December 30, 2015

Ermagherd... Berks! ...aka The Post About All the Books

Hey y'all... you know how I love me some books?

Well, it should come as no real surprise then that I would reflect back over the year and revisit some of my favorite reads! I'm linking up with Kate Motaung for a special Five Minute Friday link up on BERKS!!! 

Here is an almost exhaustingive list of books I read and loved this year! I left out the few that I didn't love... or didn't force myself to finish! You book lovers know what I mean, right? I used to think if I started it, I HAD to push through... yeah, no. I don't do that anymore!

Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order because you all KNOW how I can not pick a favorite!

We will start, however, with my TOP THREE READS:

1. Bandersnatch by Erika Morrison
Seriously... I loved this book so much! Partly because it was crazy confirmation and a kindred spirit... and partly because it scared the crap out of me that God would be stretching me even further.  Remember, back in the day, --the whole WWJD deal? Yeah... well, I can't tell you how many times I have held my breath and opened my arms because I think, What Would Erika Do?  This girl... she is poetic and intense and she is love and grace and broken and real... and she will make you want to be more like Jesus... and she will give you hope that it can be done -one step, one homeless hug, one bold and beautiful brokenhearted mess at a time... it can be done. This book will make you want to go and Bandersnatch all over the place! For a full Book review, click here

2. Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey

You guys... I love Sarah Bessey. You know this. I loved Jesus Feminist and her blog is one of my favorite places. Hearing her speak in person is something you should all try to do because when this girl prays... well... you want that, I assure you!  I forget how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book because I don't (yet) have it 'in the flesh'! I received an early edition copy via Kindle before it was available to order and I could not put it down! If/when I do get a hard copy, it will be highlighted, underlined, and dog-earred in ridiculous ways because OH MY GOODNESS... her story, her background and journey to and from and back to faith... well my story is different, but so much of it overlaps and interwines and who hasn't felt a bit Out of Sorts about their faith, but she assures us that even that is OK.  God can take our wondering --and our wandering... and He lures us back in with a love that takes our breath away and a grace that covers and heals and the generations continue... legacy lives on. I highly recommend this book!

3. The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith

Oh my goodness - this book! I read this book over the Summer with my Bible study ladies and I can't even tell you how much I fell in love with it!  It's all about slowing down and noticing... simply noticing that God is with you... in you. It was such confirmation and such a timely reminder for me... It's so good, in fact, that my small group went from this straight in to the next book in the 3book series! Highly highly highly recommend this!

Now... on to the rest!

4. Neighbors and Wise Men by Tony Kriz

I dove in to this book last year, in 2014.  I picked it up at the Faith and Culture conference in Portland after hearing Tony speak. This guy... I don't think I have ever met or heard anyone with such a strong gift for storytelling.  Tony tells a story and you think it is yours. He's gracious that way. He will share.  I wanted to savor his words and story and purposely went slowly... but then things got shuffled around and before I knew it, Faith and Culture was coming up again and I re-read this in January, knowing I would get another dose of Tony in the Spring.  I highly recommend this read. It stirs your faith, gives you freedom to not know all the answers, and helps you to search and wrestle and to live more fully right where you are! And then came Aloof...

5. Also by Tony Kriz: Aloof

...and Tony did not disappoint. The retelling of some of the stories of his life that have shaped him into who he is will give you freedom to be real... to question and to trust - even in the not knowing.  I am a faith girl... touchy-feely, emotional, ...I am prophetic in gifting and a seer of sorts. I didn't really like the idea of a God who is aloof... and yet, haven't we all cried out waiting... feeling alone. Tony points out that while God may be a bit aloof... you truly are never alone! He's not gone... it's just that sometimes He hides from us.  If you have ever felt like God was distant, or hiding... well - dive into this book and find comfort in knowing you are not alone!

6. The Good and Beautiful Life by James Bryan Smith

As I mentioned, my Bible study ladies didn't skip a beat - or a week... when we finished with Book One (above) we dug right in to Book Two. (We all agreed to dive in to Book Three together next year! guys, you know patience is not my strong suit!)

