Beautiful Day

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best Books of 2015

2015 was a slower, more intentional reading year for me.  And that has really been a good thing.  For one,, I've spent a lot more time in the Bible, including reaching my goal of reading through it all chronologically this year.  Besides that, it's been a year that I am very glad to see fading out.  It means a new year with a new slate to write on is just around the corner!

These are the books that stand out of the approximately 28 that I read (next to the Bible, which I just mentioned).

"Snow Treasure" by Marie McSwigan -- In the winter, the children and I did a little "Frozen" unit study, which included learning about Norway.  This was a great tale based on real events and it drew us all in.  A very fun adventure story.

"She is Mine" by Stephanie Fast -- My friend handed me this title early in the year.  I could hardly put it down.  It was shocking, sad, compelling, and amazing all wrapped up in one.  I cried my way through it.  It is the author's story of her childhood as a Korean war orphan, and how the love of God met her through adoption.  Read my friend's review here and check it out for

"Teaching from Rest" by Sarah Mackenzie -- This is a title I had seen floating around for quite some time, but I wanted to wait until it was available in print (me and books on computer screens don't get along well).  Though I'll admit that I struggled with reading a book written by a mom of very young children yet (meaning there is a lot to be said for life experience and wisdom that grows with age), I do really like this little book for its reminders to me in my own homeschool journey, which frankly needs a shot-in-the-arm from time to time.  And perhaps a younger mom helps a veteran one find some of that idealism, enthusiasm, and focus with which she began her own home education journey!  She comes from a classical teaching bent, which I don't mind, so just be aware that some of her resources and encouragement lean in that direction.  I found some practical wisdom and encouragement here that I plan to return to.

"Own Your Life" by Sally Clarkson -- I started out the year ready to dive into this book.  But life happened, and I didn't get into it until the fall.  But it was the right time, and I loved this message from Sally.  There is usually a Sally Clarkson title in my annual list, and this is a great one.  I look forward to returning to it as well in my quest to live a life of intention, beauty, purpose, and joy!

"Of Knights and Fair Maidens" by Jeff and Danielle Myers -- I have a great deal of respect for the teaching of Dr. Jeff Myers, so when this edition of their original courtship story was reprinted and on sale, I  knew I wanted to read it.  I have read several books on dating and courtship (including some not-so-great ones).  I think this one presents a balanced view of striving for honor and purity in how young adults treat one another, without tipping the scales toward a fear-based model that never trusts young people who sincerely desire to honor Christ in their relationships.  Jeff Myers is big on mentoring in all the messages I have heard him speak, and so it is not a surprise to find that he is a big advocate of having godly accountability and wise mentors in your life at every stage, including courtship.  I am eager for my daughters to read this title when I can get them to agree that their own stacks aren't too big to add to it!

"A Path Through Suffering" by Elisabeth Elliot -- If you read my post from yesterday, you saw many Elisabeth Elliot quotes, and all of them came from this book.  This one ministered to me tremendously this year and though I haven't read a lot of books on suffering, I'd have to say this is a top one I would recommend!

"What Did You Expect?" by Paul David Tripp -- One of the best marriage books out there!  I'm not sure how well it ministers to young married couples as I have not read many reviews of it written by that demographic.  I often wonder how a young-married person would read it.  I wish I would have read it long ago.  Though as in any book I am sure there are points I don't quite agree on, overall the emphasis on facing just how much our own sin blocks us from loving our spouse well is a necessary reminder.  Marriage is for God's glory, not ours!

"Stepping Up:  A Call to Courageous Manhood" by Dennis Rainey -- I picked up this title when I found it on sale and with the thought that I was going to pass it on to my just-turned-13 son.  But of course I wanted to read it first!  It actually seemed to be most appropriate for seasoned men and for those starting out in marriage and family life.  This book is full of exhortation, great stories of courage, and all throughout I felt Dennis Rainey's passion for this subject.  It is largely a call for men to live their life well and to pass it on to others through mentoring.  I HIGHLY recommend it!  Will I pass it on to my son?  Certainly.  But I think I'll let him mature a bit first and probably wait until he's on the older side of a teenager.  One of the best parts of this book was that it sparked the theme for my son's birthday celebration...COURAGE.

"I Love You, Ronnie" by Ronald and Nancy Reagan -- This past summer, Warrior and I were privileged to take a trip to the Reagan Presidential Library and I wrote about how inspiring that was here.  I picked up this title to bring home because I was taken in by the letters on display in the museum, and by President Reagan's love for his wife.  Everyone knows he is "The Great Communicator" and I loved that this book shined light into his communication with his wife.  Being a words person, I'll admit this book made me kind of swoony.  There was so much to love about it--his wit and humor, how he always found time, even in the midst of White House duties, to bless his wife with words, how they never got used to the times they had to be apart, how she seemed to shine in her role of helping him, and most of all the integrity they maintained in their marriage that seems to be nearly non-existent among the leaders of today.

"Shepherds Abiding" by Jan Karon -- This was my final read of the year, which I read aloud to the children.  I am including it here because it was mostly just a calm, breath of fresh air in the Christmas season.  It was funny and sweet and we all enjoyed it.

These books I personally enjoyed the most, but I did also read numerous titles to my children and spent the majority of read-aloud time between the Little Britches series and "The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place" this year, with some "Ballet Shoes" for good measure for my ballerina girls!  Looking forward to a new year of reading, learning, and growing!  And to reading what others have found inspiring in their own readings of 2015!  Please share!


  1. Loving seeing and hearing a little bit about your favorite reads. I've been seeing Teaching from Rest pop up here and there and have been contemplating the read. Part of me feels a bit bored with it already and the other part is interested. What I'd REALLY like to hear/see is about a person who was raised home schooled and then went about with the same for their own kids. We're probably about 10 years out from such a title but that would be incredibly interesting to ME. In the meantime though, Teaching From Rest is hovering on my horizon.

  2. Hi Sherry!
    Thanks for your kind words and sharing your book list! I've read Teaching from Rest as well, the ebook version that she had come out with before this one at least. And, love Mitford too!!! I inadvertently had comments turned off on my book post - sorry! Happy Thursday! Monica



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...