What I loved reading this year
It’s time for me to announce my favorite books for the year!
I have to start with a confession. As I looked over my list of books that I read, I drew a few conclusions.
- I read a lot of great books this year!
- Although I did better this year, I didn’t meet my goal of reading more nonfiction titles. Will seek to remedy that in 2016.
- I gravitated to a lot of my favorite authors, which is a good thing, but I didn’t branch out too much into debut or “new to me” authors. Again, will strive to do better in the new year!
So, as I share with you my list of favorite books this year (nonfiction today and fiction tomorrow), you might see some duplicate authors if you compare to my lists from 2014. But at the end of the day, they were all amazing reads, whether I experienced an author for the first time or enjoyed the latest release from a beloved favorite.
Here are my favorite nonfiction books for 2015 (in no particular order)!
Girl Meets Change by Kristen Strong (Revell)
Some books come along at just the right season of life. That was the case for me this fall as I read Girl Meets Change. I’ve had a lot of changes this year that I’ve had to navigate. Even with good changes like I’ve experienced, it can still throw a girl for a curve. Kristen’s words directed me to scripture and served as a fresh reminder that God is in the ups and downs of life, no matter how big or small the swings are.
I predict that Girl Meets Change will become a go-to recommendation for many years to come. I love suggesting books that bring biblical perspective, encouragement, and practical help. This is a great book to give to a friend who might be embarking on a move across country, a new job, financial stress, marriage troubles, family adjustments, or countless other life events.
It will also make a great selection for your next small group, too!
Killing Christians by Tom Doyle (Thomas Nelson Publishers)
I’ve spent more time educating myself this year about persecution in the church around the world this year. Since it is rarely covered in the news, I found myself wanting to learn about what is going on. Killing Christians by Tom Doyle was a tremendous resource. The testimonies of our brothers and sisters in the Middle East are astounding, heartbreaking, and inspiring. I had to read each one slowly and then put the book down. I will admit that some of their accounts messed me up for awhile. The risks they take all in the name of Jesus will haunt you long after you’re done with the book.
Killing Christians is a book that I feel every Christian today should read. Educate yourself on what is going on in the world. There may not be a lot we can do for them physically but we can all pray. And as many of the testimonies in the book prove, prayer saves lives, gives hope, and even brings radicals to a saving faith in Christ.
A few months ago, I heard a missionary say, “Who prayed for you to come to know Christ? Was it your parents? A grandparent? A Sunday School teacher? Now, think. Who prays for the Muslim to know Christ? They don’t have people in their lives interceding for them. We as their brothers and sisters in Christ can do that.”
Take that challenge as you read Killing Christians.
Audacious by Beth Moore (B&H Publishing)
I, Rachel McRae, read my first Beth Moore book this year. I know! How has LifeWay let me keep my job up until now?!
Although a small book, Audacious hits you with the amazing love and truth of Christ from chapter one. In Beth’s typical style, she lovingly shows you on each page how much God loves you… in all your flaws, your regrets, and your hang ups. You’ll be laughing at one of her stories one minute and then putting the book down to ponder the truth she just slapped you with the next.
Sometimes we forget just how much God loves us. We take for granted the fact that he would move heaven and earth just to be with us and that he gave his most precious Son for us. For you! Are you in need of that reminder today? Treat yourself to Audacious and start 2016 off wrapped in the overwhelming and audacious love of Christ!
If by Mark Batterson (Baker Books)
Mark Batterson has been on my list of favorite books for several years in a row now. He quickly became a favorite after reading two of his earliest works a few years ago now.
If is a wonderful study of Romans 8: If God is for us, who can be against us?
Mark unpacks that entire chapter to show us the strength of God’s work in our lives. He gently reminds us through Scripture, stories, and testimonies of those he serves with that the power of God enables us to do anything God calls us to. Whether he’s steering us to a new career, making family transitions, or seeking freedom from past regrets, with God we can do it all.
Why do we so easily forget that?!
I recommend this book to pretty much everyone but if you know someone that has had a hard 2015, you might want to gift them a copy of If. You can trust that Mark’s word and the tons of scripture that is packed into this book will be an encouragement to them.
Just Show Up by Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn (David C. Cook)
2015 has been a hard year for many of my friends. Marriages are breaking up. Jobs were lost. Spouses are dealing with addiction. I have felt inadequate many times as I’ve talked with them. I’ve had no experience with any of those issues, thankfully, so I’ve had a hard time providing counsel when I’ve been asked.
Just Show Up is a lovely book that provides real life ways that we can walk through seasons of pain, suffering, and loss with friends and family. Kara Tippetts was very open with her cancer journey through her blog up until her passing this past spring. Jill was one of her friends that surrounded her and her family to provide care and support. They both share how more often than not, just being there and sitting with someone is all the support a person needs. They don’t need us to fix things. Just be with them. Love them. Laugh with them. Listen to them without saying a word back.
Just Show Up ended up being a book that I didn’t know I needed. Life is hard and we as Christians need to know how to travel it well with others. The practical advice and scriptures that are in this book have already proven to be a much needed help to me.
How about you? What have been some of your favorite books for 2015?
Coming tomorrow! I’ll announce my favorite novels for the year!
Coming Thursday! We’ll start our biggest giveaway of the year! I’ll be giving away 2 sets of all of my favorite books for 2015. Check back with us each day!