My Top Reads in 2018.

screen shot 2019-01-06 at 3.24.36 pmLast year must have been the year of nonfiction (as many of my choices were for 2018.) I always try to read a variety of material but there are just so many wonderful nonfiction books (and maybe I was just in the headspace to self-improve last year? Who knows.) All in all, I finished the year with seventy-nine total books. My goal was eighty; however, I ended up adding the children’s book ‘Little Blue Truck’ as my eightieth due to the amount of time I spent reading it to Martin throughout the year.  In no particular order, here are ten of my favorite books from 2018.

1.) Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy | I am so on board with the free-range parenting movement. I wouldn’t consider myself as overly permissive but I really do believe that it’s due to media sensationalism that we’ve become so fearful as a society. Statistically speaking, we are living in a safer America than in the romanticized 50s. Skenazy isn’t writing a “to-do” list of what parents should do, rather she provides a starting point for discussion of real issues, real risks, and real options. Any parent would benefit from reading this one.

2.) The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris | Based on a true story – one I’m so glad was told. Incredible, memorable. My heart opened up to the main character, Lale from the first pages. As another reviewer summed up perfectly: “I found comfort in knowing that, even in the most desperate and tragically unfathomable of circumstances, hope (and love) are possible and can be found.”

3.) Goliath Must Fall by Louie Giglio | This book spoke to me at a time when I needed to hear from God. I highly recommend to anyone going through a time of trial, addiction or just daily being beaten down by their own ‘Goliath’. I’ve seen Giglio speak a handful of times and his writing style is very similar to how he approaches conversations from stage. I highlighted so many quotes/passages throughout my Kindle book that I decided to buy my own copy to re-read and return to.

4.) Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver | An absolute game changer when it comes to simplicity. This is one of those books I’ll be gifting to all the women I know. Cannot recommend it enough. Some of my favorite quotes from the book: “Over almost a decade of massive change, its become very clear to me that you have to do things you don’t want to do so you can do things you want to do and have the kind of life you really want.” | “When you live in a reactive state, making healthy choices can seem impossible.” | “So what do you do when you are too busy to choose? You still choose, because not choosing is a choice. There is another way. You can try again. As Thomas Edison said, “When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven’t.”

5.) Humble Roots by Hannah Anderson | Anderson seeks to discover the answer to the question: How can I be unhappy and constantly stressed with a very normal life? She doesn’t preach at us, rather she points to Jesus, who humbled himself unto death. Also, I’m not a gardener but I appreciated the metaphors/references to agriculture woven throughout each chapter. I highly recommend to fellow Christian women.

6.) There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather by Linda Åkeson McGurk | A beautiful blend of memoir + research that has inspired me to change my attitude in regards to nature and dirt. While I was already a firm believer in getting the kiddos outside, I was hesitant for them to get too dirty and placed boundaries on their exploration. This book has given me the reassurance that they will be just fine (and benefit) with less restraint. My unnatural efforts in keeping them ‘clean’ + controlled only undermines their ability to learn and understand the world.

7.) The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah | A story I’d recommend to easily anyone. I’ll admit that the first third (or so) of the story failed at keeping my attention; however, the last half ramped up the intensity. The story was a combination of suspense, thrill, romance (with some tears sprinkled throughout.) Kristen Hannah has to have gained even more of a following with this one.

8.) Educated by Tara Westover | One of the best memoirs I have ever read. Similar to The Glass Castle but (maybe) better. Westover is a beautiful, vulnerable writer with a powerful story to share. While the material was difficult to read (due to subjects such as violence and emotional/physical abuse), it is a emotional testament to the power of believing in yourself and overcoming even the most dire of circumstances. Read this one!!

9.) Sabbath by Wayne Mueller | A much broader approach to the idea of Sabbath (as opposed to the limits of one specific day.) I suspect this book is one I’ll be returning to throughout my lifetime. Mueller provides a convincing spiritual argument for taking a regular Sabbath (I use the word ‘spiritual’ as I wouldn’t say it’s overly Christian. He incorporates Buddhist philosophies, as well.)

10.) The Last Mrs Parrish by Liv Constantine | I’m a sucker for a good thriller. This was one of the first books I read in 2018 and it was one that certainly stuck with me. Most thrillers you can figure out fairly quickly; however, this one had me guessing until the very end. The twists are anything less than subtle. If you enjoy a well-paced, psychological thriller (with a sprinkle of femme noir), you’ll love this one.

And a few to skip…(most of these I found to be highly overrated.)

  • Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
  • Sourdough by Robin Sloan
  • The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
  • I’ll Be There For You by Kelsey Miller

What do you recommend for me to read in the upcoming year? What were your favorites of 2018?

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