Tuesday, December 6, 2016

6 Books to Give & to Own * 2016's Finest Reads

As the year gallops to a close, I pull open the bottom left drawer of the big ol' oak desk and reach for my well-worn reading journal.  This little keepsake lists every book read over a span of 24 years {roughly 700 at last count}.  I sit back and comb through the last twelve month's selections, all 44 of them.

I see that February, September, and October were the most prolific months, each with 6 volumes read.  June trailed way behind with only 1 book completed.  And I notice that half of the volumes had a title that started with the word The.


Go figure.

Most of the titles were borrowed from the library and then returned, many a bit reluctantly ... kind of like bidding farewell to a new friend who had quickly become dear.  But if you twisted my arm and told me I could choose only 6 books from 2016 to purchase and keep forever, the ones listed below would be the stars.

It wasn't easy whittling down so many great reads to just a precious few.

But these are the classics. 

I hope that a few of these gems will end up on your Christmas gift giving list.  And that you'll feel free to share this post with those who'll be shopping for something special for you ...




FICTION

The Lake House
~ Kate Morton
'Living on her family's idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories.

One midsummer's eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace.  He is never found, and the family is torn apart, the house abandoned.

Decades later ...'


The Undoing of Saint Silvanus
~ Beth Moore
'Only God knew why Jillian Slater agreed to return to New Orleans on the news that her father had finally drunk himself to death.  It's not like they were close.  She hadn't seen him or her grandmother, the ice queen in almost 20 years.  But when Adella Atwater, the manager of her grandmother's apartment house, called and said Jilllian's expenses would be paid if she'd fly in for the burial, a free trip to New Orleans was too intriguing to resist.

What Adella didn't tell her was that the apartment house wasn't a house at all, and whatever it was, bore the dead weight of a long and painful history ...'

{here's my review}


The Whistler
~ John Grisham
'We expect our judges to be honest and wise.  Their integrity and impartiality are the bedrock of the entire judicial system.  We trust them to ensure fair trials, to protect the rights of all litigants, to punish those who do wrong, and to oversee the orderly and efficient flow of justice.

But what happens when a judge bends the law or takes a bribe?  It's rare, but it happens ...

A previously disbarred lawyer is back in business with a new identity ... and he claims to know of a Florida judge who has stolen more money than all other crooked judges combined.  And not just crooked judges in Florida.  All judges, from all states, and throughout U.S. history ...'


NON-FICTION

~ Adam McHugh
'How would our lives change if we approached every experience with the intention of listening first?  In this noisy, distracting world, it is truly difficult to hear.  People talk past each other, eager to be heard but somehow deaf to what is being said ...

Adam McHugh places listening at the heart of our spirituality, our relationships, and our mission in the world.  God himself is the God who hears, and we too can learn to hear what God may be saying through creation, through Scripture, through people.  By cultivating a posture of listening, we become more attentive and engaged with those around us.  Listening shapes us and equips us to be more attuned to people in pain and more able to minister to those in distress ...'



~ Susan Cain
'The monumental bestseller Quiet has been recast in a new edition that empowers introverted kids and teens ...

This book is all about kids' world - school, extracurriculars, family life, and friendship.  You'll read about actual kids who have tackled the challenges of not being extroverted and who have made a mark in their own quiet way ...

There's even a guide at the end of the book for parents and teachers.  This insightful, accessible, and empowering book, illustrated with amusing comic-style art, will be eye-opening to extroverts and introverts alike ...'



~ Ann Voskamp
'What if you really want to live abundantly before it's too late?  What do you do if you really want to know abundant wholeness?

This one's for the lovers and the sufferers.  For those whose hopes and dreams and love grew so large it broke their willing hearts.  This one's for the busted ones who are ready to bust free, the ones ready to break molds, break chains, break measuring sticks, and break all this bad brokenness with an unlikely good brokenness ...

You could be one of them, one who believes freedom can be found not only beyond the fear and pain, but actually within it ...'


READ MORE ...

click here to catch up on all of my book reviews and giveaways

scads of marriage resources are over there

these are my top 3 devotional picks

how 'bout the 11 books that changed my faith

and 2015's shareworthy reads are over here


What's your #1 book in 2016?