7. A Meal With Jesus by Tim Chester

I read through this book on my Kindle with GraceTable over the summer and oh my goodness! Just all the Yes and Amens! 

8. Longing For More by Timothy Willard

I bought this for my Honey and we both read through it this year for our morning devotions.  I love how it is laid out... not your typical Jan 1, Jan 2, kind of format... and of course, Timothy Willard... poetic and rich!

9. You're Loved No Matter What by Holley Gerth
I love me some Holley Gerth! She is an encourager and releaser and in this book, she not only urges you to give up the striving for perfection, but she gives you tools to know who you are, and what you are called to do and through it all - she reminds you that, no matter what, you are loved by God! At the heart of this book, she wants you to know that you were never created to be perfect! 

Just let. it. go. (Not as in Frozen, but as in stop the madness, my friends!)

Perfectionism always tells you that you are not enough, that you are lacking or less than, that you must try harder and do more. Perfectionism is bossy and exhausting and oh my goodness, it just never ever ends. However, as Holley points out, 
"Gratitude is like kryptonite to perfectionism." (You're Loved No Matter What, pg 140)

10. and also by Holley Gerth: You're Going To Be Okay

Again, classic Holley! You'll love it!


In my book, anything written by Jennie Allen (ya see what I did there?) is a Must Read! I also LOVED her study Restless (book, workbook, DVDs! So good!)

12. For the Love

Right? What is better than a collection of essays by Jen Hatmaker that make you literally laugh out loud and cry and pray and join with her in the fight for grace? Nothing... well - not much anyway! Not much could be better! (And Oh yes... this is my signed and perfumed copy... for those of you in the know!)

13. Every Little Thing by Deidra Riggs

Another one of my favorite people... I was given an advanced Kindle version of Every Little Thing but I had to buy my own hard copy! (You know, for all the highlighting and underlining and such! I'm just a die hard old school book lover, it turns out!)  This book... well... you can read my full review here

14. Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman

So I can't tell you how excited I was for this one.  I was honored to be sent an Advanced Reader copy and as much as I wanted to sip it slow... I just couldn't do it! Well - I gulped it down to about the halfway point and made myself go back and start over, slowly... to savor it and, I don't know, actually LIVE the message of Simply Tuesday! You can read my review for that here. Just know this... you need this book, my friend!

15. Wild in the Hollow by Amber Haines

OK - so I am noticing a trend here... apparently I love writers how are poetic and breathe peace and space and open an invitation to just be... to not pretend.  Writers with whom I would love to sit and have coffee for hours (and hours and hours)... and Amber is like that.  Honestly - at this point, I am just trying to get over the fact that I went looking for my copy and I (gasp...) can. not. find. it.  What? I'm sure I loaned it out because, of course! But normally I have a spare to loan with the books that made my soul sing.  You can read my full book review here.

16. brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Again... pure poetry (as in, for real! Poetry.)

I've found this year that I mostly use my Kindle to read non-fiction.  I also found that I did not, in fact, read enough fiction in 2015.

17. Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

This was just fun! I was in need of a short fiction read and I think it was Lisa-Jo Baker who suggested it, so I knew I couldn't go wrong. Plus, you know... Mr. Darcy. So... I finished it and immediately bought Lizzy and Jane (same author.)

18. Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay

19. Eve by William Paul Young

I know The Shack was --uh, controversial. I loved it. I loved how creative it was and how some of the conversations that Mack had with God were nearly word for word conversations that I had had with God. It made me look at the Trinity in a whole new way and I had high hopes for Eve.  Eve was a little more sci-fi-ish (for lack of a better genre to pin down?) than I normally prefer... I had to push through a lot further than I would had it not been for The Shack. Still - by the time I reached the end, I was so glad that I didn't give up on it!  It's definitely worth a read --especially if you are open and more in to fiction than I was this year!

