My Favorite Books in 2019

Hey, Book Lovers ~

As I began to pull this list together a month or so ago, it quickly became clear that the books that stayed with me long after the final page turned out to be non-fiction.  One after the other.

Go figure.

Is it because I listen to people's stories for a living?  That real life sagas are hard to beat?  I'm not sure, but these are the volumes that jumped out at me, in no particular order, as I scanned over 2019's 55 titles in my reading journal.

Right off the top, I want you to know that I am not embracing most of the world views or theologies represented in these volumes.  There's language and sexual situations that you might find offensive and if that's true for you, please don't choose these titles.

Over the years, my reading life has morphed and broadened.  Yet everything I pick up I read through a biblical lens of a deep faith in Jesus Christ and the truth of God's Word.  So, while there's not a Bible pictured below, when all is said and done that's been the most impacting book I've picked up this year.  Time and time again.

And, praise God, it's non-fiction at it's best.

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Educated: A Memoir
Tara Westover
Devastating, riveting, stunning.
Tara's unbelievable story is never the less true, her writing style completely captivating.  You'll be rooting for her every step of the way, you'll marvel at the choices she makes and the obstacles she overcomes as an isolated child of survivalists, kept out of school, and a victim of violence.  Her slow and steady rise to the top makes for top-notch reading.

Michelle Obama
Inspiring, compelling, challenging.
Exquisitely written, I burned the midnight oil savoring Mrs. Obama's eloquent writing, her perseverance in her emerging years as she conquered the odds along the way, the weaving of her compelling life story.  And while politics is discussed here and there, this is not a political diatribe.  

Glorious Weakness: Discovering God in All We Lack
Alia Joy
Wrenching, beautiful, life-changing.
Alia's writing grabbed my heart, expanding it, breaking it in two.  She writes of her struggles with bipolar disorder, childhood sexual abuse, the horrors of poverty on the mission field, the nakedness of physical pain, her own experiences of racial injustice.  An incredible woman of God, an exquisite writer.

Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up to Move Forward
Henry Cloud
Wise, insightful, perceptive.
Worth the price alone is this leading Christian psychologist's discussion on the foolish and / or evil people we encounter and how to wisely respond to the challenges they constantly throw at us.  We're talking issues on trust.  Character.  Boundaries.  Emotional intelligence.  Aimed for professionals, but with subject matter that impacts us all.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed
Lori Gottlieb
Bold, illuminating, R-rated for language and sexual situations.
'Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient, examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we teeter on the tightrope between love and desire, meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change.'

Inheritance: A Memoir of Geneology, Paternity, and Love
Dani Shapiro
Riveting, informative, stunning.
Author Shapiro grabs hold of readers and takes us on a whirlwind exploration into the world of secrets, paternity, the destruction and reimagination of her entire heritage and how she views her identity.  Along the way, she leads the reader through the murkiness of DNA testing, artificial insemination, medical ethics and the rapid development of technology.

Miracles and Other Reasonable Things: A Story of Unlearning and Relearning God
Sarah Bessey
Personal, lyrical, profound.
Sarah's chapters on giving birth to her final child, her wise observations on self-care vs. self-comfort, and the benediction chapter make this book an incredibly worthy read as she tells her story of re-building her life after a car accident shook up both body and faith.

The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions
Emily Freeman
Inspiring, fun, practical.
Emily guides the reader to 'clear the decision-making chaos, quiet the fear of choosing wrong, find the courage to finally decide without regret or second-guessing' without being bossy or directive. 

Does Jesus Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America
Jeff Chu
Enlightening, challenging, thought-provoking.
Chu's memoir / investigative analysis tracks his cross-country visit to churches, conversations with clergy, and eye-opening interactions as he searches for the God "forbidden to him" because of his sexuality.   You'll most likely find much cause for pause in his discoveries.

What's your favorite book this year?  


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