I tried really hard to put the books in the right order according to what I loved the most but a lot of them ran in a tie. I encourage everyone to read, read, read… There’s nothing that opens the mind (except traveling) more than reading. This list doesn’t include re-reads and some of the books I left out. My goal this year was to read ten new books. I read 14. As a working mom, this is a huge achievement for which I’m quite proud. There’s a lot of fulfillment I get from my work as a mom, or as a project manager, web designer, pastor’s wife… but as a woman…for me alone… reading has fulfilled me immensely while in my search of wisdom and knowledge. Hope you find some inspiration for your 2017 reading list.

  1. Half the Sky by Nicholas D Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
    This was such an eye-opening. I learned a lot about other religions. Especially Islam. This was an empowering and list of amazing women overcoming oppression, poverty. For a cynic who doubts most charities I support, it was so great to get more information on how to make decisions on where to give and how to support social justice.
  2. Prayer by Tim Keller
    This book deserves every read. But give it a chapter or two until he gets into the good stuff. I love the fact that he did so much research on the subject of prayer. He quotes great writers and you can tell he’s done his research. It’s not just a how-to book. It has the possibility to enhance your prayer life but also your faith overall. Keller is a great writer and this book proves it once again.
  3. I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
    There are not enough words to describe how much I loved this book. I think the most I loved about this book is the quality of the author’s understanding of the Pakistani/Pashto history from a teenager’s perspective. Also, the way she describes the scenery of where she grew up. I don’t know, maybe I loved this book because I’m a foreigner in a different country and I could relate to her longing of the place she called home. This book is a beautiful story of how she stood up for education. But the beauty of it is that all of the pushback against her desire for education came only from the outside. I look at this book as more of a story about her father than about her. Malala talks about her father more than any other family member. Even more about her own story. As someone who deeply values the father-daughter relationship, I absolutely love her father. He pushed her, he loved her, he treated her as someone who will do wonders. Unlike most of the fathers in the Pakistani culture, as an activist for equal rights for education, Malala’s father set her up for success. Without his support, I don’t think Malala could have survived to tell this wonderful and inspiring story. Many women who fight with the same passion don’t. I thank God for Malala and for her story. But mostly, I thank God for her father and pray that more fathers are like him. Not to say he was perfect and Malala points several instances where his imperfections are made known. But, my goodness, how I hope more fathers inspire their daughters the way this man inspired Malala.
  4. Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
    This was a great self-help book. Not just because I suck at marriage but because it made me realize I suck at Christianity. I never realized the closeness between the two. I cannot proclaim I’m a child of God while mistreating another child of His. One of the concepts I loved most was that we should see God not just as our Father but as our Father-in-Law. We pay our respects to our in-laws by treating their children right. It revolutionized my behavior towards my spouse. I definitely recommend this to any married couple.
  5. Safe House by Joshua Straub
    This book didn’t catch my attention until about chapter 3. I actually had it in audio and the narrator didn’t catch me much either. But the points are clear and makes perfect sense. The main idea is the building of a safe house to which the four walls are evenly built to balance and offer a safe environment for our kids. Balancing grace and truth as two of the walls with exploration and protection as the other two facing each other since they’re opposites. I liked the book mainly because it inspired me to do better with my own kid. Some of these strategies I was kind of flirting with already but this book confirmed my gut feelings and defined my thoughts on the subject.
  6. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
    A great book and very creative. Quite poetic writing. It inspired me for being more thankful.
  7. The Remnant: Biblical Reality or Wishful Thinking by Clifford Goldstein
    I absolutely loved this book. Not only it has a balanced and well thought out view on the Adventism but I find Goldstein to be hilarious. Several jokes in the book cracked me up. One of my favorite quotes that I shared with quite a few:’No doubt, the church is not what it should be. It never has been, not now, not one hundred years ago, nor twenty-five hundred years ago. Thus, those who feel it’s their calling to find fault with the church will never be out of a job because there’s plenty of dirt to go around…Those, however, who feel that their calling is to be like Jesus will never be out of work, either.’ This is a must-read for all SDA Christians. And beyond.
  8. Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis
    A beautiful recount of this beautiful soul who fell in love with Uganda’s children. Her work there is amazing and an inspiration to many. At 19 she went to Uganda to teach English for a few weeks. She fell in love with it and decided to go for a year. Then that turned into a full-time ministry and non-profit organizaiton. She adopted 14 girls, funded hundreds of children to attend school and fed hundreds more. God is always able to find a way where there is no way.
  9. The Complete Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
    Need I say anything?
  10. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
    A light read that really makes you laugh and giggle if you can get past the “French” words she uses.

Alvin Conway said once that ‘Every positive word read has an opportunity to dispel something negative from the mind. Rebuild your mind by reading.’ – please do.

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