Friday, January 1, 2016

The Books I Read in 2015

If there's any resolution I find completely worthy of my time it is this:
a continued devotion to learning. 

And so, reading has become a new and surprisingly rewarding part of my life. I didn't know I enjoyed reading so much until recently. I feel like mine is a common story of spending the first 18-24 years of your life in school (where reading was required) and then, finding out you actually like reading when you get to choose your next book.

In 2015, I vowed to read 20 books and read 44. Woot!

It may seem a bit presumptuous to assume that anyone cares what I read this past year, but I hope that if you're looking for your next book, we can help each other out.

Here's what I read this past year:

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as 
Literally as Possible 
by A.J. Jacobs

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose
by Eckhart Tolle

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 
by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 
by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 
by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by J.K. Rowling

Notes from the Internet Apocalypse
by Wayne Gladstone

The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around 
the World Live and Buy as They Do
by Cloture Rapaille

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
by Miguel Ruiz

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
by Anne Lamott

Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community
by Robert D. Putnam

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
by C.S. Lewis

Prince Caspian
by C.S. Lewis

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader 
by C.S. Lewis

The Silver Chair
by C.S. Lewis

The Horse and His Boy
by C.S. Lewis

The Magician's Nephew
by C.S. Lewis

The Last Battle
by C.S. Lewis

Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father's Questions about 
by Gregory A. Boyd

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga)
by Andrew Peterson

North! or Be Eaten (The Wingfeather Saga)
by Andrew Peterson

The Monster in the Hollows (The Wingfeather Saga)
by Andrew Peterson

The Warden and the Wolf King (The Wingfeather Saga)
by Andrew Peterson

A Year of Biblical Womanhood
by Rachel Held Evans

The Kill Order
by James Dashner

The Maze Runner
by James Dashner

The Scorch Trials
by James Dashner

The Death Cure 
by James Dashner

by Veronica Roth

Four: A Divergent Story Collection
by Veronica Roth

by Veronica Roth

by Veronica Roth

The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? 
by Seth Godin

What is the What
by Dave Eggers

The Help 
by Kathryn Stockett

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
by Malala Yousafzai

Yes Please
by Amy Poehler

Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia
by Carmen Bin Laden

The Great Divorce 
by C.S. Lewis

A Year with Hafiz: Daily Contemplations
by Hafiz

I grew up thinking that fiction was kind of a waste of time.  I was wrong. Most of my reading this year came from beautiful, intriguing, thoughtful works of fiction that--frankly--rocked my world. In order by favorite fictional series:

-Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
   Hands-down amazing. Where have I been? Now nearly everything I do or say
   deserves a Harry Potter reference.

-Divergent by Veronica Roth
   A pretty close second. I loved Tris. I fell in love with her quiet power.

-The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson
   Andrew Peterson may disagree, but I put his series above C.S. Lewis'
   Chronicles of Narnia because I so loved the characters that carried me
   through the book.

-The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
   Obviously a classic series for a reason. An intriguing story I will not
   soon forget.

-The Maze Runner by James Dashner
   My least favorite series, but still a fascinating "what if" kind of story that
   has a lot of action.

The most fascinating book I read this year:

-The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around 
the World Live and Buy as They Do
by Cloture Rapaille

   I am fascinated by culture. How we are different. How we are the same. Why we are the way we are. This was the book for me. This guy has studied and identified specific characteristics of what "speaks to" different cultures around the world. For example, the way you market a Jeep after World War II in America is different than the way you market it in France. In America, the imagery of horses fit well into our middle-class, working-man imagery. However, the French saw America as a liberator after World War II and so they sold tons of Jeeps to French citizens who were inspired by the militarily-focused advertising. Whoa.

My number one recommendation this year (is actually two-fold):


   I recommend these books specifically based on our political climate in America. There is a lot of tension right now between the U.S. and the Middle East mostly--I propose--because we don't know enough about each other. We are operating on a great deal of fear when we make assumptions about what it means to be Muslim person without even having a single Muslim friend to reference. This is the closest I have to Muslims friends and they've taught me a lot. Both of these women invited me into two deeply person stories about Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan and Carmen Bin Laden (the sister-in-law of Osama Bin Laden) in Saudi Arabia. Both of them helped me to see the world a little more clearly. And I'm grateful.

So, in 2016 I'm going for 45 books.

If you've got any of your own favorite books to share, do tell!


Troy Beans said...


I am inspired! 44 books is very impressive! My business coach this year told me I needed to read a book three times. 1. For knowledge. 2. For understanding and 3. To implement it into my life. I have actually started to do this with some books and have found it to be an amazing experience. When the book is really good it feels like I reading a new book each time.

I certainly want to read the two books you recommend. Spending three weeks in Egypt with Michael was certainly an eye opener.

My list is not everything but I must admit I was not keeping track at the time I read them.

1. The speed of Trust. Stephen M.R. Covey (Son of Stephen Covey)

2. Redeeming Love Francine Rivers
I have read this four times. For me the best book I have ever read on God's love for us.

3. Clean Dr. Doug Weiss A proven plan for men Committed to Sexual Purity

4. The Greatest Salesman in the World OG Mandino
This book was truly a life changer for me. This book has 10 scrolls and Mandio says to really learn them you must read a scroll three times per day for 1 month until you have read all 10 scrolls. I took it to heart and did it. I will admit did not read each scroll three times per day every day by any stretch but I still will read a scroll from time to time. Powerful truth. It has changed me forever!

5. Leadership and Self-Deception The Arbinger Institute
In my opinion this is a must read for every human on the planet! I read it back to back to back it was so good.

6. The Anatomy of Peace The Arbinger Institute
The sequel to Leadership and Self-Deception. Easy to read and just as profound. I am teaching a three week course at Burton Academy starting Monday Called Teenage Choices. This book is their required reading.

7. The Christ Commission Og Mandino

8. Selling 101 Zig Ziglar

9. The Greatest Salesman in the World II Og Mandino

10. The Greatest Miracle in the World OG Mandino

11. As Sure as the Dawn Francine Rivers

12. Scary Close Donald Miller

13. Ask Ryan Levesque

14. The Five most Important Questions You will ever Ask About Your Organization Peter Drucker

15. The Business System that Never Fails Benson Agbortogo

16. The Motivation Manifesto Brendon Burchard
Powerful life changing book!

17. Too Busy Not to Pray Bill Hybels
This book taught me how to pray.

18. Beautiful Outlaw John Eldredge
Powerful! What Jesus life was all about.

19. Christ's Object Lessons Ellen White
My favorite Ellen book.

20. The Shack Paul Young
I always find it provocative. We can all talk with Jesus all day every day and we just don't.

21. My Utmost for His Highest Oswald Chambers
Still reading but it is the most raw, provocative in your face book I have ever read on what the bottom line of what it means to immerse yourself in Jesus. The bare truth of Christianity.

Heather, thanks for sharing your list! The thing with books is in a lifetime you can't come close to reading them all. Always good to see what is moving other people.