*You can find a longer, growing list of reviews from over the years here if you are looking for a new book!

I definitely read more non-fiction this year than normal. My brain has been all over the place and with the introduction of my podcast obsession, I get tons more non-fiction book ideas because of all of the guests who are authors. I also feel like I’m being more productive when I read non-fiction and keep my fiction books mostly to night time reading so it takes me longer to get through.

That being said, I selected a few books from different categories that I read and enjoyed this year, though I read way more books than the ones on this list. I’m thankful I’m a fast reader and also thankful I’ve had no shortage of things to read.

The Art of Money: A Life Changing Guide to Financial Happiness by Bari Tessler
I’m still in the middle of this but a big fan. I heard Bari on a podcast and just really liked her personality and style. I’d never heard of a “financial therapist” but she brought — and writes about — some very interesting truths regarding money. We ALL have issue that we need to work through and I never realized before how I carry shame about certain parts of my “money story” (as she calls it.) Whether you are rich, poor or somewhere in the middle, I think you’ll find something to gain from analyzing and thinking critically about the role of money in your life.

Anything by Jennie Allen
This book was chosen for my small group at church and I ended up getting so much out of it. The theme was simple — and I thought too broad at first — but I was wrong. It’s clear God was speaking through Jennie as she wrote this book. It speaks to women who are working, raising kids, living their day to day lives and wondering how they can really doing much for the kingdom of God. She speaks about the “glorious in the mundane” and shows you how you can pray that “Anything” prayer to God no matter what part of life you are in. I learned that “My Africa” is right here in my own neighborhood and the places I go everyday — but that I also need to be open to whatever God is calling me to. Of course, being married makes that trickier but…God knew that when he gave Jennie these words.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
This was a beautiful, heartbreaking, wonderful book. You think one more thing can’t be written about World War II or the Holocaust, and then a book like this comes out. There are a million angles to take on a story about that time period. This one heartwrenching and inspiring, sad and hopeful all rolled into one. I can’t remember if it is a true story…I’m thinking it’s not, but needless to say, it’s hard to read just to go over that awful time in history. Kristin Hannah did a fantastic job and did these experiences justice with her writing. I couldn’t read it at night because it made me too sad, but I think it’s important to continue reading these kinds of accounts, as we should never forget what happened then.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont
I heard this book recommended a million times, then it appeared as the book “Red” was reading on an episode of “Orange is the New Black.” No commentary was made in the show but I noticed it was in her hand and decided it was the moment I had to buy it. I heard it was a book for writers — and that it would inspire me to “just write” even if I didn’t think I’d ever get anywhere with my book. This book, paired with Mary Karr’s “The Art of the Memoir” and Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Magic Lessons” podcast pushed me over the edge to work on my book. I’m still working but getting closer. The writing is fantastic, funny, realistic. Anne Lamont has such a unique style and is truly a treasure in a wonderful, self-deprecating way. You won’t walk away believe you have hope of a best seller. But you do believe you have it in you to finish.

Down Came the Rain by Brooke Shields
Though I did not suffer from post-partum depression, I was interested in the condition and purchased this book right after Jacob was born. It was fascinating to read about what happened to Brooke Shields, which was severe PPD. My heart ached for her, as she described how difficult it was to connect with her daughter or find any joy when she was first born. It was an important, revealing look at what some mothers go through — and will grant a new appreciation for those who have not experienced it themselves. I would have been terrified to have another baby after what she went through, but she did have another daughter afterward and everything turned out okay. It’s a pretty good book and I enjoyed reading, as well as her other book, a biography.

So that’s just a peak at some of my favorite books from 2016. I am always hungry for more and have a long list awaiting me in 2017 but of course, if YOU have any fabulous recommendations, I’ll take them. I’m thankful to have been blessed with the ability to read quickly!


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