My Top Ten Books Read in 2013

books_clip_artIn the previous post I listed all the books I completed reading this year: now I want to especially mention my favorites of them, in no particular order.

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, reviewed here. OK, I said no particular order, but this would definitely be my #1. It’s the true story of a leftist lesbian feminist professor who can’t stand Christians who, by God’s grace, becomes one. It is an eye-opening book on many levels.

The Fruitful Wife: Cultivating a Love Only God Can Produce by Hayley DiMarco, reviewed here. This is a study of the fruit of the Holy Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 and applied specifically to marriage (though the applications, of course, can extend to everyone). It was so instructive, convicting, and full of good stuff that I didn’t feel I had grasped completely, so I immediately reread it. Highly recommend.

Joni and Ken: An Untold Love Story by Ken and Joni Eareckson Tada, reviewed here. Any marriage has its difficulties, but Joni’s and Ken’s is especially challenging due to her health issues and fame. I appreciated this honest look at some of the things they’ve had to go through and the grace God gave them to deal with them.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, reviewed here. This was helpful on so many levels. I just wish extroverts would read it. I still hear things today that show that introverts can be misunderstood and even thought to be flawed. It helped me understand more about myself and assured me that it’s ok to be introverted, that introverts are wired a certain way and have their gifts and purposes in this world.

Through Gates of Splendor, reviewed here, the story of the five missionaries who were killed by the Auca Indians in the 1960s. It’s a reread for the I-don’t-know-how-many-eth time, but it never fails to inspire and challenge me.

The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson, reviewed here. Not an exact retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but more of a story taken from or based on that story.

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 1: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood, audiobook, reviewed here. The title of that one put me off for a long time, but I saw so many people recommending it that I gave it a try. Such clever writing and rollicking good fun! I highly recommend the audiobook narrated by Katherine Kellgren. I loved the next two in the series and am looking forward to the fourth soon.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, linked to an earlier review here, but just completed, another one that has been read multiple times, and I like it more each time. The first read-through can be confusing until everything comes into focus, but reading it knowing what’s going to happen reveals what a master craftsman Dickens was. And the story itself is an excellent example of Christlike love in laying down one’s life for another.

The Mitford Series by Jan Karon, summarized and reviewed here. OK, I’m cheating by listing a whole series, but, hey, it’s my list. 🙂 My favorite of the series is the first one, At Home in Mitford, but I actually read that one at the end of last year. My favorite of the ones read this year is These High Green Hills, but I love them all, and especially enjoyed revisiting them via John McDonough’s audiobooks this time. The Mitford Bedside Companion was a wonderful accompaniment to the books this go-round, too.

The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis, reviewed here. Though in some ways it is not my favorite of the Narnia series, especially the first part of the book, I dearly love the depiction of everyone’s reaction to Aslan’s country at the end.

Honorable mention:

I’m editing this list from what I had at first, and if I hadn’t already published it as a “top ten,” I’d probably name it a top twelve. But here are two more I’ll list as “honorable mentions”:

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne, reviewed here, about the 9 year old son of a prison camp commander during WWII who makes friends with a boy on the other side of the fence. Though the end is profoundly sad and disturbing, the style of the writing is perfect for the story, contrasting the main character’s innocence with the brutality of Naziism.

The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna by Liz Curtis Higgs, reviewed here. A just-right visiting of the familiar Scripture passages dealing with the Christmas story.

It’s interesting how many of these are rereads. Maybe next time I’ll make a separate list of favorite rereads and favorite new books.

What were your favorite books read this year?

(This will also be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books.)

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I’m also linking up with Booking Through Thursday where the question today concerns favorite books read this year.

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14 thoughts on “My Top Ten Books Read in 2013

  1. I received a gift card to the Christian bookstore so I’m definitely going to look up that first book! I’ve appreciated all your well thought out reviews over the year, Barbara!

  2. I still have “The Secret Thoughts…” on my to-read list. Maybe I’ll get to it in 2014.

    I wish more extroverts would read “Quiet” as well. I think it would explain a few things to them. 🙂

    I did several rereads this past year too. And hope to do some next year as well. I do feel like I’m almost drowning under my to-read list though–I need a better way to prioritize what I want to read next…

  3. I have a list being worked out (in my mind). 😀 We haev company this week as well and that has hit the “pause button” on any variety of things. I like looking back and remembering favorite reads of the year and will look forward to doing that.

  4. Every one of your nonfiction picks is on my mental TBR list. I’m also interested in Striped Pajamas. Thanks for the recommendations!

  5. I keep seeing Secret Thoughts and Ashton Place on lists and in real life conversations. I think those are going to have to move to the top of my TBR list. Great list!

  6. Pingback: A look back at 2013 | Stray Thoughts

  7. You had a wonderful reading year in 2013. I hope you have a Happy Reading Year in 2014. I also combined BTT with another meme Musing Mondays, since they both are related to the end of 2013 reading.

  8. The Women of Christmas is on my tbr list. I liked the Mitford books at first but I read them one after the other and by the end I was tired of them

  9. Pingback: What’s On Your Nightstand: January 2014 | Stray Thoughts

  10. Pingback: 31 Days of Inspirational Biography: Rosaria Butterfield | Stray Thoughts

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