There are few things that make me happier than an afternoon spent curled up with a blanket and a good book. Honestly, there are moments when I wish I could press pause on life while spending hours reading.
I had a goal to read 36 books in 2015. I wish that I could tell you that I accomplished it. But sadly, I only finished 30 books. However, there were a few books I started that I just couldn’t get into. I heard someone say once that if you aren’t feeling a book, you need to give yourself permission to put it down. That is hard for me. I want to fall in love with each book that I read, and finish it. Closing a book after reading the last page is one of the best feelings in the world. So, this year, there were 10 books that I read halfway and could not justify finishing…So I gave myself permission to stop reading them. And I am so glad, because the books that I finished were so worth it.
At the end of the post, I will put the entire list of all 30 books I read this year because I’ve had a lot of people ask. But, I’ve decided to spotlight a few books that I am OBSESSED with. If you are looking for something to read, here are my top picks.
1.) For the Love – Jen Hatmaker
Jen Hatmaker. She writes like she is your friend. You know, the one who is always honest and unfiltered and says exactly what she’s thinking. While reading this one upstairs, I was laughing so hard that Kyle actually came up to make sure everything was okay. It is the perfect mix of lighthearted and deep. She is vulnerable, honest, and incredibly relatable.
2.) Nobody’s Cuter Than You – Melanie Shankle
Friendship. That is entirely what this book is about. Melanie walks us through the friendships that she has had over the years, and it made me realize that as a woman, I cannot do life alone. I need deep friendships, and it really was a sweet read.
3.) Daring Greatly – Brene Brown
THIS BOOK. THIIIISSSSS BOOK! Everyone. Read this. Now. Brene Brown is a researcher and this book is all about vulnerability, shame, & connection in relationships. It was a game changer for me. I think it should be on everyone’s must-read list. Brene has a TED Talk that had gone viral a few years ago, but I honestly think that her writing is sooooo valuable. I loved the richness in this book and the ability to spend hours crying and learning from her. This woman is WISE.
4.) From Tablet to Table – Leonard Sweet
I read this book in a day. It was easy to read and went right along with my heartbeat. Sweet talks about the importance of the table. In regards to families, friendships, and forming community. I was incredibly encouraged to make time for meals with friends, knowing that the table is a place where relationships are strengthened.
5.) The Best Yes – Lysa Terekurust
Probably the book that I have recommended to people the most, in my entire life. This book deals with people pleasing, over committing, following your passions, and setting boundaries around your life. This was one of the first books I read in 2015, and was a great way to start my year.
6.) Wildflowers – Drew Barrymore
After reading this book, I am so in love with Drew Barrymore. The stories she tells are both hilarious and heartbreaking. This is just a book of essays about her life. Not in any specific order. I read this in 2 days, because I just felt like I was talking to an old friend, listening to her tell me about her crazy life. LOVE.
7.) Still Writing – Dani Shapiro
This is a book about writing, from a best selling author. Incredibly full of practical tips in dealing with writers block and normal writing problems. However, I found it to be useful in all areas of my business. Great read.
8.) If You Find This Letter – Hannah Brencher
A memoir that was so easy to read and inspiring. Hannah moved to New York City and started writing love letters to strangers. Leaving them in coat pockets at department stores, in library books, etc. She started a website www.ifyoufindthisletter.com and people started responding when they had found a letter. Now, it is a national movement. People are leaving love letters for strangers all across the country. You can even nominate a friend or family member who needs some love letters or encouragement, and they can receive letters from people cheering them on and speaking love and life into their days. Inspiring, beautiful, well worth the read.
9.) Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
Creativity, Permission, Discouragement. Gilbert deals with all of it in Big Magic. It is, in my opinion, mandatory for every creative to read. It challenged and encouraged me. I finished my year with this one, and there are so many lines that have stuck with me. I will for sure be re-reading.
If you have a book you absolutely love, I would LOVE to hear your recommendations! I have a goal of 30 more books in 2016, and I need to fill up my Amazon Cart!
The Complete List of 30 books in 2015:
Cold Tangerines – Shauna Niequist
The Best Yes – Lysa Terkeurst
Speak – Nish Weiseth
The Mingling of Souls – Matt Chandler
Sacred Marriage – Gary Thomas
Scary Close – Donald Miller
When Sorry Isn’t Enough – Chapman & Thomas
Crazy Busy – Kevin DeYoung
From Tablet to Table – Leonard Sweet
The Grave Robber – Mark Batterson
The Artisan Soul – Erwin McManus
Daring Greatly – Brene Brown
Searching for Sunday – Rachel Held Evans
Still Writing – Dani Sapiro
Crash the Chatterbox – Steven Furtick
It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be – Paul Arden
If You Find This Letter – Hannah Bencher
The Fringe Hours – Jessica Turner
My Name is Hope – John Mark Comer
Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter
Mosquitoland – David Arnold
#GIRLBOSS – Sophia Amoruso
For the Love – Jen Hatmaker
The Rest of God – Mark Buchanan
Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? – Mindy Kaling
The Gifts of Imperfection – Brene Brown
Nobody’s Cuter Than You – Melanie Shankle
Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling
Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
Wildflower – Drew Barrymore