Thanks for sharing this post 
with your social media book fans.

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50 comments:

  1. This list is a keeper and one I'll also share. Thanks Linda. I look forward to your posts.

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    1. I know this is a super-busy ministry season for you, friend. Praying for you even as we speak ...

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  2. So excited to see this list, Linda. I’ve had The Lake House on hold at my library for months. Maybe they’ll have an opening for me in 2017. ha. I also must get to The Listening Life; it sounds perfect for me. Oh, all of these! :) Thanks for sharing, friend. I haven’t come up with my list yet for 2016, but I hope to soon.

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    1. Oh, I'm glad you're excited!

      I've lost count how many excellent books you've sent my way in recent years, Lisa. Thanks for being such a fine, discerning reading buddy ... for sure, you have enlarged my borders and I am grateful.

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  3. Hi Linda,
    {For some reason I didn't get this post in my email as a subscriber :(} But I love to read book lists! I'm in the middle of Ann Voskamp's The Broken Way right now and I'm making my way slowly through it since there is so much to absorb and really reflect on, so deep. This year, I really loved Brazen by Leeana Tankersley. Each chapter reads like a blog post and I found nearly every one resonating with my heart, bringing me fresh ideas and inspiration! Thanks for asking us about our favorites, too! This is the best season for books, isn't it?! :) xoxo

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    1. Not to worry, the posts seem to arrive at about 11 am {eastern} ... and sometimes at other weird random times.

      I'm just happy you're here!

      And yes, Valerie, Ann's book was a slow read, usually just a chapter or two at a time. I filled pages of my journal with her wise observations. We're all broken in one way, shape, or form ... there is much consolation and encouragement in her pages.

      I'm off to check out your recommendation. Brazen, huh?

      ;-}

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  4. Wow ... I would love to browse that list of 700 books you've read, Linda. I never would have thought to start record something like that ... what a treasure! As far as your top 6 list goes, I've read "The Lake House" and "The Broken Way" and loved them both. I actually have blog posts in the works related to "The Broken Way" and "Quiet Power" (which I read parts of with Molly) ... you are inspiring me to get those finished up soon!

    It's hard to pin down my favorite book from this year ... I would say "The Broken Way" is having the most impact in my life, but a book I just finished ("A Portrait of Emily Price" by Katherine Reay) is probably my favorite. You might check out her books if you're not familiar with them ... every time I finish one, I actually feel sad because it's over!

    Love your book posts, my friend (as you can probably tell by the length of this comment)!

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    1. Can't wait to hear your take on those two books, Lois. Quiet Power is must reading for every parent, teacher, and coach of introverted kids. I only wish I had read it when I was in junior high. I love that you're sharing it with Molly.

      Thanks for the heads up on Reay's book ... I'm headed off to check it out right now!

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  5. They all sound good, Linda, but I'm especially intrigued by "The Listening Life" and "Quiet Power." I have some free time coming up soon, so one or both of these sound like something worth diving into! Thanks for the reviews you do, my friend! They are always so helpful and interesting.

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    1. If you only have time for one, definitely head to The Listening Life ... it's my favorite book of the year. I just know you'd savor it like I did ...

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  6. I haven't read any of these yet! I have The Broken Way on my nightstand ready to go after Christmas. I find I need to go slow with Ann's words. Love the fiction ideas too! Visiting from #cofeeforyourheart

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    1. Absolutely, Becky! There are quick read novels, but books like Ann's beg to be savored and pondered.

      So glad that you've taken the time to say 'hi' ... I'd love to hear what you thought of the book when you finish.

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  7. Linda, thank you for this blog post on books you love. It sounds like books that I would love. Extroverted me married to extroverted man has two out of three introverted of introverted children and some grandchildren and in-laws. That's one book sounds good for me. The other thing I love is that some of these books actually look I can get them at the library.

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    1. Oh Carol ... how lovely to see your name pop up on my screen just now! I hope you are well ... and yes, I'm betting you'd really appreciate Quiet.

      Blessings to you and yours ...

