Yes, I did it! I read 106 books this year. That’s a new record for me. So in case you’re curious or just want to try out some good recommendations, here are my five-star reads in no particular order:
- Paul Faber: Surgeon by George MacDonald – The main character is a surgeon and an atheist in a predominantly Christian community. What could go wrong?
- The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde – Witty, clever; I could read this a million times and it would still make me laugh.
- The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux – The book is quite different from the movie adaptation. It’s darker and sadder and, well, just sadder.
- Daniel Deronda by George Eliot – Reading this was like being with a friend. I miss Daniel.
- The Man Who Forgot His Wife by John O’Farrell – Man develops amnesia in the middle of a divorce, but the new him is still very fond of his wife.
- Further Tales from a Country Practice by Arthur Jackson – Short stories following a country physician and his patients. Clever, poignant and heartwarming.
- Second Honeymoon by Joanna Trollope – An aging couple try to come to terms with the fact that their children have left the nest. Very interesting conversation where one daughter’s relationship is threatened by differences in income – a good, honest look into evolving gender roles and expectations.
- Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen – This book just takes you to another world. It’s a first in a very engaging series, though I loved this one best.
- The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella – Successful lawyer, after a series of uncanny misfortunes, finds herself employed as a housekeeper. Fun ensues.
- A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – It wasn’t particularly just a children’s book, neither was it a horror story as I initially assumed. This one was just moving and honest and yes, sad.
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – This was the kind of story that made me want to throw things and scream at nonexistent people. I love it.
- Boy by Roald Dahl – I miss childhood. If you do too, read this one.
- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – Yes, I read the book before the movie. And yes, this story made me think big, big thoughts.
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – I’m still to read the third book in this series and I’ve forgotten why I was so invested in the characters but yes, I do remember loving the writing and the world and the characters in this book so much.
- Legion by Brandon Sanderson – This is probably the shortest book by Brandon Sanderson and the first one of his that I read from start to finish. The premise was excellent and interestingly enough it was the first time I encountered a Filipino as one of the main characters in mainstream Western fiction.
- Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella – What I love about this book, apart from it being witty and lighthearted like all other works by Sophie Kinsella, is that it makes the reader see how the elderly are still just like us, young at heart, regardless of how slow and seemingly boring their outer shells might make them appear to most people.
- Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke – Discovered this book because of a book club I was part of. It basically summarizes everything I already believed in the way I picked out which books to read. I’m only sorry I didn’t write this myself!
- God is the Gospel by John Piper – A very enlightening piece about the purpose for which God created the world. This can dramatically change the way we think about God, humanity, and ourselves personally.
- When Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper – A compelling look into depression and how it fits into and finds sense in the Christian life.
- Don’t Follow Your Heart by Jon Bloom – The world keeps on saying “Follow your heart,” but the Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure (Jer 17:9).”
PSYCHOLOGY & GENERAL NONFICTION
- The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog by Bruce Perry – True stories from a psychiatrist’s notebook about traumatized and abused children and young victims of violence.
- Start Something that Matters by Blake Mycoskie – How to build on your abilities and make your mark in the world.
- The Man Who Couldn’t Stop by David Adam – A firsthand narrative about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
- A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf – Thoughts on the highs and lows of writing life. This is a classic but it still rings true as ever.
- Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein – Loved the illustrations, loved the writing. Shel Silverstein can condense pages of thought into three lines of verse.
- What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones – A novel written in verse. It’s a coming-of-age story full of wit and humor and explores the challenges of growing up. And this was a banned book.
And here are the books I am still in the middle of reading:
- Belgravia by Julian Fellowes
- Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
- The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
- The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
Join me on Goodreads and see what I thought of the rest of the books I’ve read or drop me a line or share a thought in the comments below.
Happy New Year!