I’m no book expert, but I did read 100 books in 2017. Many have started calling me the Centibook, and by many I mean no one expect myself to myself while I’m examining my eyebrows in the mirror.
If you have been keeping up with the blogs I wrote every fifteen books or so, then you have a feel for my taste in books. If our tastes are similar, you might pick up a few of these books. If we are complete opposites, you should probably grab at least one book from the list to make you a more well-rounded person.
This is a difficult list for me because I hate making any kind of definite decision and because I read many books that I adored but only gave 4 stars. I would absolutely recommend those books, but for the sake of not having a lengthy (and potentially boring list), I’ve sorted out only books I was so enamored with that I gave them the full 5 stars.
I’m also going to exclude some classics from this list that I rated as 5 stars but WHO WOULDN’T? Most people have read these books anyway. So, here are my honorable mentions for Watership Down, Anne of Green Gables, The Little Princess, Heidi, and Little Women. These are all 5 star books, no doubt.
I know this book was written as daily tip/daily devotion/chapter a day sort of read, but I read it all in about a day and a half. I love to learn and wish I had the actual hard copy to scan through when I need grammar help and reminders. I forget everything and often need help with my writing. This book will help me for many years to come, I’m sure!
It’s not a fast-paced, on-the-edge-of-your-seat style suspense book. It’s more like slowly untangling a nasty knot. I liked it much more than I imagined I would. I’m always a little wary of popular reads and something that might fall into a chick-lit category, but I’m happy I gave this one a chance. This book was long but finished within 2 days.
I had to make sure to read 100 pages a night in order to stay on track with my reading challenge. This book should count as four toward my total. It took me eight days to finish but I was completely enthralled in the story. I was NOT expecting to love it but I did. The characters are so true and real. The moment I think I’ve found a character to hate, Tolstoy brings out their other qualities. I find a character to love and Tolstoy shows me their ugliness. I never lost interest or forced myself through. You should take the time and read this book. And this translation! Who knew reading 19th century Russian literature could be so captivating?
I understand that for a woman who attends a Southern Baptist church to be reading an “After the Fall Rob Bell” book might seem scandalous. But I really love Rob Bell and his writing. He is certainly not for everyone with his writing style and his sometimes questionable yet thought-provoking ideas. I enjoyed “What We Talk About When We Talk Abut God.” There are parts that ruffle me because of what I’ve grown up learning but I truly love to hear other people’s perspectives and thoughts on God and scripture. How do we reconcile science and faith? Is God an ancient idea that is holding us back? Is God for us? Where is God? What about the sometimes scary, Old Testament God? Those are a few examples of topics he addresses in the book. Rob, to me, speaks clearly and easily. A two day read that will stick with me for much longer.
After a few recommendations to read this book, I went ahead and picked it up from the library. I wasn’t looking forward to reading this one. The blurb on the back almost killed it for me. A blind girl? Nazis? An orphan boy? Sounds like a ploy to be emotional and cheesy. Then I read that Anthony Doerr took ten years to write the book and I decided it deserved some credit for hard research at least. I was invested from page one. I was never bored, I was always anticipating the next chapter, and I was not disappointed in the end. Read it!
I first discovered Trevor Noah on an episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” I liked him and his story immediately. Trevor was kind, smart, and his story was endearing (and I could tell Jerry felt the same). I knew Noah had taken over for Jon Stewart, but we don’t have cable so we don’t watch much traditional T.V. I simply knew I liked him because of one short, internet segment. I wasn’t wrong. This book addresses racial biases, racial privileges, family, poverty, crime, police, domestic abuse, South African apartheid, and normal coming of age stories. Wit, humor, and charm carry the book through heavy topics and makes you wish you could be friends with Trevor Noah.
I am madly in love with Jen Hatmaker so this review is biased. Of Mess and Moxie was a fun, easy, encouraging, and inspiring read that I read in one day. Honesty and humor are the key ingredients in a Jen Hatmaker book and those are my two favorite qualities in any person’s writing. All the women in your life will benefit from this book, no matter their season in life. The laughing and crying you do while reading will be good for your health.
My friend Corie was about to make me eat this book if I didn’t hurry up and read it. She was right. I loved it. I have a big heart for grumpy people (not mean, not rude, just grumpy). It’s heartwarming and I enjoyed the way the author spun all the characters and their stories so charmingly. I would add a trigger warning for anyone who isn’t up for reading a book that discusses suicide quite often.
I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve seen this book everywhere, knew there was a movie, and didn’t have a clue what the story was about or that it was true. When I read the foreword, I was instantly drawn into the events, the science, the family, the sadness, and the struggle. The book is based on thousands of interviews with family members, doctors, researchers, lawyers, ethicists, and journalists. The author also uses photos, documents, scientific research, historical research, and diaries. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves science and documentary style non-fiction.
A Walk in the Woods is the second Bill Bryson book I’ve read this year. Wait. THIRD! Oops. No matter, I loved it. It was my favorite by far. I loved listening to Mr. Bryson recount stories of hiking the Appalachian Trail with his friend. He tossed in hundreds of facts and history for good measure, and the account of his trip was funny and heartfelt. Funny AND educational? Perfect. This definitely won’t be the last book of his that I read.
Ready Player One is set in 2044 and things on Earth are rough. Which is why most people use a virtual reality program called OASIS to escape. The story involves a contest to find a hidden “Easter Egg” within the OASIS to win the power to control everything in the virtual reality. It’s suspenseful, stressful, and fun. If you are a 1980’s fanatic, you’ll love the four jillion ’80’s references (particularly video games). I do regret reading Otherworld before Ready Player One. They are so similar that I’m sure I will confuse the two when I try to remember them in the future.
A charming, enchanting, beautiful fairytale. I’m considering stealing this copy from the library. The story is adorable and mysterious, just like a good fairytale. The illustrations are lovely and I’d like to hang them on my wall. I can’t wait to read this one with my kids when they are older. Expect a fairytale and you will love Snow & Rose.
Tom Hamblin tells story after story after story of taking Bibles to the Middle East. He writes warmly, enthusiastically, and wisely. I’m so happy I took the time to read this book. It is encouraging and completely unbelievable. If you are a believer in Jesus, you will be amazed.
I am so happy I purchased this book instead of borrowing. I loved it and I look forward to referring back to it in the years to come. I feel challenged to see God’s holiness in the everyday, the boring and mundane, the regular and the tedious. Liturgy of the Ordinary is a beautiful read.
The title and subtitle made me want to skip this book. It sounded cliche and sort of made me feel gaggy. Self-help rhetoric? No thanks. I was wrong. Every person in America should read this book. I loved it so much. I swim in a sea of everything Brene writes about. It was a perfect fit for me. I borrowed it from the library, but this is a book that needs to be in my home, tattered and highlighted.
I could not get through the first part of the book. I struggled and struggled but I kept pushing because my husband had recommended Beartown and he gave it a thumbs up. It’s just that I really don’t like hockey. And the book went on and on at the beginning about hockey. I mean, ON and ON. I didn’t realize all the clever character development I was accidentally absorbing while suffering through. Suddenly, the book changes and it is heartbreaking and way too real. I appreciate Fredrick Backman much more after Beartown.
I would like to include trigger warnings that will be spoilers:
Rape is the overall storyline and it could be a very difficult read for anyone who has been raped or had a loved one who has been raped. I had no idea this was the plot and would have appreciated a heads up.
LOVED. Loved. Loved. Perhaps a little mystical versus my beliefs, but I believe truth is truth. I am inspired to dig deep into my creativity with reckless abandon. I’ll need to own this book and re-read from time to time.
I took a quiz (don’t roll your eyes at me!) and it told me that I would love this book. I also had a friend recommend it so I took it as a sign that I needed to read this book ASAP. I was initially discouraged to see it’s length (I’m trying to read 100 books here, people) but I was enveloped at chapter one. I loved reading this story of a family leaving Georgia for Africa. It was beautiful, heartbreaking, and enraging.
Everyone should read this book. I did NOT see my love for this book coming when it ended up on my bookshelf. I thought it would be purely informational, standard help the poor non-fiction. It is heartbreaking and the author tells meaningful stories of broken people who are working toward home. I would recommend this book to anyone who is human.
I guess I should consider myself a fan of the true crime genre. I wanted to read “American Fire” much faster than I was able (please note 4 children and summertime) because I found it so compelling. The book didn’t have the best reviews, but I loved the way Monica Hesse wove facts, storytelling, and nuance together to create a page turner about love, sadness, and sixty-seven fires.
I was feeling guilty about reading yet another fiction book (I may as well watch television!) but “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” is a winner and the perfect summer read. When I finished the book, I noticed the author’s blurb said she had written for Arrested Development, Mad About You, and Ellen. No wonder I enjoyed her work.
I LOVED this book.
It hits all the points of things that I like in a book.
True life events, wonderful storytelling, emotions running the gamut, and the kind of God stories that sometimes I think we forget about in America.
The book is written by a woman who moves to the Philippines to translate the Bible for the Balangao people. The stories she tells range from adorable to harrowing.
I took a while to warm up to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Because I live for book recommendations and rarely do any research (I don’t even read blurbs beforehand) I had no idea this book is composed entirely of letters between characters. I had to get accustomed to the style and learn to keep up with the characters by their letters. I was also unaware TGLPPPS is about World War II. The approach and storytelling were unique enough to not feel stale or repetitive and I found myself loving the book. Also, surprisingly humorous.
Technically a children’s book but it has so much depth and great storytelling that anyone can read it and feel intrigued and encouraged. I would have loved this book in grade school and I can’t wait to read it with my kids in a few more years (however, by then it may be required reading in schools. I believe it might happen!). A story about a boy named August (like my son) who has beyond severe facial deformities and the people who love him. I hope to be like August’s fictional family in my real life family.
Jeannette Walls’ account of her childhood is told beautifully. It was full of childlike magic and naïveté in the beginning and I was actually a little charmed as she told her life story. As her understanding grew and her experiences worsened, everything turned sour and horrifying. It’s devastating to read.
I can’t imagine anything that could have made me love this book more. I love J.D.’s storytelling, I love the honesty, I love the heartbreaking memories he shares about growing up in a poor (sometimes abusive) family. It was real and inspiring. I grew up in a small Missouri town and these stories and people are familiar. He’s truthful and beautifully optimistic.
Completely raw. Glennon hides NOTHING in her book and that is the most appealing writing style I can think of. I found myself somewhere on every single page. I didn’t imagine I would agree with all of her thoughts/beliefs/philosophies, and I didn’t, but that did not affect the impact of her honest words.
Today begins Day One of 2018’s Reading Challenege. I’ve dropped my total to 50 books so I can have a life. Who is joining me?