Favorite Books of 2015

best books of 2015

I LOVE reading about everyone’s favorite books, so I thought I’d join in and share mine, in no particular order…

 

All the Light We Cannot SeeAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

About the book: “From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.”

Why I liked it: This book looked so gloomy from the cover. I was sure I’d be the one person on earth who didn’t like it. Nope, I started binge reading on the first page. Stock up on milk and bread,  you won’t put this book down until the last page.

 

 

 

 

 

Secrets of a Charmed LifeSecrets of A Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

About the book: “Current day, Oxford, England. Young American scholar Kendra Van Zant, eager to pursue her vision of a perfect life, interviews Isabel McFarland just when the elderly woman is ready to give up secrets about the war that she has kept for decades…beginning with who she really is. What Kendra receives from Isabel is both a gift and a burden–one that will test her convictions and her heart.”

Why I liked it: ALMOST as good as “All the Light” above. I read this book in one day over Christmas break. YES.

 

 

 

 

Carry On WarriorCarry On Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

About the book: “Glennon Doyle Melton’s hilarious and poignant reflections on our universal (yet often secret) experiences have inspired a social movement by reminding women that they’re not alone. In Carry On, Warrior, she shares her personal story in moving, refreshing, and laugh-out-loud-funny new essays and some of the best-loved material from Momastery.com.”

Why I liked it: laughing. I liked this book for so many reasons, but the first thing I remember about this book was that I was sitting in a waiting room reading it and I started laughing so hard that I had to run into the bathroom. Worth it just for that.

 

 

Big MagicBig Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

About the book: “Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.”

Why I liked it: When I really love a book, I refuse to finish it, I still have a chapter or two left and I don’t want it to be over, so I might never read it. Grab your high lighter, if you are a writer, this book is for you.

 

 

 

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying UpThe Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

About the book: “With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.”

Why I liked it: I cannot stop talking, thinking or misplacing this book. I’ve read it twice over the past year. Eye opening, and also quirky and weird, everything I love. It made me get things more tidy in my home, so I don’t really care how odd it is at times–this book lives up to the hype.

 

 

 

Simply TuesdaySimply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman

About the book: “Our obsession with bigger and faster is spinning us out of control. We move through the week breathless and bustling, just trying to keep up while longing to slow down. But real life happens in the small moments, the kind we find on Tuesday, the most ordinary day of the week.”

Why I liked it: This book confirmed my suspicions that it’s okay, and good to slow down. But it also encouraged me as a mom, maker and friend. Also, my sister wrote it, so I especially love when she tells stories of our childhood–newborn kittens, Halley’s comet and more! UPDATE: this just in, Simply Tuesday just hit the Wall Street Journal’s Non-Fiction eBooks Best Seller’s list at number 3!!

 

 

 

 

Flowers Coloring BookFlowers Coloring Book by Brittany Watson Jepsen

About the book: “Divided into 10 beloved botanicals, artist, designer, crafter, and blogger, Brittany Jepsen, created Flowers Coloring Book, 60 pages of hand-illustrated patterns, bouquets, and scientific charts awaiting the distinctive color palettes only a flower lover could imagine.”

Why I liked it: I love adult coloring books, but most of the time, when you are done coloring, the page is really ugly. Not this one, you’ll want to frame these pages. It’s thick, bright white paper with very black drawings of flowers, leaves and such. Like nothing else out there.

 

 

 

Skinny TasteThe Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka

About the book: “Gina Homolka is America’s most trusted home cook when it comes to easy, flavorful recipes that are miraculously low-calorie and made from all-natural, easy-to-find ingredients. Her blog, Skinnytaste is the number one go-to site for slimmed down recipes that you’d swear are anything but. The Skinnytaste Cookbook features 150 amazing recipes: 125 all-new dishes and 25 must-have favorites.”

Why I liked it: We’ve all loved everything I’ve made from the zucchini fries, fish tacos (I make this almost weekly) to the bang-bang shrimp knock-off. This book was a best seller for good reason.

 

 

Crazy BusyCrazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung

About the book: “Just one look at our jam-packed schedules tells us how hard it can be to strike a well-reasoned balance between doing nothing and doing it all. That’s why award-winning author and pastor Kevin DeYoung addresses the busyness problem head on in his newest book, Crazy Busy — and not with the typical arsenal of time management tips, but rather with the biblical tools we need to get to the source of the issue and pull the problem out by the roots.”

Why I liked it: Because I’ve been repeating this quote since I read it…”the biggest deception of our digital age may be the lie that says we can be omni-competent, omni-informed, and omni-present. We cannot be any of these things. We must choose our absence, our inability, and our ignorance.” That last line gives me chills ever time. The only way to truly live in this digital age, is to choose to be ignorant of some things. I’ve been choosing my absence, inability and ignorance every day since. Amen.

