My 10 Favorite Books of 2015

favorite books

I read 48 books in 2015 and narrowed the list down to my 10 favorite books. After several years of neglecting one of my favorite hobbies, I set a goal to read at least 2 books a month in 2015. I started the year with a list of books. That list grew longer and longer. Several books from that list are going with me into 2016; there just wasn’t enough time for all of the words.

I discovered audiobooks this year and it was such a game changer for me. It gave me the ability to “read” during housework and commutes. I am hooked! Check your library for Playaway books and digital selections. Amazon’s Audible is a great way to keep audiobooks at your fingertips (try it free for 30-days and get two free books).

When making my reading list, I select books that speak to areas I need to focus on or want to learn more about. Time management and writing were two areas I wanted to address in 2015. I added books recommended by friends and books I had the privilege of launching. I found some gems and thought I would share them with you. You may find one or two to add to your 2016 reading list.

Here they are in no particular order.

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, Kristin Welch

Kristin Welch of the blog We Are That Family, shares personal experience and biblical principles to encourage parents to instill gratitude in their children. I found encouragement to parent according to the Bible and not just go with the cultural flow. This book releases January 26, 2016. There are some pre-order goodies available if you order here.

favorite books

Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home, Amber Haines

I followed Amber Haine’s story through her blog, The Run Amuck, for nearly a decade. I was eager to read her book as her writing style is captivating, encouraging a slow, steady soaking in of her thoughts. Wild in the Hollow did not disappoint. Amber travels through her memoir with grace and metaphor, creating prose with her poetic approach. My full review is available here.

Coming Clean: A Story of Faith, Seth Haines

After reading Wild in the Hollow, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Coming Clean, a journal-memoir by Amber’s husband, Seth. In his first book, Haines gives a brave recounting of the first 90-days of his journey to sobriety. Read my full review of both books here.

favorite books

For the Love, Jen Hatmaker

This book that ushered a new grace into my life. Sprinkled in between some of the funniest writing I have read in ages were these deep, challenging truths that made me feel known and understood. Jen Hatmaker wrote a book when she typed out the words that became For the Love. But she also wrote a community. The 500 launch team members have become a church of sorts. As we read the book together, women began to give and receive grace like I think it was done in the early church–like I imagine it is done in heaven. Read more here and find some great quotes here.

The Help, Kathryn Stockett

I loved the movie but never read the book. I am so glad I did. I fell in love with the characters all over again. The South was a tumultuous place during the Civil Rights movement. A few brave women determine to use words to try to shift the perspective of their small town. There is so much courage bound in the pages of this book! (This was a downright delightful audiobook with Octavia Spencer reprising her role as Minny Jackson.)

Dear Mr. Knightley, Katherine Reay

I read this book in one sitting which is rare for me these days. I got swept up in the story and couldn’t wait to see how it ended. This was my first Katherine Reay book; her other two novels are on my 2016 reading list. She weaves faith throughout the compelling story in an unassuming yet effective way. A must-read for Jane Austen fans.

top 10 books

A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband “Master”, Rachel Held Evans

I did not agree with Evans on all points in this book. I included this book in my top ten because of the way it made me think. There are so many things that I believe “just because.” Just as Evans explored her own deeply held beliefs and assumptions by diving head first into a year-long experiment, this book caused me to hold my own beliefs up to God’s word to determine truth from tradition.

Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, Donald Miller

I am late to the Donald Miller train. After listening to several interviews with Miller, I felt the need to start reading his books. What better place to start than the book that started it all. Just as A Year of Biblical Womanhood caused me to think deeper, Miller’s weaving of story with theology sharpened my mind and encouraged my soul.

The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson

Prayer is not my spiritual gift. It is an area of my walk I need to develop. This book helped me see the power of prayer. It also serves as a sort of prayer “tutor,” offering some instruction and coaching. I have placed this on my reading list for 2016 as a one-time through was not enough. I have hopes for big faith this year; prayer is essential in seeing my hopes realized.

favorite books

The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You, Jessica Turner.

I had the privilege to serve on the book launch team for Jessica Turner’s first book.  The subtitle is “Making Time for You.”  Before I even opened it, I had this idea that I might not gain much from reading it.  I did not see the need–much less have the time–for me to do something for me. I am so glad I was so wrong. Read more about this book here.

Honorable Mention: Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy, by Ali Worthington. I am not quite finished with this one, but I think it would have made the 2015 list if I had finished it. Read the first chapter and grab some preorder goodies here.

First on the list for 2016: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown and Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters, by Rachel Macy Stafford (started in 2015, but never finished).

My reading list is always open for new suggestions. What was your favorite book of 2015?

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  1. Good list! How on earth do you have time to read all these books and create all that you do? Wowzers! Ps, your site is so beautiful. I came here last night to look for inspiration on mine. Good work, sista!

    • Thanks! Many of those books were consumed via ear buds. Our library has a great selection of audiobooks. I do most of my fiction that way. I am more tactile with my non-fiction–pen and highlighter in hand.

  2. Oh wow… love that some of my favorite books of 2015 are on your list.

    While this is a bible study I would say that Seamless by Angie Smith sits at the top spot along with For the Lovery by Jend Hatmaker. There really is just no way either one could top the other so they will have to share the top spot.

    I also enjoyed

    The Road to Becoming by Jenny Simmons

    IF:Changing your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities by Mark Batterson (good after reading the Circle Maker)

    Out of Sorts Somewhere: Making peace with an evolving faith by Sarah Bessy

    Quite a few books on my 2016 list have been sitting here for a while. Hopefully I will get to them soon.

  3. I loved The Circle Maker. It certainly helped to make my prayer life stronger. Great list. Thanks.

  4. Prayer is a weakness of mine. I need to check out The Circle Maker

  5. I’m not sure I’ve read 48 books in my lifetime. I aim to catch up now though. Empty nesting is good for something! Great list!! I want to do one but I feel too guilty about all the partially read books in my stack. 🙂

  6. Thanks for a good list of books. I have looked at a few and placed them on my TBR list and now may just have to move some up and onto the list!
    Glad you are my neighbor at Saturday Share.

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