When I was a kid, I wrote down every book I read in a little spiral notebook. I included the title and author, the number of pages and a quick summary. It was Goodreads before the internet!
I love being able to look back at the books, stories and words of wisdom that have been meaningful to me in the past, provided encouragement or entertainment, or even remember the books that I disliked or that just flopped.
2019 was a different book year for me, as I couldn’t get as many books completed as I have at other times. I also am a part of two book clubs, so a lot of my reading time was devoted to those! A few books stood out as I reviewed my list and I want to share those with you, in no particular order.
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Miller
I knew absolutely nothing about US President James Garfield, who served only a few months in office before being shot and dying weeks later. The book delved into his care (or how the care he received actually led to his death), the role that Alexander Graham Bell played, and the life of the man who shot the president. It was absolutely fascinating!
What Falls From the Sky: How I Disconnected From the Internet and Reconnected with the God Who Made the Clouds by Esther Emory
In a beautiful, poetic and honest way, Emory shares about her year without the Internet. This book made me think seriously about how I use technology and how to make sure I’m intentionally disconnecting. I’m not sure I could make it 365 days with absolutely no internet though!
I sort of feel like I grew up with the characters in Robin Jones Gunn’s books, as each series follows the same set of people through their teenage years into adulthood. This book in her latest series, Haven Makers, revolved around a set of 5 women who forge a really beautiful friendship as they deal with little ones, financial troubles and healing from past hurt. I found myself longing for the kind of friendships I was reading about in this book! This is also the only fiction book that made it on my top five list.
Oddly, a book about singleness also made my top 5 list last year, and I normally avoid books about singleness. Ha! I absolutely loved the honesty of this book, and the way the author called out the church about the way we connect with and minister to singles. He suggested ways we can communicate better and grow as a community with people in many different life seasons.
I generally love any book by Annie F. Downs that I read, but this one scared me before I sat down to read it. She talked specifically about God’s kindness, a concept I’ve wrestled with in my own life as I’ve dealt with a lot of disappointments and broken dreams this year. Her vulnerability and raw hope pointed me back to the truth of our gracious God, and for that I’m so grateful.
What I’m currently reading:
I scored two excellent books from my local library and am wrapping up the year on a good note! I’m almost finished with Synapse by Steven James, a Christian science fiction thriller (did you know all those categories could be in one book?). It’s been fascinating and a really great fiction book to end the year.
I’m slowly working my way through the book Accidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America by Jared Cohen, describing the eight vice-presidents who succeeded a president who was assassinated or died in office. It’s a big, fat book chock full of interesting history and I’m loving it!
I would love to hear what you are looking forward to reading in 2020! Did you have a favorite that surprised you this year? Was there a book that you started and just didn’t love or that completely flopped? It’s okay to share those too!
Also a quick note: I know there are two books referenced here that relate to US history, and not all of you live in or are from America. Have you read any good books lately that relate to your country’s history- either where you come from or where you are living now?
Starting in January we’ll be reading the book Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron. It is a work of fiction but also relates to the life of the author. It deals with burnout, pilgrimage and the life of Saint Francis of Asissi. There won’t be a book club post next week (December 31) so get a jump start on the book and join us for the conversation in January!
Here’s the schedule for the book:
January 7: Prologue, Chapters 1-3
January 14: Chapters 4-6
January 21: Chapters 7-9
January 28: Chapters 10-12, Epilogue