Monday, December 29, 2008

Year End Book Review

I've kept track of how many books I've read each year for the last 4 years now. I went from 43 in 2005 to 57 in 2006 to 67 in 2007 to this past year's whopping 29. I don't know if adding a person to our family had something to do with it or maybe that it took me about 5 months to read one of the books. I thought I'd compile a list of the top ten of the year, so I went down my list and marked ones that stood out to me with the intention of going back and narrowing down my big top ten. I shouldn't be surprised to find that I had only marked 9 because throughout the year I kept having a sense that I just couldn't find a good book. So here are my top 9 reads of 2008.

  • The Breastfeeding Cafe by Barbara L. Behrmann~ The old saying goes that sex, religion, and politics are subjects that are off limits. Breastfeeding should be added to that list. With my very first newborn whenever asked if I was nursing or bottlefeeding I felt like asking, "Who wants to know?" It seemed there were few who didn't fall into one of two groups: the lactivists and the bottle feeders who have all been scorned by the lactivists. In all the hub bub surrounding how I fed my baby, this book was an encouragement filled with stories of many moms in their nursing ups and downs. Of course there is a strong lactivist bent (I believe there was a reference to formula as "crap in a can"), but it served as additional humor to me along with the anecdotal struggles in the moms' stories.
  • What is a Family? by Edith Schaeffer~ Edith Schaeffer is a personal favorite of mine so I eat up anything she writes. The title is pretty self explanatory. This is a good companion book to another one of hers, The Hidden Art of Homemaking.
  • A Light Affliction by Maureen Hay Read~I don't miss a day of writing in my journal, so the format of this book resonates well with me (it's mostly her journal entries). I also found it very interesting because the author was my high school English teacher. She journals through a time of sickness when I was her student. I remember her taking a long leave of absence and knew she was very sick, but had no idea the horrors she was going through. The rest of the book, covering a span of about 10 years, is encouraging and challenging as she faces the trials and struggles of everyday life.
  • Mistaken Identity by Newell Cerak, Whitney Cerak, Susie Van Ryn, Colleen Cerak, and Don Van Ryn~ It's one of those books where you feel like you're invading someone's privacy, a People magazine cover story, but they wrote the book and it's an amazing story. God sure does work in mysterious ways.
  • The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems by Tracy Hogg~ No, not everything did come naturally as a new mother. I had my intincts about some things and stuck to them and I had situations where I wasn't exactly sure what to do. This book helped give some direction and steady ground on those issues I was a little unsure of.
  • To Own a Dragon by Donald Miller~ It's about growing up without a dad. I grew up with a dad, but just wanted to read it because Donald Miller wrote it. As expected he didn't disappoint. You'll just enjoy chewing on his thoughts.
  • Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp~ This is one I want to own and keep as a reference for all time. Probably one to read once a year. I mean, sheperding your child's heart; what a responsibility and privilege! Wow, I have a high calling.
  • To Train Up a Child by Michael Pearl~ A good companion book to Tripp's above. This one is more about training your children in the first year(s); training vs. discipline which is covered more in Shepherding a Child's Heart.
  • Hundred Dollar Holiday by Bill McKibben~Highly recommended to anyone who is sick and tired of the rat race of the holiday season and is seeking something simpler. Our family is celebrating the 12 days of Christmas this year as a result of this quick little read because it's not all about the big day of presents. Don't worry, it's point is not to abolish gifts altogether, but to get you to think about the kind of traditions you want in your family for this time of year.
So there you have it; the 9 books I read this year that I truly enjoyed. What was your favorite read of 2008?


livingpalm said...

I read Edith Schaeffer's book this year, too! And love the Hidden Art title as well. I gave To Own a Dragon to Brian a year or so ago. We both read it (I think Andrew did, too). It's excellent.
Would love to borrow Hundred Dollar book from you if you are willing to loan??
Thanks for the reviews. I take it "Anna.." was not a favorite read?

Bethany said...

Borrowed Hundred Dollar Holiday from the library. Anna Karenina...Tolstoy is really talented, it was interesting to read just to see his insights on human nature, but I just wasn't that impressed with the story.

Nelson Narratives said...

notice how the book that took you 5 months to read didnt make it on your top 9 list. that is some dedication!
My most recent read (and one of the only ones of the year) it "what you can't leave behind." a published journal of a teacher to missionaries' children at rift valley academy in kenya (my brother in law is also a missionary there and sent us the book.)
by the way, "shepherding a child's heart" has been sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. i shall make it my resolution for 2009.