And my stack of Currently Reading is piled high... but includes #'s 20-30:

Even If Not by Kaitlyn Bouchillon
Girl Meets Change by Kristen Strong
Curious Faith by Logan Wolfram
A Mile Wide by Brandon Hatmaker
Translating God: Hearing God's Voice for Yourself and the World Around You by Shawn Bolz
Healthy & Free: A Journey to Wellness for Your Body, Soul, and Spirit by Beni Johnson
Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World by  Nish Weiseth
Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected by Kayla Aimee
The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning
God Without Religion: Can It Really Be This Simple by Andrew Farley
Pray, Write, Grow: Cultivating Prayer and Writing Together by Ed Cyzewski

I know? Sigh... you can see why maybe my Honey thinks I have a problem?  I tend to read too many at once until one really grabs me and then all the others get pushed to the side (you know... for a day or two, so I can finish!)

I didn't even talk about the new releases that I am anticipating this year (like books by Ann Voskamp, Annie Downs, Shauna Niequist, and Shannan Martin! #Squee!)

Yeah... maybe I do have a problem... 

So - what did you read this year that really stuck with you or spoke to you? I'd love to hear, because --you know, BERKS!!! 


  1. So fun! Love connecting with fellow book-lovers. Thanks so much for posting and sharing! I'm hoping to read Brown Girl Dreaming this coming year, along with many others here .. ;-) I've heard SO many good things about Bandersnatch. Here's to another year of great books!

    1. Oh you will love brown girl dreaming - and Bandersnatch! I can't wait for some of the new releases coming next year!

  2. I love how we've read a lot of the same books....again kindred spirits! I can't tell you how excited I am for Annie Downs new book and so many others too. I also need to check out so many of the authors you mentioned that I've never heard of. Love you friend! And I too did not read enough fiction books this year either.

    1. Yes and Amen... I love how Annie has asked for prayer as she has written this new one and so so many of us already feel connected - even pre-launch team! ;) And yes - let's agree to read more fiction this year! Happy New Years Eve, my friend! (Are you doing anything fun? Vox me!)

  3. Anonymous9:42 PM

    :D Ermagherd... Berks!! Love it!! My Kindle keeps me reading. I need to look at Dear Mr. Knightley, that one has popped up on several lists.

    1. Oh you will love it... (and Lizzy and Jane!) - because really, how could one go wrong with any kind of version of P&P? Happy New Year and Happy Reading!

  4. So glad I stopped here as I discovered some I had not read so now I can begin my list for 2016 :) May you & yours have a blessed new year!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Joanne! (I am making a list from this link up as well!) Happy New Year, my friend!

  5. I'm right in the middle of Sarah Bessey's book even as we speak! I'm reading about a half a chapter, maybe a whole one at a time ... there's so much to savor, sit with, muse over.

    Deidra's is next, perched right on top of a few library must-reads on the little blue stool by the window.

    It's a great day to curl under a quilt and read away. Happy New Year, Karrilee!

    1. Amen! Any day is a good day to read - but I hear you! We aren't supposed to get out of the TEENS this weekend... my plan (shockingly) is to stay inside with lots of coffee, and lots of books! Happy New Year to you, Linda! Here's to a great 2016!

  6. I absolutely love the title of this post! Berks, lol! I'm piling up a list of books to read for 2016 and now I'm adding Out of Sorts to the list! I completely forgot about it until just now. I keep saying this, but there were a lot of great books this year.

    1. There were a TON of great books... and even making my list, I kept thinking - I know I am leaving some out... I tend to loan or give books away - or forget I have downloaded them... You are going to LOVE Out of Sorts! I need to get a hard copy so I can read it again and underline all the lovely things! Happy New Year!

  7. You're the third person who liked Dear Mr. Knightly...I guess it's time to go out and buy it! I love Jane Austen things :). I'll have to look at Eve, too. I'm not a sic-fi kind of person either, but I really loved The Shack. Thanks for sharing your favs! Have a wonderful 2016!

    1. I adored The Shack... and you will love Dear Mr. Knightley! Happy New Year, my friend!


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