The Book List: 2017


Some memoirs, a true murder mystery, a few disappointments, a kick-in-the-butt and a few stepping stones for my parenting journey. I scoffed at my yearly goal to read twelve books by sneaking in a few easy-breezy reads.

Here is what I read:

  1. The Bible Tells Me So -Peter Enns
    To everyone who has asked the hard questions about the God of the Old Testament or the hard questions about the Bible in general, please consider buying this, reading this, highlighting this and re-reading this. I exhaled the deepest sigh of relief upon flipping the last page closed.
  2. Balance, Busyness and Not Doing it All -Brenda Yoder
    My friend Brenda has walked through the valley of the shadow of busy and lived to tell about it. I learned not to hate the Proverbs 31 woman and to appreciate my own nurturing habits without comparing them to someone else’s. From one busy mom to another, thank you.
  3. The Shack -William Paul Young
    Forever a favorite. Because God is a spirit and does not have a gender, Papa God is portrayed as a feisty mom, and I love it. Almost as much as I do the beautiful relationship between the trinity in this story. If you haven’t read this one for any reason at all, please reconsider.
  4. Falling Free -Shannon Martin
    What does it look like when you give God every blasted thing in your life? For Shannon, it looked like selling the farm and changing vocations and adopting a teenager doing time. Nothing too radical. (Wink wink.) My surrender doesn’t look like hers, but it gave me to courage to keep saying yes.
  5. All the Pretty Things -Edie Wadsworth
    This memoir reminded me that ALL things can be redeemed, even a childhood full of broken hearts, empty bellies and dysfunction. I love how Edie exposed her soul so we can enjoy the healing of it with her.
  6. Half-Broke Horses: A True Life Novel -Jeannette Walls
    The author of The Glass Castle retells her grandma’s life story from the crazy bits and pieces she rustles up.  Fascinating life told in a unusual way. And it was a quick read.
  7. Love Like Fire: The Story of Heidi Baker, Mother to Nations -Cassandra Soars
    Cassandra is in awe of this fireball, as am I. Flashes of the author’s story thrown in with Heidi’s was weird for me and it wasn’t one of my favorites.
  8. Live Full Walk Free -Cindy Bultema
    That lady Cindy is the most sincere encourager anywhere. I’m a big fan. This study is a fresh look into the Corinthian culture and it makes the book of 1 Corinthians feel so practical. Grab a group to study with or use it on your own.
  9. Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption -Jennifer Thomson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton
    If Ron can forgive without anger, who cannot? I love that Jen is using her life-altering mistake to fight for justice for others. Fascinating story.
  10. The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates -Wes Moore
    What is it that tips the scale towards a productive life or an incarcerated one? Two boys from the same neighborhood with similar starts in life, make a series of choices that took them to opposite ends of success.
  11. At Home in the World -Tsh Oxenreider
    We were all just given permission to trek the globe with our kids and not let the weight of life keep us on our front porches. There is beauty the world over, and for us parents with wander lust, we can DREAM ON. One of my favorites of the year.
  12. The Antelope in the Living Room: The Real Story of Two People Sharing One Life -Melanie Shankle
    I started snorting on the first page, in the fake, funny endorsements. True story. An easy-read reminder that being married is a strange and hilarious ride.
  13. A Killing in Amish Country: Sex, Betrayal and a Cold-blooded Murder -Olsen/Morris
    When people you once knew are involved in a murder, you just must read the book. At least I must. The writers know how to unfurl a story, keeping this tired mom reading until much too late at night.
  14. Slaves, Women and Homosexuals -William J Webb
    The thickest book in the stack. And I’m not talking inches. Using a redemptive movement hermeneutic (or interpreting scripture with the understanding that God is in the redeeming process), Mr. Webb shows us what the original Biblical culture looked like so we can more clearly see the direction God is moving. I found it very helpful.
  15. Present Over Perfect -Shauna Niequist
    You can’t argue with a story and Shauna’s is one of a unhealthy hustling. Some of us might need this book but if you don’t struggle with proving yourself to God, you can skip this one. Not many of us need to do less. Just sayin’.
  16. Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World -Kristen Welch
    This is the best practical and inspiring parenting book I’ve read in years. Powerful principles with tips and reasons why. And just enough parenting fails to let you know that her family is as messy as yours. I have a long note typed up of great ideas from this read.
  17. The Shepherd’s Look at Psalm 23 -Phillip Keller
    Psalm 23 has been my go-to since I was in elementary. But reading it through the eyes of a real shepherd is like reading it for the first time. The kind of book I like to keep on my nightstand.
  18. Sunlight Burning at Midnight -Jessica Ronne
    I almost peed my pants reading this one because I didn’t think I could put it down. A pregnant young mom lets us peek at her diary after her baby is diagnosed and given a possible death sentence. But that is only half of her challenges. Letting God get nitty-gritty with her and her faith are what makes Jessica’s book a stand-out.
  19. Unleash the Writer Within -Cecil Murphey
    Like a big brother who knows the way, this best selling author asks the right questions to help you uncover who you are, why you write and how to get your words on paper. This was my first “writer” book and I’m hooked.
  20. Lionheart: The Real Life Guide for Adoptive Families -Jodie Hampshire, Selina Smith and Tammie Flinos
    I definitely recommend this book for all adoptive parents. It is not faith based, but very practical in dealing with trauma, loss and the first few months home. Thank you for the honesty and the hope, sister-friends!
  21. Love Warrior -Glennon Doyle
    I picked this one up to see what all the fuss was about. Glennon’s writing style is shockingly honest and colorful and her struggles are vivid. I downed this read in one day. Her and I don’t see God the same way and while I salute her fight to find herself, I was disappointed where she ended up.

There you go: my list of the year, complete with old favorites, recommendations and the not-as-recommended.

Would you be a dear and drop your favorite read from 2017 into my comments?
I’m collecting titles for 2018 and I would love to hear your raves.


Copyright: <a href=’’>wamsler / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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  1. My favorite read was Mama Maggie by Marty Makary and Ellen Vaughn

  2. I totally want to check out the Amish book having grown up in Amish country and now living within an hour’s drive (car time not buggy time 😉) of Amish.

    And I read the Psalm 23 book years ago and loved it so much, I bought it and have referenced it often over the years.

    I’ve eyed the parenting book about entitled kids since it’s release. Definitely one in which we parents need constant encouragement, I think—esp those living in more resourced areas.

    Thanks for all the recommendations. I’ll note this list in my goodreads. Do you do goodreads?

    • Briana, you will like the Amish murder story. Be prepared for it to be glued to your fingers. And the Entitled Kids too!

      I'm so glad you liked that Psalm 23 book. I have warm fuzzies with that one.

      What are some of your favorites titles that I may like? Tell me tell me! You can find me on goodreads. But I don't know how to navigate it yet. Ha!

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