 

 

Soul KeepingSoul Keeping by John Ortberg

About the book: “When is the last time you thought about the state of your soul? The health of your soul isn’t just a matter of saved or unsaved. It’s the hinge on which the rest of your life hangs. It’s the difference between deep, satisfied spirituality and a restless, dispassionate faith.”

Why I liked it: Maybe I’m out of the loop, but this is the first book I’ve ever read about the Soul. My Soul. Eye opening (funny!) and wise all at the same time. I wish I would have read this book 20 years ago.

 

 

 

 

EssentialismEssentialism by Greg McKeown

About the book: “The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done.  It is not  a time management strategy, or a productivity technique. It is asystematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter.”

Why I liked it: My favorite book of 2015. My copy is tattered and torn like the velveteen rabbit. I’ve applied this book to my online life, my work, my decorating, my goals–I highly recommend it.

 

 

 

The Rosie ProjectThe Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

About the book: “The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.”

Why I liked it: Just a really sweet read. I didn’t love the sequel, but this book was a delight.

 

 

 

Have you read any of these? Did you like them? What’s one of your favorite books of 2015?

PS, see my list from 2014 here.

 

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Comments

  1. Great list! And definitely YES to Secrets of a Charmed Life! The review I wrote on my blog still gets read every single day: http://katemotaung.com/2015/01/19/secrets-of-a-charmed-life-a-review/

  2. Simply Tuesday’s sitting in my Kindle, already to roll!

    Loved Soul Keeping and Tidying Up,too.

    But these were my absolute favorites in 2015
    http://www.lindastoll.net/2015/12/2015s-shareworthy-reads.html

    ;-}

  3. Rainey Stewart says:

    For a sweet read, please read “A Man Called Ove”. Udderley charming. And also, my favorite book of the year, I’ll give you the sun.

  4. Rainey Stewart says:

    Wow talk-to-text. *Utterly

    • Ha! I thought your comment above was a pun. “Udderly charming” because cows featured in the book in a prominent way. :) I’m going to go check it out now.

  5. Cindy in Oklahoma says:

    “All The Light..” was my favorite read this year, too. I was right in the middle of it when the award was announced, which may have added weight to my enjoyment…. ha! Thanks for your list. I’m always looking for another good one worth my time….

  6. Did you read Marie’s second book, Spark Joy? Just as good and a perfect sequel/companion to her first one! Currently on a major tidying spree. Loved them both!

  7. Thank you, Nester, for taking the time to put this together! It made me realize just what I missed last year, by reading less, and what I won’t miss THIS year! Your words today have blessed me!!

  8. I can relate to most of your books that you read. And can VERY much relate to quirky! I pinned your post to refer to. Thank you for the tips and have a fabulous week <3

    Tamara

  9. I love that you are an avid reader! I love a good book too :) I haven’t read ANY of these and I can’t wait to try them out! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Loved Big Magic! Same as you, I read 95% in two days, and refused to read the last two chapters until two months later. I will read it many times.

  11. I read Kondo’s new book called Spark Joy over the weekend to review it soon. Loved it! It is called a Companion to her first book.

  12. I see some of my reads from 2015 on your list – great books! Have you read The Nightingale? I think it might be my favorite book – ever. It’s WWII historical fiction like Secrets of a Charmed Life and All The Light We Cannot See. Historical fiction is a newer genre for me, but I can’t put it down once I start reading. If you haven’t read The Nightingale already, you’ll love it.

    • I just ordered it!! I cannot wait! thanks Jenny!

    • YES! The Nightingale was definitely one of my faves this year! MUCH better than All the Light in my opinion. I have been on a WWII kick lately and also highly recommend For Such a Time by Kate Breslin. It’s a love story between a German officer and a prisoner he rescues from a firing squad at a concentration camp. It’s a parallel of Esther’s story from the Bible. I absolutely could not put it down! Great list and thanks for sharing :)

  13. Wonderful picks!

  14. CONGRATULATIONS, EMILY!
    You two are just my favourite.
    The end.

  15. Candice Hope says:

    I had the opportunity to hear Greg McKeown speak at an HR conference early last year, and we all received a copy of Essentialism. It was both captivating and life changing. I definitely recommend it as well and if you can, go see him speak! So worth it! Great recommendation!

  16. Yes! I’ve read Essentialism. It’s on my list of favorites books from 2015. (YOUR book is on the list, too. Loved it!)

