Top Ten 2019 Reads

’Tis the season for reading lists! I always enjoy seeing the books others have read over the past twelve months and finding new ones to add to my own TBR (to be read) list.

This year, I kept my reading list in a notebook and when I logged a book, I added a few words. Some of those enthusiastic notations helped me compile this year’s eclectic top ten list. Trust me. It was tough to narrow it down to just ten.

I was intentional about carving out time to read both for leisure and learning this year. As a result, you’ll find more fiction than appeared on last year’s list. Of the non-fiction reads, I noted many of the books were transforming and came to me at the right time. There’s something especially delicious about serendipity when it comes to reading books, isn’t there?

Anyway, here’s the list ordered by when I read the book.

The Remarkable Ordinary: How to Stop, Look, and Listen to Life by Frederick Buechner

I read this book for the second time this year. It won’t be the last. Buechner never disappoints and in this book he reminds me to pay attention because the extraordinary is in the quotidian moments of every day. This is one of my transformational books. Its wisdom has reminded me remain present throughout the whole year.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

“A page-turner” is how I described this book in my notebook. It’s fiction, but it opened my eyes to a piece of history I hadn’t considered before.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

This was a great story. It surfaced some unpleasant memories but was a riveting read, nonetheless.

Water From a Deep Well : Christian Spirituality from Early Martyrs to Modern Missionaries by Gerald Sittser

This was another transformational book. Sittser gives us a comprehensive look at Christian traditions through the ages. We are reminded that people throughout the ages—the present one included—believe we have all the answers when it comes to the mysteries. We don’t. More importantly, if the discipline of our faith doesn’t play itself out in how we love God and love our neighbour, it’s folly.

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro

You know the story. Through a DNA test, Shapira discovers that the man she believed to be her biological father, wasn’t. I loved this memoir. I identified with Shapiro’s quest to understand herself in terms of biology, history, and experience. I found much within the pages that spoke to me as an adoptee.

Flee, Be Silent, Pray: Ancient Prayers for Anxious Christians by Ed Cyzewski

This was one of the books that came to me at precisely the right time. I will return to in years to come.

Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor

One of the signs of a good book is when you remember exactly where you were when you read it—and hold that memory for years to come. This is, and will be, one of those books for me. I read it in a single, silent, solitary summer day. The truth in the pages both challenged and resonated with me.

Light from Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker

From my reading notebook: Loved. Loved. Loved.

That’s all I need to say about this one.

The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God by Dallas Willard

THE transforming, life-altering book of the year. It was originally published in 1998 but it’s timeless, as the best works are.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Full of suspense, this work of fiction captivated and held my attention to the end. It had me sequestering myself away and picking up my Kindle at opportune moments throughout the day.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. Inheritance and the Alice Network are on my to read list.

    1. They won’t disappoint, Paige!

  2. Inheritance and Light from Distant Stars are two books on the list that match mine. I admire your taste in reading, so I may explore your other titles.

    Happy New Year, Linda. And happy reading too!

    1. Both excellent reads, Marian. Are you planning on posting a reading list? I’d appreciate seeing yours and expect I’d find some more for my TBR list there too. 🙂

  3. I am going to jot some of these down in my notebook – thank-you for your recommendations.

  4. Oh these strike a chord for me, Linda. I’m adding a few to my list even as we speak.

    So very good to visit back and forth together this weekend …

    Bless you.

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