1.06.2016

MY YEAR IN BOOKS, V.2

In the spirit of tradition, today I am sharing all the books I read last year! (For the record, referring to 2015 as "last year" is already weird. What the even.) If I have one 2015 regret, it is that I didn't get to read near as many books as I wished. Ah well. C'est la vie. But I did the best I could and discovered some true gems! Last year (still weird) I read books that have become my favourites and a couple I wish I could forget. So without further ado...

The books of 2015!
  • Show Your Work - Austin Kleon
  • The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde
  • Chivalry - Zach Hunter
  • The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexander Dumas
  • Life of Pi - Yann Martel
  • Erasing Hell - Francis Chan
  • Rebecca (reread) - Daphne de Maurier
  • Bread and Wine - Shauna Niequist
  • The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
  • The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict - Trenton Lee Stewart
  • The Calvary Road - Roy Hession
  • Divergent, Insurgent, + Allegiant - Veronica Roth
  • The $100 Startup - Chris Guillebeau
  • The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield
  • Go Set a Watchman - Harper Lee
  • The Circle Maker - Mark Batterson
  • Daring Greatly - Brene Brown
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey - Richard C. Morais

BEST: Bread and Wine wins by a landslide. This is one I want to keep and treasure and read again throughout the years. Also, I won't be satisfied until I try all those scrumptious recipes. Whoa man. 

WORST: The Divergent series. For the love, do not even get me started on what a sloppy, shallow mess these books were. No, really, stop me now.

MOST THOUGHT-PROVOKING: I thought long and hard over Daring Greatly. What Brene Brown had to say about the power of vulnerability and how it changes our lives was fascinating.

MOST DULL: I'm afraid I will have to say Life of Pi. But to be fair, the second half was very engaging and interesting. It was only the long, prologue-ish first half that tended to bore me. 

FUNNIEST: This honor goes to The Importance of Being Earnest. Oh my word, what a wickedly funny little story!  

MOST CHALLENGING: To say The Calvary Road is a challenging book is an understatement. It would be more accurate to say it grabs a hold of you, knocks you over the head with a spiritual sledgehammer, and leaves you in a corner to consider what you have done.  

MOST INTENSE: Though I found the middle to drag a bit, The Count of Monte Cristo was an intriguing read. The beginning and end were wild rides of intensity that kept me going until the last page.  

MOST SURPRISING: As I said in my review, I expected Go Set A Watchman to be a major disappointment, yet it wasn't. Though it can't compare to its faultless predecessor (what could?), I loved this book through and through.

CURRENTLY READING: My Cousin Rachel by Daphne de Maurier, The Complete Collection of the Brothers Grimm, + Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin. 

So. We all know what comes next. The 2016 reading list! What are your recommendations?

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18 comments:

  1. LOVED your reading list, as always, Petie! I've added a few from your list to mine for 2016. :) My top three that I would really, really recommend are:

    Keeping Holiday by Starr Meade
    Enough by Kate Conner
    The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl

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    1. Thanks so much for your recommendations! I will definitely be checking them out. :)

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  2. Whadja think of Nicholas Benedict? I was kind of disappointed by that one, because the first three books were SO good, but I think maybe I was judging it too harshly because my favorite foursome weren't in it. Maybe I should reread it...

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    1. It's been a while since I read it, but I remember liking it! True, not on par with the original trilogy (mostly because of the absence of Constance haha), but still had the same charm and humor. :)

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  3. I adore The Importance of Being Earnest, it's so witty for its time which is brilliant! :-D
    We did it in Drama, I was Jack and my best friend Britt was Algy... apparently we did well cause the class were holding back laughter when we did the muffin scene.. our teacher was a wreak.. of laughter.
    Anywho..
    Book recommendation: The Lake house by Kate Morton :)
    have a lovely day Petie!
    ~Evie

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    1. Oh, I would love to see a stage adaptation of it someday! That must have been so much fun. :D
      Thanks so much for the suggestion!! :)

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    2. I do too! In Earnest (web series) is fabulous too! It was the most incredible fun!! :D
      No worries!! It's so good! :-)

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  4. "bread and wine" is one of my absolute absolute favorites too. i definitely don't agree with all of Shaunia Niequist's theology in some of her other books/life, but she writes so authentically and so beautifully, one of my favorites. and "the secret life of bees" is another favorite. i'm really curious of what you thought about "the circle maker", i haven't read all of it, but the bits and pieces i have i thought were a bit controversial... but i'd love to hear your thoughts on it!

    as far as suggestions, "the practice of the presence of God" by brother lawrence is astounding. also: "if you find this letter" by hannah brencher (that woman is insane and her words just get my heart every single time), and "humility" by andrew murray (short, but powerfulllll!).

