2017: Books in Quick Review

In no specific order, here are my non-fiction reads from 2017.  I hope these tiles inspire your own literary journey this year. Happy Reading!

This book was my inspiration for 2017. My goal was to make it the full year without social media, but I only lasted six months before I caved during my recovery this summer. But, this book served as a reminder that life is best lived beyond the screen. I may spend multiple days in front of the screen in pursuit of my degree, but that does not mean I should stop searching for ways to live outside my four walls. I highly recommend this book if you are finding yourself living in front of your screens to much, even if you do not last a year off, you will be challenged to embrace real life in a big way.

This is one of the first books I read this year and the only book I reviewed in 2017; it rocked my world. I have and continue to struggle with comparison and continually hustling to prove myself to the world around me. This book broke down some personal walls for me as I fight to stay in pursuit of the life God has given me to live. Slowness is not a dirty word, even though the world says otherwise. This book continues to challenge me to fight to live my story and live it out loud. To embrace the actual slow moment as well as redefining my thoughts on success. Highly recommend this book that is a part of my permanent collection of books. 

I am a huge fan of Laura Casey, the visionary behind the PowerSheets, which is a purposeful goal planning workbook that helps individuals live a progress over perfection lifestyle. 2017 was the first year I used PowerSheets and I accomplished and grew more in a year than I ever have before. In light of using PowerSheets I thought I would start 2017 by reading Laura’s first book. Make It Happen, helped me think and dream beyond my own understanding of myself. To live on purpose and value the progress that takes place on a daily basis within the story of my life. I highly recommend Laura’s book and her PowerSheets, they have changed the way I look at and live my life.

This is Uncle Si’s second book and unlike the first one, this book dives more into his life story and the lessons he has learned along the way. From the Vietnam War to how Si met his sweetheart, this book is light hearted and an encouraging read. This was a quick read for me and was one of the happiest books I read this year.

One of the most relatable books I read this year, I highly recommend this read to any single girl living life in this world. Even if you are not single this read will make you laugh, cry, and think all at the same time. I could not put this book down as I cringed and learned with Stephanie along her journey of growing and navigating the single life. God’s faithfulness endures forever. 

I became captivated by Amy Purdy when she was on Dancing with the Stars. Her story is one of perseverance and saying “yes” when the world says “no”.  This was another quick read for me and one of my top picks in the Memoir category for 2017. Empowering, encouraging, and inspiring Amy Purdy is a beautiful soul. 

After reading Megan’s story I have an even stronger desire to serve those who are oppressed in our world. It is easy for me to stay in my bubble and not acknowledge the injustice going on in the majority of the world. This book was a strong reminder that when Jesus has placed something on your heart no matter how crazy and hard it may seem to the world and yourself, God is faithful. That is all that matters, God is faithful and when we commit our days to Him amazing things happen. Highly recommend this book if you want to be challenged and pushed to see beyond the box you keep yourself in.

I cried through this entire book. Lacey, if you do not know is was the lead singer of Flyleaf, one of my dad and I’s favorite rock groups. In her first book Lacey tells her raw story of sex, drugs, suicide and rock and roll and how God transformed her life from the inside out. Depression and suicide are a part of my story and I connected deeply with her life story. She writes in a completely raw and beautiful way that challenges my own writing style. She holds nothing back and I will not hold back how much I recommend this read, especially if you or someone you love is struggling to see that this one precious and wild life is worth living. 

This book was a wildcard for me. I did not know what to expect from it, I just liked the beautiful cover. I was pleasantly surprised at how relatable and encouraging this book was for young women. This book would make a great present for any girl graduating high school or in her college years, as it is a series of letters encouraging young women through those beautiful hard years of growth and maturity in faith and responsibility. This will be one of my go to gifts for the graduating ladies in my life. 

She Reads Truth is not just a book but a movement of women desiring to stay plugged in to God’s Word. This book is a behind the scenes look at both of the women behind the movement and how their lives have been shaped by the truth of God’s word. I was encouraged by this book and it was cool to get to know the women behind the movement. This is a great read for anyone looking for a push to dive back into or start studying the Bible. 

