Best Reads for 2015

Please accept my apology for the book I just wrote about the books I just read….fear not…read on…
Book Club ~ best reads of 2014

It’s been a few months since I’ve posted about our book club and any other reading I’ve done.  Where did 2014 go??  I’m sure if you love to read as I do you are looking ahead to a whole new year of reading, maybe setting goals as to what, and how much you want to read.  I’m not too much of a goal setter as far as reading goes, my goal is to get my book club book read and to read when ever I get the chance, usually at night!  I’m a late night reader.  When do you find time to read?

2014 was a challenging year for me.  Mentally.  Spiritually.  As a parent…and a wife.  I realized that I was searching for God in all the wrong places.  Or to be honest, I wasn’t searching.  I’d been coasting.  Coasting in relationships is not a good place to be, especially in the one you have with God.  It was a year of going through the motions for me, and about three-quarters of the way through I knew I needed some change.  I intended to read through the Bible at the beginning of the year but never followed through.  I did manage to read three books that I feel set the trajectory of my life for 2015 in a new better direction.  Can I get an Amen?!

three top picks:

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Love Does by Bob Goff–  I already shared about this book the last time I posted.  But quite honestly I can’t say enough about it.  Love does is a must read for everyone.  Bob Goff is my hero. This book reminded me life is not going to happen on its own.  God has given me choices and I can choose to get off my dairyer (hiney) and do, or I can sit back, stay in my comfort zone, and miss out on a lot of what loving on others has to offer.  Bob shares life through short real life stories/lessons showing us how to make faith simple and real;  how redirecting attitudes can be quite simply life changing.    I’m not saying that since I read this book I’ve done anything super incredible or even remotely awesome or spectacular but I will say its made me aware, it moved me out of my comfort zone.  It got me praying in a new way.  I promise you, you will not be able to put this book down once you start it, and if you are seeking change, wanting life to be fuller, then go get this book gol dernit!  It’s an easy read, it’s not preachy, I promise.

 

Best Reads for 2015

The next book I read was Radical by David Platt.  My husband read it first, well more like he read half the book out loud to me.  I knew this book was going to be a life changer.  Do you want life to be different?  Do you want to make a difference?  Do you want to be more like Jesus?  I mean really be more like Jesus.  Jesus was not a people pleaser.  Jesus was a God pleaser, a world changer.  I have to be honest.  I have not finished this book.  The last chapter is called The Radical Experiment – one year to a life turned upside down; that’s not intimidating at all.  Ken also did not read this last chapter.  We decided we need to read it together, because when your married its hard to turn the world upside down without taking your spouse along for the ride.  So we are taking a deep breath….stay tuned.

This book changed my perspective.  I’ve always been a bit of a “why go to China when we have our own problems, shouldn’t we be helping the people in our own back yard??” kinda person.  Well yes we should.  Of course we should, but the bible also tells us to go out to the nations (Matthew 28:18-20/Mark 16:15/Acts 1:8).  It helped me to see the needs of the world in a whole new way.

Probably the biggest impact this book had on me was how I viewed church.  If you live in America church is comfy, it’s easy, it’s air-conditioned and usually it has fresh brewed coffee with extra yummy creamers waiting for you.  You are also free to go and worship anytime anywhere, no questions asked.  This past summer our family found ourselves in the position of finding a new church home (why is a post for another day) Radical helped Ken and I determine that when looking for a new church home we needed to find a church where we could be used, not a church that we were necessarily comfortable in.  The church we found was definitely welcoming, but it’s not perfect by most peoples standards, but it it’s perfect for us.  It is mission minded and outward focused.  We haven’t been there too long but from what we can tell this church is not afraid to get radical and step out of comfort zones .  Side note: Do you know how many churches we visited that I honestly thought we must be invisible, but with three men that are quite close to giants and a african american child, I’m pretty sure that’s not the case!!  So weird. How much effort does it take to say Good Morning?

If you feel like God is saying I have way more out there for you, if you dare to be radical, I suggest you read this book.

Best Reads for 2015

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst

I gave a book to a neighbor friend to borrow and when she gave it back she gave me this book to keep, saying she had received an extra and wanted me to have it.  This book could not have come at a better time for me.  I know that God prompted her to give me this book, and I am so thankful she listened!  I said earlier that this has been a challenging year.  I’ve felt like I was literally swimming with my nostrils barely out of the water and the rest of my body sinking.  I can’t pin point why life seems to be drowning me.  A few things have changed; Ken’s job has become increasingly demanding keeping him busier which makes having (much needed) family time more challenging.   My children are older, which to those of you with small children may seem like a picnic, but parenting never gets easier.  It changes.  But it never gets easier.  The Best Yes is everything I needed and a bag a chips…plus a pickle and a pop…not diet.

