5 Books to Enter the New Year With

Books are my thing, and it has become my habit in recent years to put at least a few on my Christmas list, so as to enter the new year well stocked. There is a magic about books, in that they always seem to find their way into my hands at just the right time. I find that they all, in a myriad of different ways, help me to live with heart and courage.

This year, I have read too many books to count. Some I have already written about over the year, such as  The Broken Way, by Ann Voskamp and Present Over Perfect, by Shauna Niequist, here and here, Home, by Jo Swinney and Undivided Heart, by Lucy Mills. Others that I loved were Botswana Time by Will Rendall, various Agatha Christie titles (always a favourite of mine in the summer holidays) and the classic My Family and Other Animals, by Gerald Durrell.

This year, the Christmas book fairies have been very generous! Here are 5 of the books  I am particularly excited to start the New Year with.

  1. The 52 Lists Project, by Moorea Seal

Anyone who has read my blog, particularly a few years ago, will know that I am a strong believer in practicing thankfulness. I know it to be one of the most freeing, joyful ways of life, yet in the last year I feel that some disappointments and struggles have knocked the gratitude out of me somewhat, and that sometimes in laying aside thankfulness I have also unconsciously laid aside joy, contentment, love and peace. I want to reclaim gratitude this year and I think that this collection of 52 list prompts – one for each week of the year – will go some way to helping me to do that.

2.  Choose Life 365 Readings for Radical Disciples, by Simon Guillebaud

I like to have some time each morning to read and pray, so when I saw that Simon Guillebaud had written a daily reading book I was keen to get hold of it. I have long admired Guillebaud’s way of life, his passion and compassion and his writing and I am in no doubt that this book will be a challenge in all the right ways, making sure my faith and my Bible reading influences how I live for the better.

3. God is Stranger, by Krish Kandiah

I’m already reading this one and it is so refreshing. It is just the book I’ve been waiting for, dealing with the harder, stranger parts of the Bible and not shying away from the inescapable truth that God is strange to us and that his ways are often incomprehensible. I am also grateful for the insistent theme throughout the book of hospitality and welcome, particularly towards strangers. This resonates with me as I have for some time watched (from a shameful distance, it has to be said) the refugee crisis with a feeling of some helplessness. Kandiah demands in this book that we confront this issue rather than simply throw cheques and facebook likes at it. His thoughts on hospitality -and his background in fostering and adoption – are also very helpful as Andrew and I continue through the adoption process.

4. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith

This makes the list simply because novels are my first love, genre-wise, and because this one comes highly recommended. Written in the 1940’s, it seems to be something of an American classic and follows the story of a second generation Irish-American girl, who is growing up in a deprived part of Brooklyn.

5. The Secret Life of the Owl, by John Lewis Stempel

I loved Lewis Stempel’s Meadowland, I love the genre (nature writing – immensely popular in the last few years), and I love owls, so when I saw this little book on a shelf as I browsed a bookshop on holiday, I couldn’t resist picking it up.

What are you looking forward to reading this year?

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