Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My 2011 Book Awards

I love to read.  I can still remember the first story I read in my first grade reader.  It was called "A Fish Out of Water" and I was so proud of myself to have read it through with no help.  Once I could read, I never stopped.  My physical location has never limited me...the library aboard the SS Anastasis kept me sane during my Discipleship Training School in Western Africa.  And my husband didn't even bat an eye when I needed practically a whole suitcase for books when we moved to Namibia.  He knows I need them!

I go through an ebb and flow with reading.  Sometimes I'll read 2 books in a week and then go a few without reading any.  Depends on how busy life is and if I have any room in my brain to add to.  I've never kept track of the books I read, but decided to in 2011.  I was interested to know how many I actually read in a year and I was completely surprised by the number.  I read 47 books in 2011.  Some were great, some were challenging and some were just an easy read to escape with.  If reading more is on your list of goals for the New Year, here's a few of my favorites  from last year.

Hands down, the best book I read is Somewhere More Holy by Tony Woodlief. I wrote about it here already, and I can still say it is a beautiful testament to God making beauty from ashes and filling our lives, every room of them, with His goodness. I still think of this book on a weekly basis and plan to read it again this year.

I discovered a new author that writes "Christian fiction" (FYI- I don't like that term!) that isn't brain numbingly bad.  There are good ones out there and she is one of them- Sally John.  She's written several and a few different series and I've really enjoyed them all.  Some are better then others, but overall engaging characters and stories that ultimately honor God.  I think I read 8 of her books last year if that tells you anything!

Belong to Me by Maria de los Santos was a beautiful follow-up to the author's debut novel (Love Walked In) which I read in 2010.  The second book was even better then the first.  Warning: this does have some explicit language which I'm usually very careful about, but didn't find it overly offensive in context.  Wonderfully written with characters you will be sad to leave.  I just requested her newest one from the library and can't wait to read it.

One of my top five books of all time was revisted this year, Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. It was as beautiful and gut-wrenching as I remembered it to be.  I think it says a lot about a book that on my third time through, I was still moved to tears at times and laughed aloud at others.  If you haven't read this book...do yourself a favor and read it this year. It contains some of the most perfect sentences you'll ever read.

And here's a few honorable mentions that I really enjoyed, in no particular order.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society..drug my heels on this one because everyone kept saying how good it was.  They were not lying; especially enjoyable if you like historical fiction set in WW II.  This book, Before I Go to Sleep  by SJ Watson is so not my usual style, but I ended up really enjoying it.  Kinda freaky, but good! One of my first books of 2011 was Little Bee by Chris Cleave.  Difficult and heart-breaking to read, but also can't turn the pages fast enough.

My only goal in regards to reading in this new year is to beef up my non-fiction list.  I love to collect non-fiction and slowly read them.  It's time to dust off that stack and get busy.  I aim to read at least 2 non-fiction each month.  As for the rest, I'm open to suggestions.  Read any good books lately?


Marisa said...

Gracious! You kick some literary behind! Where do you hear about all these book? They all sound really good. Thanks for the list.

Amber said...

i have been toying with rereading peace like a river and this might have pushed me over the edge! it's just so good. so excited to get back to reading now that i have a break from work. thanks for the list, i will be referring to it. :)

jenny said...

Always like hearing about what you've been reading....Somewhere More Holy was fabulous....appreciate the recommendation. I love to read too, won an award in my 5th grade class for reading the most books that year :), but I have definitely fallen away from reading as much as I used to. I read too many blogs :) And then don't stick with finishing my stack of books. You've inspired me to be committed in 2012 to good old literature!