This book spoke to me in so many ways, but right in the beginning Lysa writes….
When all of life feels like an urgent rush from one demand to another, we become forgetful.  We forget simple things like where we put our car keys or that one crucial ingredient for dinner when we run into the grocery store.  But even more disturbing, we forget God.  We say with our mouths that we are trusting and relying on God, but are we really?

Oh good golly.  This is me!

This book is full of life lessons.  Some I knew, but forgot.  Some were new to me lessons.  Some I knew, but had been ignoring.  Three stand outs from this book for me.  1. Assessing my time and where I spend it right down to my sleep.  I used Lysa’s time assessment tool. Ahhh I have some work to do.  Confession too much time wasted on unnecessary social media and crap.  I’m going to call it what it is 2048 and trivia crap, I mean crack, Facebook.  2. Wisdom requires work.  Just like anything I want to become good at I need to practice it, I need to pursue it.  Proverbs 2:1-11 tells us to accept Gods word, store up his commands in our hearts, listen to wise teachers, call out/ask for insight, cry out for understanding, look for wisdom passionately as we would look for buried treasure.  I need to put this verse into practice.   3.  Hebrews 10:24 one my favorite passages from the bible tells us to “consider how we may spur on another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another and all the more as you see the day approaching.”  Chapter 15 how I love you let me count the ways.  This chapter revived and reminded me how I love to spend time with others how I love to bring people together.  How much I love to encourage people with hospitality and food.

Lysa’s writing is so real and relatable.  When I read her words I feel like if we lived near each other we would be partners in crime.  She is funny and real.  I think every woman, especially women with kiddos, should read this book!  Because as wife, moms, and friends when we say Yes we want it to be the Best Yes!

Best Reads for 2015

 

 

my husbands picks: Ken is a reader, he is always reading something.  He really loves crime drama, think Patricia Cromwell, Stieg Larson type books, but he rarely reads fiction any more.  He always has at least one leadership, self betterment type book at his bedside or in his bag.  The books below are is top three of 2014.  When he loves a book, he can’t not share it with me, so I feel like I’ve read these books, because he practically read each of these books out loud to me in bed.  Gotta love em!

The Happiness Advantage – the seven principles of positive psychology that fuel success and performance at work by Shawn Achor

Drucker and Me – how Peter Drucker and a Texas entrepreneur conspired to change the world by Bob Buford

Rumsfeld’s Rules : leadership lessons in business, politics, war, and life by Donald Rumsfeld

Best Reads for 2015

 

others books I read this year:

The Light Between Oceans I really enjoyed this book. It’s set in Australia on a remote light house station. Click on the book to read more about it on Goodreads.  I’d have to say this was one of my favorite reads of the 2014.  I just found out it’s been made into a movie to be released this year!!

The Giver – I loved this book.  It was a quick read, the characters grabbed me, and the story really tugged at my heart strings.  Plus I think it’s fun to read what my kids are reading, it gives us something different to talk about.

A Long Walk to Water This book is based on a true story of a Sudanese boy and his survival.  This is also a super quick read, that I read because Cece was reading it, but I would definitely recommend reading it.

Reconstructing Amelia I could not put this book down.  This book is about a mother who has to reconstruct her dead daughters life to find out who she really was and what happened to her before she died.   Super duper sad, and disturbing on so many levels, made me want to take my kids phones, and all social media away and hide them in a cave until the second coming, but yes I’d say read it!!  Ha!

The Divergent Trilogy – I’m getting a little tired of dystopian type books.  I read the Hunger Games series and liked it now this one, there was also the Maze Runner series that my kiddos read, I’m sure there are about 50 others.  This series kept my attention, it was an easy read.  I do have to warn you although there isn’t any sex in the book there is quite a bit of heating smooching, grabbing, slamming against walls in dark corners so if this is not what you want your 5th or 6th grader reading you’ve been warned.

book club book reviews:

Best Reads for 2015

 

I can’t believe that the last time I did a book club update was March.  March! March, how is that possible. Nearly a year ago?  That is proof in the pudding that time does fly!  So with out rambling on too much, I will link each book to Goodreads so you can read for yourself what it’s all about and then I’ll let you know if we as a book club enjoyed it.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane No one hated this book, it was sort of a neutral book.  Not the best, not the worst, we had decent discussion about it.  I personally would say for book club there a far better books to read and talk about.

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats Book club loved it.  Great book club read!  Read it!

All the Light We Cannot See This book won the readers choice for 2014 on Goodreads.  We agreed!  Everyone loved this book.  Really good book club book, so much to talk about, consider, and discuss.  Read it!

