Bond of Reading by Lawrence Goldstone***
I read this in preparation for our homeschool kids book club this year, but it is great inspiration for reading with and discussing books with your kids.
The Satisfied Heart: 31 Days of Experiencing God's Love by Ruth Myers***** (devotional reread)
Ruth Myers begins the book by sharing how she's grown in the love of God through her life: in losing her husband to cancer on the mission field, single parenting two small children, and remarriage. Through it all, Ruth grows in understanding and resting in God's love. So by the time she gets to the 31 days of devotionals, you feel like you know she's sharing from a deep, well-tested place of faith in Christ. Ruth is a warm and engaging writer. She doesn't just demonstrate head-knowledge of God's love but experience too. And she wants her readers to experience the satisfaction and joy of God's love in their daily lives.
A Scandalous Freedom: The Radical Nature of the Gospel by Steve Brown*****
I highlighted and dogeared this book up! Like this quote: "The only people who get better are people who know that, if they never get better, God will love them anyway. God will not only love you if you don’t get better; he will teach you that getting better isn’t the issue. His love is the issue."
Refreshing, funny, thought-provoking. For the past several years I've been slowly peeling layers of subtle legalism off and gaining a deeper more faith-filled approach to my spiritual life. My pastor referenced this book several times in his sermon series on Grace and it is been a big help in exploring the topic further.
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson***** (audiobook)
I was enthralled from beginning to end. I loved learning about all the passengers on the ship, Room 40, and all the details of early submarine warfare.
The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally and Sarah Clarkson****
Inspiring book about the culture of home.
Be Still My Soul by Elisabeth Elliot*****
After reading so much contemporary Christian non-fiction Elliot's book felt very fresh. Her writing style is so simple and straight forward yet profound and wise. She is more down-to-earth than I remembered from my teenage days. I highlighted so much to go back and reread and remember.
A Very Present Help by Amy Carmichael*** (devotional reread)
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