    You can see my list here: http://www.onemomsguide.com/my-10-favorite-books-of-2015/

    Your list is similar to your sister’s, which I think is really neat! My sister and I have VERY different taste in books. :/

  17. I’m currently reading Big Magic and yes, highlighting on almost every page! Loving it! Its affecting me not really as a writer but just as someone who wants to live creatively and freely! So, so good. My two favorite reads from the past year were Gift from the Sea and 1,000 Gifts. Not new, but were new to me and impacted me the most this past year.

  18. Essentialism is MY favorite too! Like yours, my pages are tattered, it applies to all of our choices, it’s transformed my way of life! I also loved All The Light We Cannot See and Life Changing Magic, both are excellent!
    xo
    Kate

  19. Evidently I am the one person on the planet who did not like All the Light…. Obviously a WWII novel is not going to be overly happy, and it was very real, which was good, but I think it bothered me that there didn’t seem to be any hope, even at the end. At least, that’s my take on it. I really wanted to like it, especially after 500+ pages. :)

  20. I have not read any of these books but many are on my wish list for when i can buy them:)

  21. I couldn’t agree more about All the Light – from the very first page I couldn’t put it down! So beautifully gripping. Going to have to add Crazy Busy to my reading list for this year. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Thanks Nester for sharing your list of favorite books! I always like knowing what other people are reading and enjoying and trying out a couple just to see how our reflections might be the same or vary. I might be one of the handful of people who did not think much of Marie Kondo’s book. I think decluttering and maintaining a reasonable amount of organization is good for the mind, but I found her book to be tedious and somewhat impractical.

  23. You’re like a trusted friend who screens all my reads. I have been reading Simply Tuesday for the last couple of weeks. PROFOUND. Timely for my season. I can’t wait to bust open more of these!

  24. Thanks for sharing your favorite books. I love to see what other people are reading. I read All The Light and enjoyed it, but felt very sad for the main characters. Loved the Magic of Tidying and have applied a lot of the principles. I agree that some parts are a little out there. Loved Big Magic and didn’t want it to end. I will most likely reread it. I also liked Essentialism and need to review it again. Sadly I’ve not put a lot of the principles into place yet. Loved the Rosie Project once I got about 50 pages into it. The writing style took some getting used to due to the character’s personality. I have Simply Tuesday, but still need to read it :) Currently reading The Nightingale and LOVE it. I also really enjoyed At The Water’s Edge. Happy Reading!

  25. Hannah Reid says:

    Thank you for the suggestions! “Secrets of a Charmed Life” sounds good. I love a good post-WWII mystery diving into history.

  26. Did not like “All the Light…”, I’m probably one of only a few with this opinion. Have made a list of the the others you listed that I haven’t already read. thanks for sharing.

  27. Love your reading list! I LOVED “all the Light….” and might be the only person on earth who has not read the “tidying up” book…but plan to go from here to Amazon and get right on that! Some of my other faves..”Boys in the Boat” and re-reading for the 20th time To Kill a Mockingbird and the on to “Go set a Watchman”…which was not a great book but had a few incredible parts that made it all worth while.
    anyway..I, like you, have been at this(blogging) for a while, and I vowed this year to get to know my neighbors …so ‘HI!” nice to meet you!I am Lesli and I love your book and blog and have admired your life sense for years. Feel free to drop by my old country house any time!xo

  28. Big Magic is #1 on my list to read this year!! =)

  29. All the Light We Cannot See. <3 Anthony Doerr is my current literary crush. Four Seasons in Rome (travel-journal-ish, non-fiction) is my favorite. I read it four times last year. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell is really good too. It's a deep novel. I'm going to read it again this year because I have the feeling I'll pick up on a lot of really fantastic subtle things I missed last time.

  30. Great collection!! Love all these books!!
    Xoxo,
    Love from http://www.trangscorner.com {a lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and food blog}

  31. Thank you for this list! I ordered the Essentialist and look forward to reading it.

    Sandra

  32. I have not read a single one of these book, but have now added them ALL to my list. :). I’ll need to hire a maid. ;)

  33. Love this list! Thank you so much for sharing your favorites! :)

    -Megan
    http://www.lifeonshadylane.com

  34. Love seeing others books lists! I got Skinny Taste for Christmas and have been loving it.

  35. Agree fully on the Rosie Project. The sequel was disappointing.

  36. Ok, so now I want to buy all the one’s I haven’t read. My Amazon Wishlist is growing – never enough time for all the books. From this list, I have read Simply Tuesday and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Loved them both. And, you have just helped me possibly identify why I sometimes get down to the last one or two chapters, then stop reading – I seem to do this all.the.time. Maybe we need a support group for this condition. :) Thanks for sharing your favorites with us, although, now I have to go buy more books. Just don’t tell my husband – he doesn’t need another reason to roll his eyes. (JK, sort of).

  37. nice post thanks for share

  38. hi there!
    it was an amazing post
    thanks

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