The Silver Star (by Jeannette Walls author of Glass Castle) This was not our favorite book club read.  We had pretty good discussion, but everyone agreed that this book was sub par when compared to her first book Glass Castle.  It was an easy read.  I enjoyed it, and actually wanted to see it to the end.  I think I gave it three stars.  Wasn’t a favorite over all by the Babes Under Covers.

Defending Jacob Everyone loved this book, all gave it a thumbs up. I was unable to make it to book club, but I heard the discussion was lively.  There is a lot going on in this book, regarding ethics, parenting, the law, and much more which makes it a great book club read! Read it!

what the Babes Undercovers are reading next:

Best Reads for 2015

 

 

March Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall

May     Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

July     The Rent Collector by Camron Wright

Phew!  Sorry that got a little long.  Thanks for sticking with me.  I’d love to hear what your favorite books of 2014 were!!  Lets get a conversation going!

Cheers to 2015! May you have time to read many delicious book and so much more, Sheila

 

OOPS

P.S. I forgot to share the foodie type reading that I am hoping to partake of this coming year.  Heaven forbid I forget foodie reading.

Best Reads 2015

 

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Comments

  1. 1

    Loved your reviews! “All the Light We Cannot See” is one of my must read favorites. I am currently reading Dr. Mark Stengler’s “Natural Healing Encyclopedia” (not a straight through read). Am concentrating on Alzheimer’s , heart health, weight, and diabetes. Does not advocate throwing out all meds, but gives direction to using spices & real food to supplement. I am making a list of some of the books you featured. Luv Ya Kiddo, Mom

  2. 2

    I love that you plan your reading so far in advance! I’ve read Radical, the Best Yes, and the Light between the oceans. All awesome!!! I’m about to start Love Does bc I’ve heard so many great things about it. And anxious to check out the other books you’ve shared. PS ~ I’m with you – 2014 was not a great year. But 2015? We are going to ROCK it GirlFriend!!!!
    kim kopp {the best is yet to come} recently posted..Friday FavoritesMy Profile

  3. 3
    Demetria Friberg :

    I just took meticulous notes on these reads. I am sorry 2014 was a rough year…I feel like I didn’t chime into that the way a good friend should of. I now know how to pray for you in 2015!!! And…I think The Best Yes is going to HAVE to be our summer neighborhood bookclub book.

  4. 4
    Linda :

    This post brought tears to my eyes for several reasons. Thank you for being you. So honest, insightful, thought provoking. Thank you for sharing some of your fav’s and why. I’ve added 2 of them to my list. Thank you for making me feel less bad about the many, many churches we’ve visited but not felt like a good fit for our family. Its tough but we’re resilient & persistent. Loke Demi, I don’t think I have been as good of a friend as I could have been. How could I not know my friend was having such a tough year? I commit to being better. Thank you Sheila. Love ya.

  5. 5

    I loved this post, Sheila. I was just thinking that I need to figure out what I’m going to read next. (I like to always be one step ahead in case I need to place a hold at the library.) You and I have pretty similar tastes in books; I enjoy seeing your updates on Goodreads. I read several of the same ones you did last year. My favorite from the year, that I didn’t see on your list, was We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. It was awesome. I highly recommend that one. I didn’t intend for this, but 2014 ended up being the year of Stephen King for me; I read 4 of his books: The Shining, its sequel Dr. Sleep, Mr. Mercedes, and the newest, Revival. Enjoyed them. Have you read anything by Liane Moriarty? Big Little Lies was really good.
    Lesa @ Edesia’s Notebook recently posted..Skillet LasagnaMy Profile

    • 5.1
      Sheila :

      Lesa, My daughter just read We Were Liars and was telling me all about it this weekend, she really liked it. Back in the “day” I read Stephen King, but have only read is 11-22-63 most recently…well 2 years ago 😉 I loved it! Thanks for all the recommendations! Happy reading, Sheila

  6. 6
    Kirstin :

    Your posts on books are always so great. : )

    In 2014 I saw a list of the top ten Agatha Christie novels (in one expert’s opinion), so I decided to read the whole list. They were really enjoyable. I read The Giver too, and now I’m wondering whether I want to see the movie.

    I’m finishing the book Chasing God by Roger Huang. Pastor Huang started an inner-city ministry in San Francisco, and he has an inspiring story. I recommend it!

    • 6.1
      Sheila :

      Kirstin, thanks for the recommendation of Chasing God I will ck it out! I watched the Giver with my kids and surprising loved the movie, I thought they did a great job. Not exactly like the book, but they made it work. Thanks for stopping by! XO Sheila

  7. 7
    Carla M. :

    So….you’re going to take on The Omnivore’s Dilemma are ya? See me at the beginning, middle, and if you make it to the end! 😉

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