What activity transports us to new places, creates new memories, educates and entertains our minds, and encourages our spirit? It’s reading of course! We could say the same about movies or music, but there is something about a good book to engage our imagination, inspire our intellect, and/or refresh our soul. In the past year, my favorite books of 2021 did all of the above.
As mentioned in my previous posts from 2019 of fiction and nonfiction, or my 20 books for 2020, I’ve engaged in more reading the past few years. It was a way to return to an activity that brings me joy. As with anything, some texts were more enjoyable or useful than others, so here’s just the cream of my crop from 2021:
FYI-most are linked to the paperback version, but pick whichever option you prefer and enjoy! (Disclosure: If you purchase from links provided I may receive an affiliate commission from Amazon Services LLC Associates Program which helps support this site. I only promote products I personally use or recommend without hesitation. Thanks for your support.)
Engage your Mind:
- When by Daniel H. Pink– This was so insightful!! It had been in my pile for a while and am glad I read it early in the year. I learned loads about timing and how to use it to my and other’s advantage.
- The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adashi– This fun book has great tips especially for younger moms or anyone trying to simplify decisions and systems in life. (I felt fairly validated when reading this as I had many of these systems in place yet hadn’t named them as such!) It’s a quick, helpful read.
- Essentialism by Greg McKeown- Kendra was inspired by this book in many ways and it’s been recommended by many so I finally read it. It’s a good reminder of how to pare down our life, work, and priorities to what matters most. Again I already do much of this, but it was a wonderful articulation and validation of my efforts.
- Sountracks by Jon Acuff- I love Jon Acuff’s books. He says what we all are thinking! This book helps anyone who has a tendency toward overthinking to realize how paralyzing it can be PLUS shows us how to reframe it into a positive practice. A fun, yet impactful read.
Refresh your Soul
- Jesus Over Everything by Lisa Whittle–As mentioned in last year’s post, this was on deck, one of the first I read, and definitely made an impact. It’s a call to action to put aside our stuff and wants and take up Jesus’ desire for our life. Lisa’s encouragement is when we do, we receive so much more in return. I know this to be true, but doing it in everyday life can be a challenge. This was a delightful kick in the pants to be dedicated to JOE-Jesus Over Everything!
- Freely and Lightly by Emily Lex –This is a wonderful book to read before bed a chapter or two at a time (it’s what I did!) Easy to read, light, yet made me think. Plus Emily’s lovely illustrations are a beautiful bonus!
- Winning the War in your Mind by Craig Groeschel– One of the best of the year for me. It took what I already know and teach others about habits and applied additional Biblical perspectives which I truly appreciated. Highly recommend!
Escape to Another Place and/or Time:
(all of these fiction titles I listened to on Audible)
- Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie– One of Agatha Christie’s I hadn’t read yet and thoroughly enjoyed. I always try to figure out the culprit in mysteries and this one’s twists at the end kept me guessing! (Soon to be a movie in early 2022!)
- The Dry by Jane Harper– This was the second and my favorite book of Jane Harper’s this year. Again, I was surprised and intrigued how the mystery unfolded plus the setting in Australia was an interesting escape.
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson- This book from over twenty years ago is one I hadn’t read yet. While very dark at times, how the stories unraveled and what still remains a mystery was intriguing enough to make me want to read the next book. (Parental warning-this is definitely not a book for young readers.)
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett- I have just started this but know it will be a fun escape. It’s a favorite childhood classic I never read so am excited to finish my year with it.
Maybe like me, you got sidetracked and didn’t read as much as you hoped or planned this year. One of my regrets is I didn’t start reading a classic until December so I only had one this year. Another is how I barely made a dent in my “to read” pile. But I have learned (from the many books on time management and systems I did read) is that doesn’t mean you can’t start now! Grab one of my favorite books of 2021 now (many are on sale) and learn, escape, be inspired, encouraged, or entertained!