Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Year-End Reads & Reviews

I love a good booklist. I've kept booklists in my right sidebar ever since I started my blog in an effort to keep up with my yearly reads. It's also a lazy way to recommend books to others. When someone asks what I'm reading I can say, Just go to my blog. It's on the right-hand side.

When I saw that the Nester is having a booklist linky, I got way excited. Like her, I believe you can learn a lot about a person by their bookshelf and I love to see what other folks are reading. Furthermore, I like to dish about books as much as I like to dish about most anything. 

My 2011 Booklist {with mini-reviews}

Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life by Emily P. Freeman
~You can read my review of this book here.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling 
~I've been waiting for years to start Harry Potter with my kids. I felt that my older two were both at good ages so when we finished the Chronicles of Narnia series, we started reading Harry. It has been great, great fun.

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young 
~A devotional that carried me through 2011 by gently pointing me, daily, to the presence and power of Christ.

Loving Our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk 
~I really appreciated some of the ideas and techniques in this book. Like all parenting books I read, I've finally learned to take bits and pieces and apply what I think will work for us.

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp 
~This is simply a beautiful, deeply-moving I need to read again and again through the years. My mom bought this book for all the women in my family. 

Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider 
~I'm rolling this one out again for the new year.

Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery by Don Richard Riso
~Taking the Enneagram a couple of years ago was a huge tool in self-understanding. Huge. This book, recommended by my friend / cousin-in-law, Lisa {who painstakingly took me through the Enneagram}, continues to be a go-to resource.

Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore 
~If you haven't read this yet, put it on your booklist for 2012. My friend, Amanda, buys this book by the case and gives them away. She gave it to me and I've already passed it on as well.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
~You can read my mini-review here. I've started reading this one to my kids every Christmas.

The Confession by John Grisham
~The Man and I love to listen to Grisham books on long car trips. They're engaging enough to keep us awake yet easy enough for our tired brains to follow.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows 
~Recommended by a couple of different friends. I LOVED this book...laughed, cried, and stayed up late to finish.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett 
~Okay, I'm sometimes reluctant to read fiction that's at the top of the bestseller list. I know that sounds a bit snobbish but I don't always love what's popular with the masses. This one, however, breaks all the rules. It's a must-read. Again, I laughed and cried and read with flashlight under the covers until the wee hours.

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis 

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis 

The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis 
~It took us a good couple of years but I read The Chronicles of Narnia to my older two kids. It's been one of the highlights of motherhood, reading great books to my kids. The Last Battle had me weeping and thinking and tearing up again for days after I read it. I think about Heaven in a totally different light because of this book.

Though the Darkness Hide Thee by Susan Wise Bauer 
~Bauer has become my "matron saint of homeschooling." I love her book, The Well-Trained Mind, and I've used a lot of the curricula produced by her publishing company. This is her only published work of fiction and it's out of print but I borrowed it from Amanda. I enjoyed it. It's well-written and kept me reading. 

When People Are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man by Edward T. Welch 
~Recommended by my counselor. I won't lie, I've wrestled with this book in a big way...but only because deep-down I'm challenged to confront some issues I'd rather not. It's not touchy-feely and Welch doesn't write "in my language" but it's still a book I recommend with confidence.

On My Bookshelf for 2012 

Continuing the Harry Potter series with my kids
~I'm so excited about this I can hardly stand it.

A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul Miller
~I bought this for myself last Christmas and never read it. My husband picked it up and claims it's one of the best books he's ever read. Our small group starts the book this week so I will, in fact, read the book after all. 

Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist
~Recently recommended by a friend who's guessing this just may be my sort of book. I'm guessing she's right.

A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken
~Still reading from 2011.

Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary by J.D. Greear
~Still reading from 2011. When three people in two weeks recommended this book, I downloaded it to my Kindle.

Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young 
~This is one to go through every year.

Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace by Gary and Betsy Ricucci
~Still reading from 2011. My husband and I are reading this together.

Same Kind of Different As Me by Denver Hall and Ron Moore
~I read it last year but I'm reading it again for my Inklings book discussion group in January.

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
~Another recommendation by my friend, Amanda. I read everything Amanda tells me to read. Lucky for me, my mother-in-law had this sitting on her bookshelf at Christmas and loaned it to me.

The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Timothy Keller 
~I read everything Tim Keller writes. My husband asked for this book for Christmas so it was totally a gift for me too.

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown
~So this is one of the few books I'd never heard of but saw it on amazon months ago and bought on a whim. I couldn't believe it when I saw this book on the Nester's 2012 booklist! I don't know anyone else who's read it.

The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and "Women's Work" by Kathleen Norris
~I've wanted to read this book for years and got it for Christmas last year from my sister-in-law. My friend, Keri, has been telling me to read this book since grad school but I'm a slacker. It's a tiny little book and I'm reading looking forward to it this year. {I promise, Keri.}

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield

Total Forgiveness by R.T. Kendall
~A gift from a dear friend. It's heavy and I didn't have it in me to start it yet...but I will.

I'm also planning to read a book or two about dog-training now that we have Jetta. Suggestions?

And now I'm exhausted. This post has enough hyper-links to crash amazon. I may just go lie down and start in on my reading list. 


Okay, now it's your turn. What are your favorite reads from 2011? What's on your shelf for 2012?


  1. Oh the War of Art is FANTASTIC! love it!

  2. So many great things to explore on this list...

    I have to say, I can't WAIT to really get into reading the stories I've loved with my kids. A Wrinkle in Time, Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables - the whole lot of them. I try to introduce them every 6 months or so... my 3 year old daughter just stares at me blankly, (we've had some success with Laura Ingalls Wilder) where my 5 year old boy tries to listen, but isn't there just yet :) Thanks!!

  3. I do so much with school it seems fiction is my escape but when you read like I do Christian fiction soon gets all read!!!
    I watched The Help but want to read it too.
    Love and miss you. Thanks for my beautiful Christmas gift.

  4. Bookmarking this for future buys. Thanks for the list. Truly helpful for a bookworm like me. Happy new year!

  5. Oh...I'm loving your list! We sound similar. I was like "okay, fine, I'll read The Help" and it was definitely in the top of my best reads this year. :) Severe Mercy was so sad... And Same Kind of Different as Me - amazing! Can't wait to add some of your books to my "to read for 2012 list!"

  6. Wow! There are some great books on your list. I also loved The Help. I read it in 2010, so it didn't make my list for this year. The movie was a good adaptation of the book. The actresses were right on in the way I imagined them. Sarah's Key is haunting, but a great read. I saw Organized Simplicity on several lists. I picked it up and already I love it. Thanks for the suggestion.


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