January 02, 2014

Reads of 2013

Because I'm nothing if not punctual I wanted to get my second annual Reads of the Year up. These are in no particular order and it's not an exhaustive list.

They've made a PBS series out of this but I haven't seen it. I literally read this book in 24 hours. It was impossible to put down. I love reading about heroes of the faith that served without any recognition or honor (or even any desire for it) in their lifetime. They did it because God compelled them to and they stuck with it year after year even in the hardest, darkest, and trying of times. In an age where Christian Celebritydom is at an all-time high, it was refreshing to be reminded of those who have gone before with such faithfulness and humility. The author was actually not a believer at the time of this writing but eventually could not deny the genuine faith of the other women who served with her as midwives in the poverty-stricken area of the London Dockyards in the 1950s. 

Ok, technically I'm just finishing this book but I started it in the final days of 2013 so that counts, right?? I loved the simple and refreshing Gospel-centeredness of this book. Not just another how-to parenting book. I read another one by this author in 2012 and said the same thing about that book. Another good one. 

This was a super interesting read for me, especially because I love to read about different countries and cultures. I loved how transparent and real she was in her writing; I often felt like I could've written her same words myself. 

Ok, I know I'm not going to earn brownie points with avid readers out there who really praised this book but really, I got to the end of this book and felt like I was missing something. It came so highly praised that I expected more. I loved the era it was set in (WWII) and it was very creative but I just never got where the high praise came from. I read it quickly so it's not like it was boring, just not as good as I thought it would be. 

I love everything by Joel Rosenberg so I can only say, Read this book. But read the first one first or you'll be confused. 

I cannot say enough about this book. This woman has lost two of her children when they were babies. I read this the week after we lost Grace and it was so unbelievably timely. God really used this book to help frame my loss and grief from the very beginning. I'd recommend this book to everyone who has experienced loss and also to those who are searching for comforting words and truths to give to those are are suffering. 

This was a quick read. It's a memoir of sorts and although it wasn't super profound, it had funny parts and was an easy read.

I love anything by Jerry Jenkins. He has one of the most engaging reading styles of any fiction author I've read (comparable to Francine Rivers). I loved this book. It totally exploded my imagination for what Paul's life and the New Testament era could've been like. This was a super fast read because I couldn't put it down.

These are a series (the third one is set to come out this Spring), and I was so sad when I finished the last one knowing I'd have to wait for the next one! Again, this was a quick fiction read that really gave an unsettling picture of what life in American could look like if we continue in the current social and family trends. What was especially interesting is not long after I read these I read Newsweek's recent cover article, America: Going Childless, which basically reiterated what these books said. Very interesting.

This is the story of Korean Christian, Esther, who was imprisoned for her faith and the incredible ways she submitted herself to God's plan, which included much loss and suffering. It was very inspiring. 

I read this not long after we lost Grace. It was good to read a book by somebody who was pregnant who had previously experienced a stillbirth. There's a lot you feel that you don't realize you'll feel so it was good to have this book as such a relatable resource even though I wasn't yet pregnant when I read it. 

Ok, again technically I'm still reading this book but I started it in 2013. This book is excellent. Even though I haven't finished it yet it's been so freeing for my soul to realize that I can acknowledge that we had been wounded and unfairly treated in recent years by fellow followers of Christ and it's not ungodly to be able to do so. It's actually the start of healing as long as we purpose to stay on the path of humility and forgiveness. She was on the Focus on the Family radio broadcast the end of October of this year talking about this book and her experiences and I'd highly recommend listening to it. 

This was a reread for me but a needed one as we walked through our journey with Grace. The author has also lost a child and this is her story of their journey. There's a lot of comfort in finding that others have felt what you feel and been where you're at, especially when they've committed to believing and following God through it all. 

Another one by the previous author. This is more devotional style although I read it straight through like a book. A lot of good things that really made me think on the goodness and intentionality of God's work in our lives. 

I love books like this because it reinvigorates my faith to keep on keeping on. Sometimes I get so tired of our seemingly flimsy faith in this country that can falter at the slightest opposition. So I like reading books like this that remind me that we have a great company of fellow believers who are enduring far worse by the grace and strength of God which means so can I! 

This isn't an exhaustive list and there's one in particular that I can't find the title to anywhere! It's a reprinted classic by a woman who also endured the loss of two living children and her faith and belief are so deep and profound I was continually struck as I was reading it with how much I wanted what she had. If I find it, I'll post it in a later blog post. 

I'm challenging myself this year to read more and to expand my typical book and author selections. I already have a list queued up and will be adding to it as the year goes on. I'm always looking for recommendations and new authors so tell me what some of your favorite reads were!

Happy 2014! 


  1. I read Grave Mercy by Robin Lafevers, and then the second book in that trilogy (Dark Triumph) and am now waiting with bated breath for the third book to come out. It's YA fiction, and refreshing and so good. I think you can find lots of Christian metaphor tucked away in the stories, too, even though I'm not sure that was the author's intention. I loved both books, but the second was most profound feeling for me.

    1. Thanks for the recommendations, Beth!