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  8. I'm impressed that you've kept track of all the books you've read for the last 24 years! I love John Grisham, so I'll have to make sure and pick that one up :). I've been keeping a book log for three years. I often forget to update it as I chain read books :/. Thank you for the suggestions! Some of them sound fascinating!

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    1. Oh fun ... another John Grisham fan! I loved that The Whistler featured women in prominent roles ... the good guys and the bad guys. As always, it was one of those I-can't-put-it-down novels ...

      Enjoy!

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  9. I would have to say that the book that changed my life this year was "The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World". It enabled me to break my addiction to Facebook and finally get off of it. Once that happened my anxiety lowered immensely, my concentration increased and my desire to "keep up" went away. What a blessing!! I realized I wasn't really missing out on anything (except life itself) by having my nose in the computer all the time and although it was a blow to my ego, nobody really notices I'm gone. That "reality" I had created was all in my head.............now I have more time to get together with my real friends face to face!!

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    1. Oh wow, Valerie ... this sounds like a must-read. We surely are an addicted generation and I fear it will only be worse for the ones who follow if we can't somehow put the brakes on our obsession with screens.

      You are brave and courageous and oh so wise. I admire your decision immensely. And I'm headed over to my library site to grab hold of that book.

      I'm always glad to see you here. Blessings to you and yours ...

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  10. Thank you for your list of good reads, Linda. 44 books a year? That's a record I think. Well done.

    God bless.

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    1. I do love reading ... always have, always will.

      What a spectacular gift God has given us in the written word!

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  11. I love the idea of keeping a list of all the books you've read. I've thought about that before but haven't actually done it, so I think I will start in 2017. I have The Listening Life and I'm planning to read it soon and I would also love to read The Broken Way.
    It's hard to pick a number one book of the year- I'm planning to do a top ten at the end of December- but I think I'd say Anything by Jennie Allen.

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    1. As you were visiting here, I was visiting over at your place.

      Serendipitous!

      I love when that happens!

      Meanwhile, Lesley, thanks for letting us know about Jennie Allen. I'm off to check her out!

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  12. You certainly are an avid book reader, Linda. I can see where that would be so hard to pick just 6. I have Beth Moore's book on hold at the library, but I'm going to have to wait as I'm fourth on the list. I also wrote down The Lake House to get at another time. I have a pile from the library to be read yet. I have been wandering in the world of fiction a lot this year, and it has been therapeutic. :) As for nonfiction, a couple that impacted me the most are Lysa TerKeurst's Uninvited and Dolly Lee's 7 Days of Soul Care. I have The Broken Way and am looking forward to it, but I'm concentrating first on Ann's The Greatest Gift. I love it. It is really helping me to dig more deeply into the genealogy of Jesus and God's love and preservation through the years to fulfill His promise of a Savior. Advent blessings and hugs to you!

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    1. I'm with you, Trudy ... I find fiction to be therapeutic in the best of ways!

      And yes, I was excited about Dolly's release of 7 Days of Soul Care this year. What an incredible woman of faith she is!

      Advent blessings to you, friend ...

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  13. Thanks for the great recommendations, Linda! I'm always looking for a new read, and sure wish I'd been keeping a journal of all the books I've read over the years. Maybe that's something I need to start doing!
    I know I'm tooting my own horn here, but I hope one or all of my novels will make your special list in 2017. You can check them out at www.gladetrilogy.wix.com/theglade
    Blessings!

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    1. I'm heading over to check out your invitation right now, Martha ... and I invite the rest of the gang here to do the same!

      Thanks for letting me pass the word along ...

      ;-}

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  14. These look to be goodies one and all!! Of course you know I agree 100% on The Listening Life that I learned about through you!!! Hugs to you, dear friend!

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    1. I loved that we both aligned on Adam's book ... your series was so thought provoking.

      Dear readers ... check it out here
      https://pamecrement.com/2016/07/01/the-discipline-we-forget/

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  15. A great list of books! I'm impressed by your book log. I do wish I had kept one all these years! It is not too late to start one for 2017, lol!

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    1. Absolutely, yes! It's never too late to jump into something that brings you joy!

      Would love to hear that you've done it ...

