While many are setting New Year’s goals and making promises they may or may not keep, may I selfishly encourage you to consider a reading resolution this year. It’s selfish only because I am a writer who needs readers. But reading benefits us on so many levels.
Reading improves memory, enhances vocabulary, increases creativity, relieves stress and lowers blood pressure, and makes you more empathetic. Books provide entertainment, education and keep the brain young. In my un-asked-for opinion, getting lost in a biography or novel is also a much easier path to self-improvement than going keto.
I read about half as many books in 2019 as I did in 2018. I don’t think I actually spent that much less time physically reading, but I did discover a wheelbarrow load of new podcasts that kept me from listening to as many audio books. If you are looking for some reading inspiration for 2020, I gladly share what I consumed last year and even divided them into categories – with the tiniest of commentary.
- When We Were Young by Karen Kingsbury . I used to read all of her books. I don’t follow Kingsbury that closely anymore, but I’m so invested in the make-believe Baxter Family after all these years that I have to keep up with anything about them.
- The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. I’m a fan of hers from way back and discovered an old but new-to-me title.
- Gennie the Huguenot Woman by Bette M Ross (It’s a long and weird story why I chose to read this, but it is actually pretty good.)
And that, sadly, completes my fiction list. When I looked back at my year in books this appalled me. I resolve right now to indulge in more stories in the months to come.
Devotional or Bible Study
- Perseverance: 30 Devotions for Faith that Moves Mountains. I had to list this one. It’s the first book I’ve ever been published in. And I’m proud to be included.
- Seeing God’s Hand Through the Art of Sign Language by Connie Rowland
- Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God Speaks by Priscilla Shirer
- Awaken: 90 Days with the God Who Speaks by Priscilla Shirer (I love her)
Books on Writing
- The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. Yep. That’s it. I am a student of my craft.
- Is the Bible Good for Women?: Seeking Clarity and Confidence Through a Jesus-Centered Understanding of Scripture by Wendy Alsup
- Mended: Restoring the Hearts of Mothers and Daughters by Blythe Daniel and Helen McIntosh
- Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors: How Less-Than-Perfect Parents Can Raise (Kind of) Great Kids by Jami Amerine
- Stolen Jesus: An Unconventional Search for the Real Savior by Jami Amerine (I really dig her raw and honest voice)
- When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment by Ryan T. Anderson (It’s time for the church to talk about it.)
- The Power of Christian Contentment by Andrew M. Davis (a definite struggle for me).
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (For me, this did not live up to the hype.)
- It’s a Love Story: From Happily to Ever After by Lincee Ray
- The Sacred Echo by Margaret Feinberg
- Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: It’s Impossible to be Spiritually Mature, While Remaining Emotionally Immature by Peter Scazzero
- Prototype: What Happens When You Discover You’re More Like Jesus Than You Think? by Jonathan Martin
- The Wondering Years: How Pop Culture Helped Me Answer Life’s Biggest Questions by Knox McCoy (a gift from my BFF)
- Sex, Jesus, and The Conversations the Church Forgot by Mo Isom
- Giddy Up, Eunice (Because Women Need Each Other) by Sophie Hudson (I love her podcast with Melanie Shankle.)
- Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits that Changed Rock, R&B and Pop by Marc Myers (Just listen to the songs.)
- For Young Women Only: What You Need to Know About How Guys Think by Shaunti Feldhahn (I read this to discuss with my daughter because For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men was extremely eye opening to me as a newlywed. The original was much better and I would advise any moms out there to just go with the more “adult” book for convos with your daughter about boys and dating.)
Books That Should Be Required Reading
- Night by Elie Wiesel (hard, but important)
- The Louder Song: Listening for Hope in the Midst of Lament by Aubrey Sampson (taught me so much about being real)
- Winning the Heart of Your Child by Mike Berry (even though my kids are older, this book motivated me to change my parenting)
- Your Future Self Will Thank You: Secrets to Self-Control from the Bible and Brain Science (A Guide for Sinners, Quitters and Procrastinators) by Drew Dyck (Just look at the title! Do you not fall into one of those categories!?!)
- A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World by John Stonestreet and Brett Kunkle
- Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change (Resources for Changing Lives) by Paul David Tripp (All church members should read and apply. It’s really about being a good friend.)
Books That Will Make You LOL
- I Ain’t Doin’ It: Unfiltered Thoughts From a Sarcastic Southern Sweetheart by Heather Land (If you like yourself at all, get it on audio and prepare to need to change your underpants.)
- by Melanie Shankle (one of my all-time fave authors and speakers)
Christmas Books (Saved for Last Because You Won’t Need Them for a While)
- Because of Bethlehem: Love is Born, Hope is Here by Max Lucado
- Christmas Joy: A Novel by Nancy Naigle (the delightful book equivalent of a Hallmark Christmas movie)
- Christmas in Georgia by Celestine Sibley
- Touching Wonder: Recapturing the Awe of Christmas by John Blase (LOVE!)
