My Favorite Books of 2014

Every year I enjoy looking back on the books I have read to see which ones challenged me, which ones brought laughter and entertainment, and which ones were just what I needed.  For the first time,  I kept a list of all the books I have read.  You can find the list here.  My goal was to read more nonfiction than normal but you can also see a lot of fluff in that list.  I read a lot.  I read while the kids were doing their school work.  I read in airports and on long car rides.  I read as an escape but also to find out more about myself and those around me.  Someone once asked me how I read so many books.  My answer is one page at a time.  I also don’t watch as much TV as I used to so many evenings are spent reading.  If life is crazy busy and I am feeling like I have no time to myself, I find myself getting up at the same time as my pilot husband to get in an hour of reading before I need to start getting ready for my day.  Well without further ado, here is my list.

1. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.
This book helped me understand myself and my family and in a way giving me permission to step back from everything to recharge when I need to.   It also gave me ideas on how to best help my son who is an extrovert living in an introverted family.  

2. Unspoken/Undetected by Dee Henderson
Dee Henderson has always been one of my favorite authors.  These books have unique characters with unique jobs.  The books are full of action but the main story is the relationship between the two main characters.  It is not a love at first sight but a love that grows purposely and over time.  

3. Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman
I read this at the same time I was reading the teenage version with W.  It was a reminder of ideas that we get in our head that are lies.  Some of those lies seem good but Emily points towards something better.  My favorite part of the book was when she walked through Colossians 3 and gave practical steps to help refocus our eyes on God.

4. The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith
I would have loved to have read the hard copy so I could have fully appreciated all the pictures.  Her book was a good reminder for me about what makes a home and how to do that with my home in Central Asia.  It is interesting that i read this book while temporarily displaced and living in the states for the summer.  Another interesting tidbit is that the author of #3 is the sister of Myquillyn. 

5. Squeaky Clean Mysteries by Christy Barritt
This was my favorite fluff series of the year that was a good to for a good laugh and crazy story.  Now that I am at the 8th book, I think the author needs to finish up the series but somehow I keep reading.  The books are about Gabi who is a crime scene cleaner who would really like to be a forensic scientist.  Somehow she always finds herself and her friends in the middle of some mystery that needs solving.  Currently the first one Hazardous Duty is free at Amazon. 

6. The Other Way Home Series by Sally John
This series is set in a small town not far from Chicago.  Each book concentrates on two different story lines featuring two different couples with the stories intersecting.  Sometimes it is someone finding a second chance at love or a couple finding love again.  Others are finding love for the first time.  Each story finds the characters working through issues that are keeping them from living fully in God’s love and grace.  I enjoyed getting to know the characters of the town as I laughed and cried through their adventures.  I especially like the third book about a high school math teacher.  As I read, I was also reminded that everyone including me has issues we need to deal with, and God’s grace is always there to help us through the healing process.  Sometimes he sends people into our lives to help with the process.   These books were relaxing reads for my busy weeks. 

In order the books are….
A Journey by Chance
After All These Years
Just to See You Smile
The Winding Road Home

7. Bittersweet:Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist
I am actually not all the way through this book but the timing has been incredible and the words healing.  Even though her changes are different than mine, I can relate to her struggles and how we often learn things the hard way. It was fun to actually read her essays on Christmas on Christmas day.  

8. Broken Down House by Paul David Tripp

This book was recommended by a dear friend and was just what I need last spring as where I live became more unstable.  It is a book that I will be reading again.  The following quote was just one reason that I loved this book.

“My security is not to be sought in the degree to which I am able to control the people and situations in my life.  No, I can accept the smallness of my power because I am the son or daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He is in control, I am not, and that is exactly as it should be.”

The chapters on waiting, anger and ministry were helpful for this season of unknowns, changes and whys.  Paul David Tripp’s writing reminded me of what a faith lived out should look like. 

9. The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan
This book was also recommended by a dear friend and teammate who thought I could use a little more rest.  Sad to say.  It took me almost three years to actually read it.  In the book, Mark talks about a Sabbath rest-what it is and what it isn’t.  The book is sprinkled with stories as he shares his journey of trying to find a Sabbath rest in his life.  Each chapter ends with some suggestion of how to incorporate more rest into our lives.  He also cautions the reader to not make the Sabbath a legalistic thing but a time of seeking God and the rest He gives.  

10.  The Bible
I started through a Chronological reading plan in February so am not finished yet.  Even though I have read through the bible before, it has been refreshing to read it through in a different way.  Sometimes when we read bible just a verse or chapter at a time, we forget the big picture.  I am enjoying see the big picture and how it all fits together.  In God’s providence, each book has been timely with words of wisdom and encouragement for the season I am in.  Right now I am looking for what reading plan I want to do next year.  I would appreciate any suggestions.

What are some books that you read this year that you would recommend?  If you are looking for other book lists, I am linking up with Modern Ms Darcy and others on their favorite books of 2014.

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