The Year in Books
I started the year with a stack of books, little knowing how these authors would become friends, their wisdom helping me navigate the twists and turns of 2018. At times they bore witness as I wept, kicked my backside, expanded my thinking, and inspired me to embrace the person I am becoming. As 2019 inches closer, it seems like a good time to reflect on 12 of the titles that changed me for good.
Many of my days this year started on the couch, my Bible and whatever else I was reading close at hand. A cup of coffee or tea at the ready, along with a journal, and I was set to honor my wiring, to make time for learning, making connections, and discovering for the sake of sharing insights with friends and fellow travelers.
I read through the Bible in the New Living Translation for the first time and the updated language breathed fresh life into familiar passages. (I’m always a bit skeptical with a “new” translation, but discovering the names of some of my favorite language professors among the contributors put me at ease.) I so enjoyed the coloring inspiration built into this version!
Some of the books on this year’s list were old favorites, like The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy and The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. Others were new titles from familiar guides like Ann’s Be the Gift, Susie Larson’s Your Sacred Yes, and Dan Allender’s Bold Love.
Still others were completely new and not on my list at all at the beginning of the year. But, they came to me along the way, as I needed them. While reading Bold Love this summer, I faced a crisis that laid me out flat for several months and changed my learning trajectory for the year. Unexpectedly thrown into PTSD-type flashbacks, I reached for lifelines as titles floated my way from friends who’ve walked the trauma recovery path before and alongside me. I’m forever grateful for Shannon Thomas’s Healing from Hidden Abuse, Cloud and Townsend’s 12 ‘Christian’ Beliefs that Can Drive You Crazy, Rebecca Davis’ Untwisting Scriptures, and Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score. They helped me make sense of what I was experiencing and take steps toward healing at deeper levels.
As the year winds to a close, I’m wrapping it up with Boundaries, another classic by Cloud and Townsend, along with The Greatest Gift. It’s my third (or maybe fourth?) time through this advent devotional and I’m savoring Ann’s wise insights into the beauty of Immanuel’s story, woven through the Scriptures from start to finish.
Along the way, I also enjoyed some good fiction. I’ve always found a good story hard to resist! Some friends and I put our heads together on a list of authors who spin a good tale and I captured our collection in this graphic. I’m currently ambling my way through the First Light series and loving it! One author I discovered after the graphic but just HAVE to mention is Michael Grumley. His Breakthrough series combines environmental science, sci-fi, and Jason Bournesque intrigue in four fast-paced, page-turning reads I have thoroughly enjoyed.
As we prepare to wrap this one and ride on into a sparkly new year, I’m excited about what’s ahead and eager to keep on learning. New books by Brene Brown, Donald Miller, Ann Voskamp, Eric Metaxas, and Emily Ley are stacked and ready, but there’s room for more! I’d love to hear your suggestions of helpful voices, intriguing storytellers, and wise counselors.