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    1. Yaaay for Bread + Wine fans. I loved it so much. It's the only one of her books I've read so far, but I am certainly interested in more.

      The Circle Maker had some good points, but I didn't agree with everything. I think the basic outline of what he was teaching was good, and he was definitely advocating an active prayer life, which I obviously agree with. But it often came across as, if you pray hard enough God will give you anything you want, or if you show yourself faithful in prayer, your dreams will become true. But it should have been teaching readers to align our hearts with God's and let His desires become ours. Sometimes it sounded like more of a health/wealth/prosperity gospel rather than dying to ourselves and seeking the Lord as to what He desires for our lives. Still, the author is very passionate about prayer and had some good things to say! But no, I didn't always agree with him. :)

      thanks so much for your suggestions!!

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  5. AAAHHH. I have Steal Like an Artist, which I'm reading, and Show Your Work, which I'll be reading soon! I love Austin Kleon!

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  6. I don't believe I've read any of those, but I'm familiar with a lot of the titles. :) ("To Kill a Mockingbird" is on my to-read list for this year! Everyone says it is so good, so I'm very keen to start it.) I have also got Bread and Wine on my to-read list.
    Well, these are some that I love and think you might like:
    "Life Without Limits" by Nick Vujicic (He was a guy born with no arms and legs. It is one of the most inspiring books I've ever read - he is a Christian, and the way he writes is so wonderful. He keeps it thought provoking, funny, encouraging and helpful, all at the same time!)
    "David Copperfield" by Charles Dickens, "Our Mutual Friend" by C.D., and "Little Dorrit" by C.D. "Bleak House" is good, too! (Not to imply that some of his novels AREN'T good. Although, I haven't read all of them...)
    "It's (not that) Complicated" by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin. It was very helpful, because I haven't met one girl who says she doesn't sometimes feel awkward and confused around guys, and the way they approached it was just what I needed. They take it all from a Christian perspective. (Plus they're home schoolers. Extra points for that. :D)
    "Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Pink/Hound of the Baskervilles" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I suspect you've already read them, but they're SO GOOD!! :D
    ~Miss Meg March

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    1. Thank you so much for your recommendations! I've read Little Dorrit and most of Bleak House, but haven't gotten to the other Dickens' titles yet. Hehe, and yeesss, I have definitely already read all of the Sherlock Holmes stories. :)

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  7. I find it interesting you thought the Divergent series was shallow; I believed it was much more intellectual than most other young adult books are marketed as these days. However, I do agree that it's not the best of the bunch. I never really connected to it the way some people have.

    This is an awesome list! Looks like your reading year was full of worthwhile stuff :)

    Dance A Real

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    1. Haha, well I could write a long list about the faults of Divergent, but here's the short version: When I finished, I didn't feel any the better for it. There wasn't really any point or purpose to it other than an action-packed story. The author didn't bring anything original to the premise, and the characters were very shallow. Tris, especially, was extremely unlikable and didn't really develop at all throughout the series. The line between good and evil was so blurred that it was often hard to tell if Tris was really the one we should be rooting for. I felt like the plot was terribly undeveloped, like the author was kinda making it up as she went (especially when she suddenly changed POV in the last book). Anyway, not to ramble, but that's basically it. :) Haha! I didn't have really high expectations for Divergent before I read it, but I didn't expect to be as disappointed as I was. Oh well, I read a lot of fantastic books last year to make up for it! :)

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  8. Read Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson, or Edenbrooke by the same author. It will change your life.

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  9. I'll definitely be on the look-out for "Bread and Wine"! Sounds like a book I would enjoy thoroughly!

    My Recommendations Are:

    "Being Human: The Natural of Spiritual Experience"
    by Ranald Macaulay and Jerram Barrs

    "Through His Eyes: God's Perspective on Women in the Bible"
    by Jerram Barrs

    "Understanding the Times: A Survey of Competing Worldviews"
    by Dr. Jeff Myers and David A. Noebel

    "The Life of Prayer"
    by Edith Schaeffer

    "How to be Your Own Selfish Pig" (I promise you it's a good book!)
    by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

    "Common Sense Christian Living"
    by Edith Schaeffer

    "God's Crime Scene" & "Cold-Case Christianity"
    by J. Warner Wallace

    "Echoes of Eden"
    by Jerram Barrs

    "Truth with Love" & "True Spirituality"
    by Francis Schaeffer

    "Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition"
    by Christine D. Pohl

    Enjoy!

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  10. I realize this post is somewhat older, but this has come to mind a couple of times, so I think I'll throw it out there. You should look into the movie "The importance of being Earnest," staring Collin Firth, Reese Witherspoon and Judy Dench. It's ridiculous, and perfectly lovely. ;) (And follows the play almost exactly.)

    It's one of my "feel good" films. The ones I watch when I am sick, especially tired, or sad/grumpy. :)

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