This book did not blow my mind or show me anything new about myself or God, but it did serve as a reminder that what is going on in my mind matters. How I talk to myself in my mind and out loud has an effect on my attitude, how I view God, and the others around me. What I speak over my life matters just as much as what I accept into my heart. A great book and a quick read if you are struggling with negative self-talk and perspective. 

This was my dud of the year. I hate saying that because I believe every book and every word that is written serves a purpose. This book just did not live up to the hype I had in my mind and did not serve me well in my season of life. With that said I could see this book encouraging younger women and I highly recommend Mandy’s other books as well. She does crack me up and her words are filled with sass and grace. This book may not be a part of my permanent collection, but I think it will sit well with young women in their mid to late teens and early twenties. 

This book was heavy in the best way possible. This past year has been a year of release and letting go of the weights in my life and part of that process has been learning to not pretend. I am a social morpher and have spent way to many years stuffing my emotions and feelings to keep the peace. This book was part of the process of breaking down walls and learning to lament in my life and embracing the biblical truth of releasing emotions, to live a life of authenticity and soul health. 

This book wrecked my heart. 2017 year was an emotionally difficult year going through the 12-step program and this book helped keep me fueled and going as it challenged me to look at my faith through fresh eyes. Growing up in the church can be a challenge, but like each of us on our various journeys we can become burnt out and bored with everything that goes along with believing in Jesus. This book energized my spirit and tore down some bitterness walls in my heart towards the church and organized Christianity. This book is a lifelong companion for my soul. 

Nicole Nordeman is a brilliant writer, I love her music and thoroughly enjoyed this book. Love Story gave me a desire to dive back into the Old Testament and embrace the stories I grew up hearing over and over to the point that my heart grew cold towards them. This book is different in that Nicole takes us on a journey of her life through the eyes of these familiar biblical characters as she is going through the process of writing the music for The Story album. It is a brilliant book and great if you are struggling to fall in love with the Old Testament tales. Another book that will stay on my shelf for years to come.

Wild in the Hollow was a breath of grace. Every single individual’s life journey is beautiful and messy and I tend to desire my life not only to look, but be beautiful all the time, when in reality it is a hot mess. My days are filled with ups and downs as I journey through and they have been that way since the beginning of time. Amber’s story is hard, real, and I have a huge amount of respect for anyone who can write their story with such fierce wild abandon for the sake of others knowing Jesus better. You will cry, laugh, and connect with the beautiful brokenness of humanity and the power of grace in a life. Grace is beautiful and so are these words, another keeper for the life library. 

I love a good book of essays and this one is on my list of favorites. Grace again has been a theme in 2017 and this book was good to read during a rough college class when my reading time was not as long as I would’ve liked it to be. This book is filled with essays from some of my favorite Christian authors including Emily P. Freeman, Holley Gerth, Ann Voskamp, and Leeana Tankersley. This was a sweet book and was again uplifting during a time when I was striving for the impossible; perfection on this side of heaven. 

I have read most of Shauna’s books, and this one may be my favorite. Perfectionism is one of my struggles and this book has brought me back to the truth…. this life is a journey and my struggles and your struggles will never be over and done, we are on a journey of transformation through the power of the Holy Spirit. Being present in my life looks like saying no to all the things that I spend time on that do not benefit my soul and cultivating what matters; people over image and perception. I cannot recommend this book enough. It was definitely a great book to lead into a New Year and chapter of life.

That is a wrap on my Non-fiction 2017 Booklist. As always my fiction list is way to long for me to compile into one post for you. But my fiction journey included making it through 48 of the 65 Nancy Drew Books, all the new Karen Kingsbury from 2017, and my new discovery was the Gender Game books, if you like Hunger Games and Divergent this is a series for you. 

I hope you are always reading books that inspire and challenge you. 

- Hannah