2018 Reads


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I love to read! And I haven’t really made time for it since whenever it was that the last Harry Potter book came out.  In 2018, I experimented with audio books (The Libby App is FREE!), which I liked, but I found that I really retain more of it when I’m holding it in my hand and I love the feel of a book. I’m not done with audiobooks forever, I’ll just probably try to alternate them with paper books and space out my podcasts so they don’t all blur together.

These are the books that I finished in 2018– honorable mention to all those that I started and then…. did not. Italicized are ones that I actually read, and the others were audio books read by the authors and I loved them. Jen Hatmaker especially, I just cannot get enough of her hilarious honesty. She writes like I think (WITH LOTS OF CAPITALIZED THINGS IN PARENTHESES) and I adore it. These are in no particular order but I am proud and happy that despite feeling like a crazy workaholic mom person, I still somehow made time to read. Way to go, self! Filling up that self care cup.

  • Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey 
    • I loved this book, I loved this book, I loved this book. I can’t wait to read more Sarah Bessey in 2019. She is changing the way women will serve in the church forever, and made me realize so many ways that our current church is paving the way for women in ministry. Moral of the story: men and women were created to teach and lead in the church together. Not just men, not just women– so good. Everyone in ministry should read.
  • Seven by Jen Hatmaker
    • This book is one that I already want to read again. It is basically Jen’s journal from when she incorporated the number seven into some areas of her life to minimize waste and foster contentment. It is her honest thoughts (which I love) and also weaves the adoption story of their daughter and son beautifully throughout (which I also love). The subtitle is “an experimental mutiny against excess” and she addresses these seven items in her life: stress, media, possessions, food, waste, shopping and clothes. A must read for anyone that has ever been even a little bit disgusted ever by American consumerism culture.
  • Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala 
    • This was given to me by our campus staff at Elevation Raleigh to read along with our core leadership team. It was so refreshing (fresh, dare I say?!). The book chronicles Jim Cymbala’s pastorship at The Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York and the role prayer had in it. It really challenged my belief about prayer in my own life, my marriage and my team that I lead at church. Highly recommend for the lifelong Christian that still has some question marks about praying and its role in their faith. A quick read, and engaging from the get go!
  • Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
    • Several of my friends recommended this to me. I don’t know that I would have finished it if it were a real book, but the audio book was great. It read like several episodes of her podcast and she’s engaging and interesting to listen to– she weaves encouragement in well with her personal anecdotes and had me laughing out loud a few times and also feeling very normal when she talked about shaving her toes and peeing her pants.This book has gotten a lot of criticism in many circles, mostly citing “white woman privilege” and “anti-Christian themes” but my advice to anyone that wants to hate on it– read (or listen) to it first. You can put that sucker on 1.5x speed and knock it out in a day and draw your own conclusions. Like most books that I read (or podcasts, or conversations, etc) I approach it from an “eat the fish, leave the bones” perspective. All in all, she’s REALLY motivating  and addresses lies that she believed about herself that most (if not all) women can relate to. She also shares her adoption story which had me in tears– so powerful. I honestly was pretty annoyed by Rachel Hollis’ internet presence and the hype surrounding it until I listened to this book. I think it offers a lot of truth to women and that any critic that warns it’s a “dangerous” read (eye roll) should really probably stop writing articles about books. Maybe, perhaps, the whole point of the book is that women are smart enough to read books and draw their own conclusions about what is true and what is not.

      All that to say– I get the hype! I’m a lazybones by nature so I have mad respect for a girl that hustles to get things done. Rachel hustles. Also, while this was published by a “Christian” publisher, it is not a faith based book or written for only “Christian” women.

  • Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown
    • I was in a hurry to finish this audio book before it was due back, but it was so good. Brené is kind of a genius? A true trailblazer in her industry, she weaves humor in with psychology seamlessly and makes what were undoubtedly long, expensive and extensive studies easy to understand for the average person (me). The first chapter hooked me in immediately and really brought me full circle to from childhood to now and helped me realize how far I’ve come in terms of “belonging”. As an Enneagram Four this book hit home on so many levels. So, so so many levels. I highly recommend, wholeheartedly! I kind of wish I had read the paper version and like highlighted things.
  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler
    • If you love Parks and Rec, you will love this. Amy is a hoot, and this was a fast, entertaining and inspiring listen. Definitely add it to your holds list on Libby!
  • For The Love by Jen Hatmaker
    • This was one of the first audio books I listened to and it set the bar high, HIGH, I say! Jen Hatmaker, you changed everything. If you’re frustrated in your life, your faith, your marriage, your friendships, your job… listen to this. Laugh, cry, and leave better.
  • Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker
    • Not technically a sequel to For the Love, but very similar themes and writing style. Jen reads this one, also, and it was a blast. There was a chapter about taking kids to the bathroom that had me ROLLING. There was a chapter about orphans that had me BAWLING. Some of it blurs together with For the Love and her podcast (I listen weekly) but it’s good.
  • The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport
    • This book was available when I got the Libby app to listen to immediately (all the books I wanted I had on hold) and so I listened to this to get acquainted with the app and it was DELIGHTFUL. It was like twelve hours of some lady reading Romanov sisters’ journals and letters and I loved every second. Thanks to the movie Anastasia I had a very early interest in the Romanov family as a kid, and this fed right into that! It was also a great segway into watching The Americans and The Romanoffs (ultimately, not a great series) on Amazon Prime Video. What I really liked about it was the letters and journal entries seemed so normal and honestly are things that people post on Facebook or Twitter today. I think we often talk about how self centered our generation is and how obsessed we are with sharing every little detail of our lives…but all we have now is just an easier form of documenting. If we didn’t have social media we’d still be writing letters and telling our diaries what we had for lunch and who we have a crush on. A truly fascinating read… er.. listen.

Next up: 2019 reads!

What great (or not so great) books did you read in 2018?



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