Saturday, December 21, 2013

Best Books I Read in 2013

My favorite, life-changing books I read this year.

1.      Best Fiction: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I don’t think anyone will argue with me on this pick. Gone Girl was one of the best-selling fiction books of the year, spending 8 weeks at #1 on the NY Times List. It has all the makings of a great movie too, which Reese Witherspoon is currently producing, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. I probably read the whole book in one weekend, and it was the most attended meet up of my book club. You won’t be able to put this one down.

2.      Best Non-fiction: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO) took a lot of hits for this book encouraging women to “lean in” to their careers, sit at the table, don’t leave before you leave, and make your partner a partner. She’s been criticized as only being relevant to white, upper middle class women with nannies and six-figure salaries like herself (although I’m guessing hers is more seven figures), but I took away this main point: that our businesses, our lives, and our world is more complete when women are equally represented in the workplace. The Amazon #2 bestselling book of the year.

3.      Best Spiritual: What We Talk About When We Talk About God by Rob Bell

I’m a Rob Bell fan. His book Sex God, is probably one of my top 10 life-changing books. He lost me a little bit with Love Wins, but this one brought me back. Rob writes about how God is for us, with us, and ahead of us. I always find Rob’s ideas fresh, thought-provoking, and inspiring. You’ll have to read it yourself and see what you think.

4.      Best Self-help/Psychology: I Thought it Was Just Me (but it wasn’t) by Brene Brown

If you read my best books last year, you know I’m a huge Brene Brown fan. I love her Ted Talks, all 3 of her books, and her blog. While this isn’t Brene’s newest book, it is my close second favorite (after The Gifts of Imperfection) and the one that delves most into her research on shame. It’s still readable and relatable, in typical Brene fashion, with plenty of stories of women and the way shame shows up in their lives. It’s so good, I’ve used material with clients before and frequently quote her “shame categories” and “universal shame trigger” (body image) to my female clients, to normalize their experiences. I recommend this read for any woman.

5.      Best Daily Read: Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

I started reading this daily devotional over the summer and it has changed my personal time with God. I must not be the only one who thinks so, because Jesus Calling was Amazon’s #5 best-selling book of the year. Sarah gives you short daily readings written in the first person, as if God is talking directly to you, using Biblical passages. Read this daily and you’ll find more “peace in His presence” as well. 

What other books did you read this year that changed your life?

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