One of my favorite things about this time of year is the “best of” reading lists. I voraciously and carefully read each one I come across, often comparing my favorites (and my non-favorites) and always, always adding to the ever growing list of books I want to read. Someday, one day, maybe.
I read fifty some-odd books so far this year; a few I loved, some I hated, some were surprisingly good, some surprisingly disappointing. Apparently there were many I was just ambivalent about. For those of you who may be curious about my “best of” list, I offer the following favorites among the books I read this year, in no particular order…
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. I can’t stop talking about this one. If you’ve had any sort of extended conversation with me about politics or culture or anything really, I’ve probably mentioned this book. It will open your eyes, break your heart, and make you think. Related: I also appreciated Between the World and Me by Ta-nehisi Coates, a look at the black experience in this country, equally eye opening and heartbreaking.
The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness: The Path to True Christian Joy by Tim Keller. I think the title says it all. You can read this little book in one sitting and be convicted for a long time after.
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood. Loved it. My favorite novel I read last year, and one I keep recommending, is A Man Called Ove. This story evokes a similar sense of hope amid grief. It is not as sad as the description may make it sound!
Look and Live: Behold the Soul-Thrilling, Sin-Killing Glory of Christ by Matt Papa. I need to have this one on re-read yearly, monthly, weekly maybe. So, so good.
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
- The Imperfect Pastor: Discovering Joy in Our Limitations through a Daily Apprenticeship with Jesus by Zack Eswine
- Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
- An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
- Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
I read a lot of fiction this year; no newsflash there as I read a lot of fiction every year. I don’t know if my standards are getting stricter or if I just had an off year, but only the one novel stands out as a favorite. In fact, I track my reading at Goodreads (otherwise I could never remember if I read any given book much less how many and which I might have liked); only a handful of the fiction titles I read I deemed a four star or higher. Interesting.
What about you? What did you read this year that stands out as a favorite? Have you posted a year end favorites list? Let me know in the comments so I can check it out!
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