Since 2011, I’ve been keeping a list of every single book I read (or listened to) each year. It’s a great way to track how many books I read, as well as the wild diversity in my book selections. 2015 was no different. I read 50 books for the year, which was a huge bump up from 2014 when I only completed 14 books for the year. No doubt being off on maternity leave for 3 months in 2015 helped ratchet up my count.
Trying to pick my favorite books for the year is always challenging. My book selections for 2015 included biographies/memoirs, productivity hacks, hospitality books, my first foray into dystopian fiction, parenting guides and everything in between (including a couple of trash novels just to see what everyone was talking about). Here are a few of the books I found noteworthy:
Most Surprising Read: Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers
If I had judged this book by the cover alone, which I am prone to do, I would’ve never picked it up. However, when a friend at church gave high praise for this book, I decided to check it out. This book was Christian without being overtly preachy. Before I started reading it, this friend had told me it brings the Bible to life. Within a couple of chapters in, I was texting her to say I’d figured out what she meant. If you’d like a picture of what the love of Christ would look like in real life you’ll want to add this book to your reading list.
Laugh Out Loud Funny: Nobody’s Cuter Than You, Melanie Shankle (audio)
I fell hard for Melanie Shankle when I read another one of her books, Sparkly Green Earrings. When I say I laugh out loud when reading her books, I am not exaggerating. She is a fantastic story teller. The only problem is that once you start reading her books, you don’t want to stop. I listened to this one on audio, and I can’t tell you how many times I sat in the car after arriving at my destination because I wanted to hear the rest of a chapter. This book focuses on her relationship with her best friend and partner in crime, Gulley. If you need a pick me up, this book will have you rolling at their non-stop antics.
Best Productivity Book: Eat That Frog, Brian Tracy
This book was a key catalyst for changing the way I work at the office. Instead of keeping busy with small, easy-to-do tasks, it challenged me to start off my day with those projects that I dread the most. As taxing as that can be, once I complete those tasks, sailing through the rest of my to do list is a breeze. This book was such a game changer that I started taking the same attitude with household chores. Even now, when I catch myself rolling over the same task on my to do list from week to week, I remind myself to, eat that frog!
The Book that Blew My Mind: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
I was completely fascinated by this story from cover to cover. It’s the unfortunate but real story of a black woman, Henrietta Lacks, whose cervical cancer cells were harvested without her knowledge or consent and used across the world for medical research. While many in the medical industry have profited from the use of Henrietta’s cells, Henrietta and her descendants were not among them. The unfortunate thing is that Henrietta’s story is not an anomaly in American history. The Tuskegee experiment and similar others took advantage of the 2nd rate status of minorities in the name of medical research.
Best Parenting Book That’s Not a Parenting Book, A Curious Mind, Brian Glazer
This was an enjoyable, if not quirky, read. I call it a parenting book because it provided great suggestions on how to spark your curiosity. Throughout the book I kept highlighting tips and motivational quotes to use with my kids. If you aren’t familiar with Brian’s name, he’s a big-time Hollywood producer behind hit t.v. shows like 24 and Friday Night Lights, as well as movies like Splash and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. His habit of intentionally scheduling meetings with interesting people throughout the year is one I’d like to copy.