      ;-}

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  16. Great list, Linda! Though I have to confess that in your description of Ann Voskamp's work I read, "This one's for the lovers and SURFERS." Whoa, like cowabunga, dude!

    I would suggest Geoffery Wellum's "First Light" for the nonfiction list; it's his memoir, at the same time courageous, lyrical, and vulnerable, of his time spent as a pilot in the battle of Britain in 1940, when the world's fate truly hung in the balance, and rested in the hands of young men such as he.

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    1. Whoa, like cowabunga, dude!

      Early this morning, you gave me a bit of a start and I zipped over to the post just to be sure I didn't write SURFERS.

      You know how your mind kinda goes blank after a million re-reads before you finally hit that PUBLISH button.

      ;-{

      Thankfully, I was safe ... this time!

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  17. Love your list of 6 books Linda! I read Quiet and didn't really love it. For an introvert the author is extremely wordy! It was a fun read to learn a little more about myself though. I enjoyed that part of it. My fave read, not life changing in any way shape or form, but of the 40 books I read this year, it was my fave: "The First Time She Drowned." Gripping, suspenseful and my heart fell in love with the young girl struggling to find her place in the world. It was a top read for our book club this year!

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    1. Oh yeah ... sit an introvert at a keyboard and see how wordy we become!

      Thanks for sharing your favorite book club read, Nicki. I do miss my gang back in Poughkeepsie, NY ... we had the best discussions.

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  18. Always intrigued to see your reading list. Thank you for sharing!
    Blessings!

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  19. We've shared some reads in 2016, and I'm thankful for our book fellowship. You've got me wondering which book was my favorite . . . ?

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    1. Book fellowship.

      I like that phrase, that description. Thank you for all the inspiring reads you've shared at your place, Michele. You're one voracious reader for sure.

      ;-}

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  20. Hi Linda! This is the third time I've seen Ann Voskamp's book referred to...wonder if God is telling me something?
    I'd say you should get ready for a winter of reading, based on your history! Nothing better than a book, a blanket and a hot cup of tea :)
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. Oh, you're calling my name, Ceil.

      A book, a blanket and a hot cup of tea. It just doesn't get any better than that does it ...

      And then getting together with kindred spirits to talk it through is the icing on the cake, isn't it ...

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  21. Oh man...how much do I love the idea of keeping a list of books you have read?! I may start doing that today!!!

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    1. Go for it, Kylie!

      It's kinda neat to see how what we read changes and morphs over time.

      Just like we do ... hopefully going deeper, wider.

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  22. I used to keep a record of books I'd read and wanted to read. It may still be on my computer somewhere. I downloaded a journal format from the Modern Mrs Darcy website some time ago and should probably use it. I used to devour four books a week, now I'm lucky if I get to read four a year, lol! I did read Beth Moore's book and enjoyed it, but my best read this year (and I'm only halfway through) is Jerry Bridges The Discipline of Grace. Books are one of my favorite things to give at Christmas! Thanks for the reviews, Linda!

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    1. I'm a big Modern Mrs. Darcy fan! And I agree wholeheartedly with you, June ... books are my favorite gift to give and to receive.

      Advent's weekend joys to you, friend ...

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  23. Great list (and I agree about the giving/receiving part...). I have really enjoyed all of Kate Morton's books; the Secret Keeper is my favourite.

    I didn't know Quiet had been revised for younger readers; what a wonderful idea. And the McHugh book looks like something I would benefit from reading. Thanks again for sharing.

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    1. Jeannie, I'm glad you're here!

      Adam's The Listening Life has just been named to Christianity Today's 2017 Book Awards

      http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/january-february/christianity-todays-2017-book-awards.html

      I'm so excited!

      ;-}

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  24. Great list! I LOVED Quiet and The Listening Life! Two of my favorites this year!

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    1. And don't you love that THE LISTENING LIFE ended up on Christianity Today's 2017 Book Awards List?!

      And why aren't we at all surprised!

      Congratulations, Adam! Can't wait for the next book ...

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  25. I LOVE John Grisham books! I'll definitely check that one out :). The Lake House sounds interesting, too.

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    1. I bet you'll love them both, Anita! Please let me know ...

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'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda