5 Favorite Books from My 2017 Reading List

5 Favorite Books from My 2017 Reading List

The time has come to wrap books and place them under the tree. It’s also time to make our reading lists for the upcoming year. I love must-read book recommendations from trusted friends and writers. I consider it a gift when you read something and think to recommend it to me. This reading list is my gift to you. Seventy-five books graced my nightstand or earbuds in 2017. These are my top five year-end book recommendations.

Favorite Books of 2017

Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference, Philip Yancey

Since prayer is not one of my strengths, I read multiple books on prayer in order to prepare to lead a Bible study on the topic. Philip Yancey’s work is a comprehensive look at so many aspects of prayer. He covers the why, the how-to, and shares methods to aid believers on their prayer journey. I took so many notes and shared so many quotes from Yancey. It’s rather thick, but can be handled easily a chapter at a time.

Although we may ask God to intervene directly, it should not surprise us if God responds in a more hidden way in cooperation with a person’s own choice.(Philip Yancey)


The Delusion, Laura Gallier

I “had to” read this book for a freelance assignment, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to review it. The Delusion speaks specifically to the lies and the mental and emotional struggles leading up to a suicide. The book is a literary depiction of the unseen battle between good and evil, between angels and demons. She does an incredible job of weaving the spirit world into reality. Gallier weaves spiritual truths throughout the novel, giving readers ammunition to fight against evil. No need to watch Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why to start a conversation about suicide with your teen. This book will address the true darkness behind suicide, bullying, and fear. Not only will it expose the darkness, it will offer the Light of hope. (Read my full review here.)

There had to be a way to liberate people, and I was betting Ray Anne held the key. As furious as I was with my mother, I’d free her if I could. And Jess, and Lance, and, if I knew how, all of humanity. (Laura Gallier, The Delusion)


TALK: A Practical Approach to Cyberparenting and Open Communication, Mandy Majors

This is the year I got my first teenager. This is the year said teenager got her first smartphone. Our journey to these milestones is paved with stones of instruction held together with the mortar of small moments and ordinary conversation. Mandy Majors walks parents through the maze of parenting tweens and teens in this chaotic technological jungle. TALK is full of parenting principles that focus on communication and relationships. It was my favorite parenting book of the year! (Read a full review here and my interview with Mandy Majors here.)

God finally showed me that facing the issues head-on and discussing them with my kids is the best way to protect their innocence. (Mandy Majors, TALK)


Anything by Fredrik Backman

I started with A Man Called Ove. I cried in a hospital waiting room as I read the final chapters. I followed it with My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You SomethingBritt-Marie was Here and more tears. My name is on the library’s waiting list for his other books. Backman is an endearing storyteller. His quirky characters are delightfully imaginative. His books are just the right mix of humor, sentimentality, and humanity. Through the power of compelling novels, Backman demonstrates the sanctity of life and the importance of embracing the older adults in our lives.

We always think there’s enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like “if.” (Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove)

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown

Over the past few years, I read several books about productivity, being too busy, and finding rest. This book is the hub of those ideas. Greg McKeown breaks down our idea of a balanced life (we’ve got it all wrong) and rebuilds it into something peaceful yet productive. It’s not a how-to book; it’s a mind bender. McKeown teaches us how to think so we can change the way we behave. It should be required reading for humanity, particularly as we head into a new year.

Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential. (Greg McKeown, Essentialism)


Honorable Mentions

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo. I’m late to the Konmari party, but this book changed the way I look at keeping house and keeping things (more like throwing them out!).

Words from the Hill: An Invitation to the Unexpected, Stu Garrard. Ever wonder what the Sermon on the Mount really means? Stu Garrard collects stories and shares life-changing thoughts. (Read my review here.)

The Summer Before the War, Helen Simonson. Post-World War I, class differences, romance, and beautiful language.

Being Brave: A 40-Day Journey to the Life God Dreams for You, Kelly Johnson. More on this one next week. Go ahead and pre-order it!

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, J.D. Vance. This book explores the mentality of working-class whites, their sometimes sad and hopeless cycle. (This one contains some salty language.)

The War I Finally Won, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. The follow-up to The War that Saved My Life is endearing. I learned so much about myself as I read.

What is the best book you read this year? Share in the comments.
How do I read this many books? Audiobooks, my friend! Most of my fiction selection is consumed via the earbuds. Try your local library or grab TWO FREE books with an Audible Membership.


Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown
TALK: A Practical Approach to Cyberparenting and Open Communication, Mandy Majors (read my review here and the TALK-inspired post here)
The Giving Challenge, Stephanie Jones (read my review and interview with the author here)
Never Unfriended: The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships, Lisa-Jo Baker (read my review here and the Never Unfriended-inspired post here)
Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of this Wild and Glorious Life, Jen Hatmaker (This one released in a flurry of controversy. Read my review and a related post.)
Clutter-Free with Kids, Joshua Becker
Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely, Lysa Terkeurst
Words from the Hill: An Invitation to the Unexpected, Stu Garrard (Read my review here.)
Doing Busy Better: Enjoying God’s Gifts of Work and Rest, Glynnis Whitwer (Read my review here and the DBB-inspired post here.)
Love the Home You Have, Melissa Michaels
As Southern as It Gets, H. Jackson Brown (A cute gift book for the Southerner in your life. Read my full review here.)
The Nesting Place, Myquilin Smith
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo
Same Kind of Different as Me, Ron Hall (Read my interview Ron earlier this year here.)
Table Mentoring, Sue Donaldson (More about this book here.)
Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference, Philip Yancey
Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God, Tim Keller
Fervent, Priscilla Shirer (War Room fans, you will love this book!)
Being Brave: A 40-Day Journey to the Life God Dreams for You, Kelly Johnson
More than Just Making It, Erin Odum


Memoirs and Biographies

When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi
C.S. Lewis–A Life, Allister McGrath
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, J.D. Vance
Shaken, Tim Tebow
Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham (a must-read for Gilmore Girls fans!)
Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons, Christie Purifoy
Bossy Pants, Tina Fey (The audio version is a fun listen. *Language alert.*)
Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand (Phenomenal, tough, and inspiring read.)



The Pirate Queen, Patricia Hickman
I Still Dream About You, Fannie Flag
The Honest Truth, Dan Gemeinhart
Ford County, John Grisham
Everyone Brave is Forgiven, Chris Cleave (another WWII-inspired gem)
Sarah’s Key, Tatiana de Rosnay
Waves of Mercy, Lynn Austin (from my favorite historical fiction author)
The Arrangement, Sarah Dunn
Falling Together, Marisa de los Santos (My first from this author–certainly not my last! Honorable mention book, for sure.)
Gray Mountain, John Grisham
The Hypnotist’s Daughter, Brittany Raschdorf (review and author interview)
Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly (I couldn’t decide between this novel and Sarah’s Key. I told you I’m a sucker for WWII fiction!)
Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
The Well and the Mine, Gin Phillips (Set in a town near my own home; another honorable mention.)
In the Unlikely Event, Judy Blume
Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins (The book is suspenseful with much less yuck than the movie.)
The Brotherhood, Jerry B. Jenkins
The Betrayal, Jerry B. Jenkins
The Breakthrough, Jerry B. Jenkins
The Help, Kathryn Stockett (A repeat for me, but this time, I listened with my daughter.)
The Racketeer, John Grisham
The Summer Before the War, Helen Simonson
Rule of Law, Randy Singer (Read my full review here.)
The Crime of Julian Wells, Thomas H. Cook
One Tuesday Morning, Karen Kingsbury
Beyond Tuesday Morning, Karen Kingsbury
A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman
Every Now and Then, Karen Kingsbury
The Choice, Robert Whitlow
Song of the Brokenhearted, Sheila Walsh
Chasing Fireflies, Charles Martin
The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
A Spool of Blue Thread, Anne Tyler
Britt-Marie Was Here, Fredrik Backman
Between Sundays, Karen Kingsbury
The Delusion, Laura Gallier (Amazing YA book! Read my full review here.)
Anything is Possible, Elizabeth Strout
Truly, Madly, Guilty, Liane Moriarty
Brooklyn, Colm Toibin
The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress, Ariel Lawhon
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You Something, Fredrik Backman
The War I Finally Won, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Commonwealth, Ann Patchett



The End of the Affair, Graham Greene (This one made me think deep thoughts.)
The Painted Veil, W. Somerset Maugham
Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee
The Awakening, Kate Chopin


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1 Comment

  1. What a fabulous list! Thank you for sharing this with us.

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