I can easily get sucked into reading a lot of forgettable fiction. I consume it in a few relaxing hours and forget almost everything about the book within days. One easy fiction book fades into another. I have to be intentional about my book choices to make sure that my reading is not only enjoyable but also feeds my mind – even if it’s easy fiction. How do you choose books intentionally? I was intentional in a few specific ways this year.
First of all, we started homeschooling. Pre-reading books that will be assigned to my kids to read will take up a bigger and bigger portion of my reading as they advance through school. The good news, though, is that they are going to read some great books.
Second, I realized that most of the authors I read are white and speak English as a first language. About this time last year, I decided to seek out diverse voices to read in 2019, and the results were so rich. I am going to continue this! Can you recommend any books in this category?
Finally, I like devotional reading, but I don’t like daily devotionals. With homeschooling, I started a habit of reading a Christian biography or “Christian living” book for a few minutes each morning between my prayer/Bible study and breakfast. This was such a good idea.
With those intentions set, I ended up reading over 70 books this year (granted: 20 or so were for the 2nd and 4th grader). It’s possibly my busiest year in books. And I loved it! It wasn’t easy to choose my top 5 books. Here they are, in no particular order:
The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
This was a re-read that I first read in junior high. Though there were many parts I remembered, it affected me differently reading it as an adult. It is an inspiring story of innovation and perseverance.
I would also like to reread Joni: An Unforgettable Story by Joni Eareckson Tada.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
I came across this title in my search for African authors. Adeyemi is Nigerian-American. Children of Blood and Bone is a fantasy novel set in an Africa with magic. The story is captivating, exciting, and I couldn’t put it down! The second book in the series (Children of Virtue and Vengeance) was released last week, and it is at the top of my reading list for 2020.
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
File this one under “books I’ve been meaning to read for years but finally picked up.” I don’t know why I thought it would be dry – it’s not! There is suspense, as well as spiritual edification. This story inspires the reader to live faithfully because God will always be faithful.
Another book I’ll soon be taking off my “too long on the to-read” list, is Unbowed by Wanagari Maathai.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
This was read in book club a few years ago, but I skipped that month. From the beginning, it was both painfully and hilariously relatable, as an American living in Africa. Each woman in the family (who narrate chapters in turns) has her own voice, her own perspective. I got attached to all of them.
Next year, I plan on reading Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor
This ought to be required reading for cross-cultural work or, actually, anyone living by faith. It was the very best devotional book I read this year. I was encouraged to trust God with our finances and work – which I thought I was doing already, but I have room to grow.
My first devotional book of 2020 will probably be Knowing God by J.I. Packer.
Pagoo by Holling Clancy Holling
As an Honorable Mention, this was my favorite book to pre-read for homeschool. There were a lot of contenders! I was surprised that a scientifically accurate book about a hermit crab could be so exciting.
Join me in the comments! What are the best books you read this year? What are your plans for next year?
Next week: We are reading another short story, At Christmas Time by Anton Chekhov