I love to read and often have three or more books going at once, including fiction, nonfiction, religious, business, etc. I recently joined a book club, which my friend Laura started, and I am excited to start discussing books with other book lovers! (You can check out Laura's blog at Unpunctuated Life.)
Throughout this week, I am going to do a series on the best books I have read this year. (They won't necessarily have been written this year.) I'll break the books into categories, so you can expect to see the best (1) Fiction, (2) Nonfiction, and (3) Spiritual books I read. I hope you'll get some good gift ideas for fellow book lovers, or some own to add to your stack. Or, New Year's resolutions, perhaps?
But to start, my all time favorite book that I read this year was One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, by Ann Voskamp. Ann writes beautifully and honestly, compelling you to take her joy dare.
I am usually not good at choosing "favorites." But this book has shaped my past year. I read this book in January and still frequently refer to it and think about its premise of gratitude.
Because of One Thousand Gifts, John and I keep a gratitude journal on our coffee table, where we write down daily thanksgivings. Although it seems like a small practice, the ramifications are significant. It is not only a record of all that we have to rejoice and be thankful for but it also has noticeably made me more joyful. How can I not be joyful when I am counting all of our blessings?!
I started the journal in March and am at 229 blessings... not quite to Ann's 1000 that she records, but it's not so much the number that matters; it's the practice. As I once read in a devotional, "Happiness depends on happenings," making it a fleeting and fickle emotion. Instead, joy depends on recognizing all you have to be grateful for - even the smallest or mundane parts of life, like my daily cup of coffee or having a washing machine.
What better way to start a new year than reading a book that could shape your perspective on life...