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Best Reads of 2017

Best Reads of 2017

Well reading wise this year has been a bit of the old, “best laid plans of mice and men…” I had planned to read a lot more than I have; but that was probably wildly optimistic, as in January 2017 I was heavily pregnant, and by March I had a newborn. Babies have a way of annihilating our plans. But that being said I think I did rather well.

The best thing in my reading life was being given a Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday. With a baby who has not been a good sleeper and spending large amounts of my day attached to a sleeping baby, in a darkened room this has saved my sanity. If I had a choice I would always choose a book book, but under the circumstances my paper white has been my best friend!

My Best reads of 2017

  • The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp
  • I began 2017 reading Ann Voskamp’s latest book. This is a powerful, profound book. She touches the broken, hurting places in our lives and seeks to draw us into a place of wholeness. It is not always easy but I think this is an important book for any Christian to read. I will be going back to this book again one day, when I can sit quiet and alone and read slowly, meditating on the ideas and truths hidden here. Voskamp’s writing is always beautiful and in “The Broken Way” she is unflinchingly honest dealing with hard issues like self-harm, mental illness, cancer and death. These may sound too hard, but I think anyone who reads this book will come away glad that they did.

  • The Tech-Wise Family by Andy Crouch
  • This short book is full of wisdom on how to manage technology in our homes. Crouch does not lay down a list of laws to follow but shares what they do in their family; honestly outlining the things which work great and those they struggle with. We have not adopted everything in this book, different families in different stages will have different problems. However I liked the general philosophy of his book, which can be summed up in the phrase “easy everything”. Crouch argues that technology is a sign that we have a society where we want to choose the easy option in everything and that this is not always healthy.

  • Middlemarch by George Elliot
  • I have been wanting to read a hard book for a while. And I have been wanting to read Middlemarch for a few years. I tried a couple of years ago and failed. This year: success! And it was a great success. I loved this book. I loved the intellectual stimulation it gave me, and I fell in love with Elliot’s writing, and characters. Hurriedly I read wanting to find out what happened next, but not wanting it to ever end. This is not just one of the best reads this year, but it is up in the top 5 of my all time greatest reads.

  • The Duties of Parents by J C Ryle
  • This short little book is one I found on Kindle. It could be read in a day. It was written by an Anglican Bishop, around 150 years ago. What amazed me was this Victorian Bishop’s insights on parenting and the struggles of parenting were as relevant today as they were when he first wrote them. Smacking may not be deemed appropriate to 21st century parents (in Scotland it looks likely to be very soon banned), but if that is a problem for you you need not dismiss the rest of the book, but read that within the context of the time. I found this short little book one of the best books to read on parenting, and would recommend anyone to have a look.

Best Read Aloud Books of 2017

  • The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
  • It had been a good few years since we had read this. I think it is often a forgotten book from Narnia. But it deserves to be more well read. C.S.Lewis deals with some difficult ideas such as providence and the hidden purposes of God through for Narnian analogy.

  • Crispin by Avi
  • Avi was a writer completely unknown to me before this year. So Crispin was a pleasant surprise. Set in Medieval England, we learnt a lot about the life a peasant at that time. The narrative is quick paced and the chapters short, making this a great book for a struggling or reluctant reader. I would warn you though some of the issues in the book are not appropriate for younger readers. The book is about a young boy falsely accused of a crime he did not commit. There is the murder of a priest, and Crispin at one point encounters the decaying corpse of a hung criminal. But my most reluctant reader had me sat for over 2 hours reading this aloud, he was completely hooked!

  • A Surprisingly Fluffy Bird by Jenny Chapman
  • There are three books in this series. Following the adventures of Algy, a fluffy bird, washed up somewhere in the West Highlands of Scotland. We read one of these books on holiday on the Isle of Mull. Being surrounded by the landscape and wildlife of the book I fell in love with Chapman’s writing. These are charming tales of friendship and loyalty. They make perfect, gentle bedtime stories for roughly 4-9 year olds.

  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Again it has been a while since we read this one. It is a beautiful book. Jude, my 8 year old, loved Dickon. Jude loved the idea of making friends with animals and birds. He has been inspired by the book to grow his own garden. He even planted bulbs in Autumn. For me the Secret Garden is a book about grief and pain, finding healing through friendship and nature.

These are some of the reading highlights from this year. Next year I want to start a reading journal to catalogue what I have been reading and what I have thought of them. Looking back you forget about books that left their mark. So many of the books I had planned to read this year are in the pile for next. The two latest Sally Clarkson books are at the top of the pile. And my Amazon wish list seems to keep on growing!

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