I hope you found something here to intrigue or inspire. If you did, do me a solid and order from my link so I get a small commission. It helps me keep the lights on this site. I would also love to hear about your favorite recent reads in the comments. I need some inspo too! Happy reading!
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Legacy Link Up, Fresh Market Friday, Feature Friday Time,
Friendship Friday Blog Hop, Faith on Fire, Traffic Jam Weekend,
Faith ‘n Friends, Dancing with Jesus, Grace & Truth, Booknificent
Heather Hart says
I love Stolen Jesus. Jami is a hoot, but more than that, I love her heart for Jesus. Thanks for sharing some of your favorite books with us.
She is a hoot. Thanks for reading, Heather.
Mary Geisen says
Such a comprehensive list. Thank you for giving me more books to add to my own reading list.
Great! Happy reading, Mary.
lisa jung says
A great post. I love to read and read about everything. Thanks for joining Traffic Jam weekend Linky party with us. Lisa
Me too, Lisa. Thanks for reading.
It sounds so funny but I actually am trying to get myself to read just a tad less this year. I just love reading and am starting to feel like I’m neglecting other areas of my life… it’s all about balance as they say so I’m hoping to read around 80 books or so this year… maybe!
Wow! I wish I had your problem. Ha!
My, Lauren, it looks like you accomplished a lot of reading in 2020! Thanks for sharing. I definitely saw some I need to dive into.
How I wish I had time to read more!
Oops, I mean 2019! 🙂
Lisa notes says
I used to read The Elements of Style every few years. It’s been quite a while since my last read, so I’m due a re-read soon. I love your list of non-fiction books. So many look interesting to me!
Listening to podcasts has cut into my audiobook time as well. It’s a trade-off. Sigh.
If we only had more hours in the day to read and listen!
I hadn’t heard of “I ain’t doing it”. Sounds like a great read. Thanks for sharing. Many blessings on your year!
I hightly recommend it!
April J Harris says
Lauren, I love reading about other people’s reading adventures, and I so enjoyed reading about yours. There are definitely a few books in your list I want to add to mine. Plus you may have helped me find a new to me L M Montgomery book! Thank you! I’m almost sure I haven’t read it, and I LOVE her books. Thank you for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party.
I love her too, April. But – unpopular opinion – the Anne of Green Gables books are not my favorite of hers!
You were on a non-fiction roll last year! Your non-fiction #1 looks interesting. I just finished reading “Jesus Feminist” and loved it!
I’m going to look up Jesus Feminist right now!
Patsy Burnette says
Such a wonderful book list, Lauren! The Elements of Style is great for writers! Some of these I have read, some are on my 2020 reading list, and some are new to me. THANKS!
Tweeted & pinned.
Thank you for linking up at InstaEncouragements!
Glad to help, Patsy. Let me know what book you think I need to read this year1
Susan Shipe says
I read a number of fiction books last year – I love fiction. Non-fiction is something I write so I prefer not saturating myself with it. I’m afraid I may unintentionally repeat something!!! I do enjoy good book lists and yours is going to get pinned.
You know, Susan. I really hadn’t thought of that aspect of reading non-fiction. I need to give this some thought and prayer! Thank you for pinning!
Shelbee on the Edge says
I have much loftier reading goals this year myself. I am a big fan of Strunk and White! Have they updated recently to be more coherent with contemporary writing styles? I was trying last year to read a lot of thought provoking psychology and philosophy books but I found that they were stressing me out too much because they were provoking too much deep thought. This year I am moving more towards reading for relaxation and ma leaning towards fiction. I am currently tackling Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and am thinking of starting some other fantasy type series when I am one with this one. I also want to read Eat Pray Love. Thanks for sharing your favorites and linking up with me.
I read Eat Pray Love when it was all the rage. It’s ok.
Shelbee on the Edge says
Lauren, I have much loftier reading goals this year myself. I am a big fan of Strunk and White! Have they updated recently to be more coherent with contemporary writing styles? I was trying last year to read a lot of thought provoking psychology and philosophy books but I found that they were stressing me out too much because they were provoking too much deep thought. This year I am moving more towards reading for relaxation and ma leaning towards fiction. I am currently tackling Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and am thinking of starting some other fantasy type series when I am one with this one. I also want to read Eat Pray Love. Thanks for sharing your favorites and linking up with me.
Sounds like we both need to not think quite as much this year. ha. Or a different kind of thinking.
Dee | Grammy's Grid says
Reading is so much more beneficial that sitting in front of a TV!! Nice list you have there, I pinned it! Thanks so much for linking up with me at my #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 8, this party will be open until January 26.
My themed party 9 for All Things Crochet is open until January 25 if you have any appropriate posts.
I would love to have you join me at my short story prompt party February 2 to 9 for fun and creativity. Just start typing and see what you come up with. Remember, no story is too short! The prompt is: The sun was shining brightly but then…
Thank you for sharing, Dee! And the invitations to link up.
Felicia Stout says
I have set a book goal each year for the last 2 or three years, and I just set one again.
Mandy Farmer says
Shared this on my “Books Worht Reading” board on pinterest.
Thanks for sharing at LEgacy Link-up
Thank you for sharing!