Book Reviews, Books

Food For The Soul { A Book List For My Fellow Book Worms}

Last year I probably read  more books than ever in one year. Most of them were wonderful, filling,  feasts for my soul.  Here are just a few of my favorites from the last year (in no particular order):

It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways: This book challenged me to really think about what I put in my mouth and how it impacts my body. While I don’t ascribe to the notion that my ancestors were cave people, or evolved from monkeys (referring to Paleo eating), the science behind how food breaks down in the body cannot be argued. I did attempt the “Whole 30” which is a clean eating, whole foods diet, for 30 days, I made it to day 24 and lost almost 9 lbs over the course of that time. I felt better than ever, had tremendous energy, clearer skin, and no bloating. I am trying to muster the will power to do it again. But I wont lie, it’s hard. Really hard, but it works.
The Spirit of Food: 34 Writers on Feasting and Fasting toward God: While we’re talking about food, I would be crazy not to mention this incredible book. I won’t lie, the price of this paperback book kept me from buying it for some time. Thankfully, my generous husband gave it to me last year for Christmas, and I am SO glad he did. It’s well worth the cost, and is a continual feast for the soul and senses. Each essay stands alone, so this is an easy book to pick up and put down as time allows.
I Am Second: Real Stories. Changing Lives: I love redemption stories, and this book is full of them. If you need encouragement that God still performs miracles, this book is a great reminder of the transformative power of Christ in our lives. Each honest story of how God changes hearts is powerful and inspiring. An easy, uplifting read.
Intimacy With The Almighty: I discovered this book on the donated shelf at the library. I am certain that it was providence that my eyes discovered it wedged between a couple of other larger, hardback books.  A tiny but immense book, Intimacy With the Almighty is a powerful read that challenges you to grow deeper in communion with Christ.
Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus
Hazardous: Committing to the Cost of Following Jesus: I’m listing these two books side by side because I read both of them simultaneously and found both to be hugely challenging and insightful in their message about discipleship with Christ. If you’re looking to grow deeper in your faith, both of these books will encourage you and inspire you to push closer to Christ, even as the cost is high, the truth is, you have too much to lose not to.
Beautiful Battle: A Woman’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare: This book is an excellent read for anyone who has experienced the very real and  sometimes intense struggle of spiritual warfare. I appreciated Mary’s stories of her own battles, and the insight she gives about how to remain steadfast in the Lord when the arrows of the enemy fly.
He Chose the Nails: I read this book last year during Lent and found it to be very soul-stirring and moving. Max Lucado has such a way of writing down the profound truths that we all need to be reminded of, as we journey on in our faith. Along with my ebook 😉 this is a great Easter (or anytime) read.
The Signature of Jesus: The Call to a Life Marked by Holy Passion and Relentless Faith: I can’t believe this book sat on my shelf for 3 years before I finally picked it up to read it. I don’t know exactly what it is about the way Brennan Manning talks about Jesus and grace, but his words wreck me in a life-altering way. Read this one, and then pick up a copy of his memoir, All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir. Brace yourself for that one, friends. I’ve never been the same since reading that book., just ask my friend.

Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art (Wheaton Literary Series)
A Circle of Quiet: I’m listing these two Madeline L’Engle books side by side because they are both equally breathtaking and enlightening. If you’re a writer, a creative or an artist, please do read these books. They are absolutely wonderful.


Finding Church: Stories of Leaving, Switching, and Reforming: This book presents deeply personal stories from various perspectives on leaving, switching and reforming church. Whatever your own church background may be, it is likely that you have a story similar to one in here.  I’m grateful to have been a part of this body of work.
God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas: I was gifted this book by my generous Mother in Law and oh my, what a treasure it is! I read through it during Advent and look forward to reading through it again and again each year. It is an absolute must for the Advent/Christmas season.
Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination and Spirit: A Reflection on Creativity and Faith: This book is another treasure for all of you creative spirits out there. Whatever your craft is, be it writing or visual art of some kind, this book is soul food of the richest fare–a definite must read. 


Top Children’s books:

Sidney & Norman: A Tale of Two Pigs: I adore Phil Vischer’s work and when I saw this on the shelf at Lifeway, I bought it without even really thumbing through it. This story is a beautiful illustration of how God loves us all, both the neat and the messy. I am so glad we own this little treasure to read again and again.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore I’ve talked about this amazing book before. Read about that HERE, and then go quickly and buy a copy. This is an absolute gift to all readers and storytellers everywhere.
A Special Fish for Jonah: Because God Has a Job for Everyone: The heart of this book is perfect for that child who needs a reminder that God has a purpose for each one of His creations, from fish to children. I love the sweetness of this story, and the reminder that in God’s kingdom, all has a purpose.


What was the best thing you read in 2012?


If you’re on GoodReads, I’d love to connect with you there. If you’re not, why don’t you join the fun?

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  1. JanetR123

    Thanks for the suggestions. I am always looking for good books to read. I am currently reading The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer and my husband and I are reading Francis Chan’s Crazy Love together.

  2. Great list! Some favorites and some new ones.

    I’m doing my first Whole 30 in over a year right now. It’s an easy way for me to eat (as long as we’re at home), and I feel amazing. But gearing up to start was so tough. I was dreading it so much I started 4 days early so I could just get the 30 days over with!

    This is my first visit here. Glad I stopped by!

  3. SO many good books last year! Where to begin? I had a goal to read 25 more books than the year before and, along the way, I lost count. Favorites that come to mind include An Atlar In the World and Leaving Church, both by Barbara Brown Taylor. I laughed out loud at Tina Fey’s book, Bossypants. I just finished reading 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. Loved it!

    What should I read next? What one book do you recommend for me?

    1. I lost count too, I read *so* many books last year! I need to read an Altar in the World. I can imagine that Tina Fey’s books was a good one, she’s got a great sense of humor. Im doing a book club online for Circle of Seasons in March, and I’ve got a stack of books I’m hoping to read this year, a post is coming about that. Have you heard of Pilgrimage of A Soul? It’s on the top of my stack… also, I want to read LL Barkats, Rumors of Water. My list of “to read” books is way long. What’s your favorite genre?

  4. You know, I used to read a LOT…the last few years I have gotten away from it and spend more time online. That has GOT to change and one of the things I am working on this year is less time on the computer but having the time spent online be more productive. I think I’ll check out some of these books you mention and of course, there is a book I am anxiously awaiting that is coming out soon! 🙂

  5. Abby

    I love to see what others are reading! I tend to read a ton of books at the same time which seems to lessen the impact of each individual one sometimes. I am trying to really focus on 1-2 books at a time this year. My favorite from last year (although I know I am late to this party) was “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years”. The idea of living a “good story” is a powerful one for me.

    1. I do the same thing, Abby. I keep telling myself one book at a time, but that’s so hard because there are so many I want to read at once! I have wanted to read “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years”, it’s been on my wish list for a while now. I will have to move it to the top 😉


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