Books, Goals & Planning

Favorite Books of 2017

I love reading all types of books, but don’t always make time for it. I also enjoy audiobooks, and used to listen to several a year when I was commuting daily to my job. Since resigning last spring, my audiobook quota is down, but my reading of actual books is up! Maybe you will find a new favorite on this brief list. I have not separated them into genres or even fiction/non-fiction, so I hope this list of 8 doesn’t confuse you! 

  1. All In, by Mark Batterson. The first book I read by Mark Batterson was The Circle Maker. It revolutionized the way I think about prayer. It challenged me to pray big prayers because I have a big God. This book, All In, was his follow-up book; its focus was not on prayer, but on the relationship a believer has with God. That relationship should be characterized by completed submission or – as the title states – going ‘all in’ with Jesus. He is the All in All and deserves my all and my all in. It is a challenging book – pick it up.
  2. We Were the Lucky Ones, by Georgia Hunter. Technically, I didn’t read it; I listened to. But it is hands-down one of my favorite books of the year. The true story of one family of Polish Jews who all survived the Holocaust through various means was totally engrossing. Read it – or listen to it – if you have a chance.
  3. Dragonfly in Amber, by Diana Gabaldon. Another audiobook, this looonnnggg story follows the events in the life of a time-traveling nurse, who mysteriously leaves 20th century, post-war Scotland, and arrives in the 18th century. Entertaining, part love story, part action, part history lesson, it is enthralling. But be sure to read Outlander, the first in the series, before delving into this one. Although it is long, it was worth every minute. I listened to Outlander in 2016, Dragonfly in Amber in 2017, and have book 3, Voyager, in my sights for 2018
  4. Set Apart: Discovering Personal Victory Through Holiness, by Bruce Wilkinson. The second non-fiction book on my list, this book challenges the believer to put aside the mundane existence of modern Christianity, and embrace the challenge and excitement of living for and being empowered by a holy God. Holiness is our high calling, and we too often fall far short; this book is a call to greater heights.
  5. AD 30 and AD 33, by Ted Dekker. I’m treating this two-book series as one because it feels that way. Although, if it was one book, it would be as long as the Outlander series. Dekker has created a fictional heroine from the deserts east of the Jordan, through which we can meet Jesus again for the first time. To hear His words and see His miracles, to feel His love and compassion, to experience the agony of the crucifixion and the glory of the resurrection as if it was a wholly new story – that is what this quick-reading series does. Meet Jesus through the eyes of a lowly, female outcast – little more than a slave – and be enthralled with Him anew! Well worth your time.
  6. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas. Essential reading for the white American who hears about police shootings and just doesn’t quite get it. This book will open your eyes – and your heart – to a world you cannot know simply because you are white. While the language in the book can be rough, it is real. The book should be required reading in all high schools in America – and maybe the next generation will have an honest dialogue and real solutions for our race crisis.
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. A classic I had never read, it seemed like a good time for it after reading The Hate U Give. Although written in another time, and about another time, the discussion of race is timeless. If you haven’t read it – or haven’t read it in a while – I’d encourage you to pick it up.
  8. 52 Weeks With Jesus, by James Merritt. A devotional, I finished it in less than 52 weeks, but still enjoyed the new insights into Jesus’ life, teachings, miracles, death, and resurrection. Always worthwhile to learn more about Jesus.

I read several more books than this, but none of them had an impact on me that these ones did. I’ve already started my first audiobook of 2018 – Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng. And have my first paper book underway as well – 30 Days to Becoming a Woman of Prayer, by Stormie Omartian.

My Reading Goals in 2018

My goal for the year is fewer self-improvement books, more spiritual books (especially on prayer), fewer beach reads (I enjoy James Patterson, but really need to stretch my brain more!), and more novels with intricately drawn characters. My first two books of the year are getting me off on the right foot.

My goals include one novel per month, one Christian living book per month, one prayer book per month, and one whatever-strikes-my-fancy per month. That’s 48 books; I read 40 books in 2017, so I think it’s doable. I’m open to suggestions. Especially for novels and classics that I’ve never read. Feel free to share your reading goals as well.

Leave a Reply