50 Books in 2017

In an effort to rekindle my long-lost (or stolen by the kids!) love of reading, I set a goal to read 50 books in 2017, loosely using Tim Challies’ reading challenge. Between naptimes, bedtimes, and school pick-up line, I checked 52 books off of my to-be-read list. Here are my top 10 (in no particular order), plus a few honorable mentions, and the complete list of what I read this year can be found below (or follow me on Goodreads).

Top Ten:

None Like Him by Jen Wilkin 

This was the first book I’ve read of Jen Wilkin’s and it was fantastic! It could be a quick and easy read, but it’s best enjoyed slowly. I liked the questions at the end of each chapter, as they helped me think more deeply about each attribute of God.


Prayer by Tim Keller
I’d been looking for a book that would help me develop and maintain a consistent habit of prayer and Tim Keller’s thorough explanation of the purpose of prayer and the way it’s been viewed historically was really helpful to me. Highly recommend this one, but be prepared for it to take awhile to get through.


A Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent
A concise yet comprehensive explanation of the Gospel in the life of the believer. I especially appreciated the prose version (as opposed to the daily reading section and the poetry). This is one I’ll probably reread on a regular basis.


Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss
I’d never read this classic before, but it’s going on my all-time favorites list. Katherine is easy to identify with, and seeing her growth and transformation through her own eyes is both challenging and an encouraging reminder that sanctification is a process. This reads more like a memoir and is in diary/letter format.


Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall
I found this analysis of international geopolitics totally fascinating. It’s 10 maps and chapters describing the limitations and restraints that geography (both physical and cultural) places on various countries/regions. A great read if that type of study is your cup of tea.


Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
This book was eye-opening in its discussion of the difficulties faced by hundreds of thousands of American renters. It was extremely well researched (the author lived near and with those he writes about) and reads more like a narrative, following the ups and downs of several renters and two landlords.


Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
This well-written novel follows two young women on the coast of Africa in the years of the slave trade. It was both fascinating and heartwrenching and gives context to the generational consequences of slavery. I had a hard time putting it down and the story has stuck with me ever since.


The Time in Between by Maria Duenas
I loved the creative storyline of this novel, which tells the heroics of a young Spanish woman who overcomes her fear and heartbreaking obstacles and uses her vocation to fight the rise of Nazi influence in pre-WWII Spain and Morocco. If you like the movie Casablanca, you’d probably like this book.


Harry Potter Series
Somehow I’m about 15+ years behind the curve, but I finally read the whole series this year and loved them. I think unless you’re like me, you’ve already read them also so I needn’t say more.



All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
I didn’t expect to enjoy this one as much as I did, picking it up only because it fulfilled the “memoir” category on the Challies reading challenge. It was delightful and entertaining, even for this non-animal lover, detailing the ins and outs of a country veterinarian in rural 1930s Yorkshire. I especially liked it because it’s enjoyable without being a pageturner.

Honorable Mentions:

Good News for Weary Women by Elyse Fitzpatrick
Unseduced and Unshaken by Rosalie DeRosset
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Everything Else:

(from least recent to most recent)

  1. Adoption: What Joseph of Nazareth Can Teach Us About This Countercultural Choice – Russell D. Moore
  2. Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
  3. I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith
  4. The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir – Jennifer Ryan
  5. Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
  6. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith
  7. All Things for Good – Thomas Watson
  8. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan
  9. Still Life – Louise Penny
  10. Luther and the Reformation: The Life Springs of Our Liberties – J.A. Seiss
  11. Peril and Peace: Chronicles of the Ancient Church – Mindy and Brandon Winthrow
  12. Britt-Marie Was Here – Fredrik Backman
  13. Does God Control Everything – R.C. Sproul
  14. Prince Caspian – C.S. Lewis
  15. The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming – Sally and Sarah Clarkson
  16. Lilac Girls – Martha Hall Kelly
  17. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy – Eric Metaxas
  18. The Help – Kathryn Stockett
  19. The Mysterious Affair at Styles – Agatha Christie
  20. Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer – Priscilla Shirer
  21. David Brainerd: May I Never Loiter On My Heavenly Journey – John Piper
  22. The Murder on the Links – Agatha Christie
  23. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race – Margot Lee Shetterly
  24. Life After – Katie Ganshert
  25. Exalting Jesus in Ephesians – Tony Merida
  26. I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference – Thom S. Rainer
  27. A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
  28. First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s First Ladies – Kate Andersen Brower
  29. All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
  30. The War that Saved My Life – Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  31. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith
  32. Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie
  33. Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything – Anne Bogel
  34. At Home in Mitford – Jan Karon
  35. Crossing to Safety – Wallace Stegner
  36. Monks and Mystics: Chronicles of the Medieval Church – Mindy and Brandon Winthrow

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