Looking for some good books to read this year? I’ve got some recommendations for you. Here are 12—one book suggestion for each month of the year. Read on to learn what books I recommend and why.
Each year, I set a reading goal for myself. Most years, I set a goal of reading 50 books. I don’t always reach that goal, but it gives me something to strive for. Of those 50 (or less!) books, I try to choose from a variety of genres and topics. It’s good to be strategic in your reading choices. Challenging, informative, or just plain entertaining, different books have different purposes.
Last year, I didn’t quite reach my goal. I did make it to 48 books read. Of those 48 books, several stood out as ones I would recommend to others. Here is my list of 12 books I think you should read this year.
Money-Making Mom: How Every Woman Can Earn More and Make a Difference by Crystal Paine
I’ve mentioned this book before, but I think it bears repeating that this is an excellent read and one I highly recommend. If you’re looking for a way to make money from home, you need to read this book. Crystal Paine is a well-known author, speaker, and blogger. To say she knows what she’s talking about on this subject would be an understatement. Crystal shares some brilliant ideas for making money as a stay-at-home mom (or anyone who wants the freedom to work from home). What I found most inspiring was how Crystal challenges her readers to pursue success with the intent to be able to help others. She definitely practices what she preaches. She is very generous with the resources she has been blessed with. This book gave me the boost needed to start thinking bigger in my own life.
The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
There are a lot of opportunities available right now for those wishing to become entrepreneurs. All it takes is a good idea, a desire to work hard, and a willingness to take a few risks. If you are looking for a way to break free of the typical 9 to 5 job, or if you’re a stay-at-home mom like me and you’re looking for a way to earn some extra income from home, you’ll appreciate this book. It’s a quick read, but it contains a lot of really helpful information.
Daughter of Empire: My Life as a Mountbatten by Pamela Hicks
This book gives a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the British aristocracy in the early to mid twentieth century. It is the memoir of Lady Pamela Hicks, cousin of Queen Elizabeth. If you ever wanted an actual behind the scenes look at the royal family, you will enjoy this book. Lady Hicks was a lady-in-waiting to the queen in the early days of the queen’s marriage. Her father was a prominent figure in World War II military history. She is an interesting and accomplished person in her own right. This one is a captivating read.
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
If you like The Princess Bride, you will love this book. It is an account of the on-set antics of the cast and crew as told by “Westley” himself. To fully appreciate this book, you should listen to the audiobook narrated by Cary Elwes. Some of the other cast members, as well as director Rob Reiner, lend their voices to the telling. Listen to the audiobook to truly experience this book. We’re huge Princess Bride fans around here, so I enjoyed this book immensely.
Own Your Life: How to Grow a Legacy of Faith, Love, and Spiritual Influence by Sally Clarkson
I consider Sally Clarkson a mentor of mine. I have read her books and gleaned so much from each one. Own Your Life is no exception. In this book, she candidly shares about some of her own struggles and triumphs. She encourages her readers to find purpose in everyday life, to live with intent and find meaning in whatever we are doing. This is an inspiring and insightful read.
Longing for Paris: One Woman’s Search for Joy, Beauty , and Adventure—Right Where She Is by Sarah Mae
There’s been a bit of hype surrounding this book, and for good reason. I think the author, Sarah Mae, hits a nerve for many young moms in today’s culture. Motherhood is hard and sometimes it can be tempting to wish you could escape the mundane routines of your everyday life for exotic places filled with adventure. In her typical self-deprecatingly entertaining way, Sarah Mae encourages her readers to see the beauty and adventure all around us. She shares her own journey toward finding joy and meaning in ordinary, everyday things.
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
This book is the first of Liane Moriarty’s works that I read and it’s what made me a fan of hers. Extremely entertaining, this is a quick read. The premise of this book is clever and unusual. The main character, Alice, wakes up one day to discover she has amnesia and can’t remember the past 10 years of her life. Her journey to discover who she has become, and why, is fascinating. What she learns about herself is revealing and thought provoking. Like most of Moriarty’s books, be aware that there is a bit of strong language.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This is a powerful and poignant story set during World War II. It is the moving telling of two young lives and how they are affected by the events surrounding them at that turbulent time. Their reactions to what happens and how their lives intersect is what propels this story. Don’t miss this poignant and painfully beautiful story.
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
A book I’ve talked about before, this is an excellent read. It is touching and heart wrenching and challenging. As someone who has experienced similar loss, the dilemma of the main characters resonated with me. The choices they made were not the ones I would have made, but I could understand the motivation behind them. This was a deeply moving story beautifully told.
In The Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick
I was born on Martha’s Vineyard, which means I grew up hearing plenty of stories about the history of whaling in New England. This particular story is one not soon forgotten. The whaleship Essex was run into by a whale; what happened after that is almost unbelievable. This is a chilling account of desperation and survival. Nathaniel Philbrick has a way of describing historical events in captivating detail. All his books are excellent, and this one is no exception. If you are at all interested in whaling, naval history, or human nature in the face of extreme challenges, you’ll appreciate this compelling book.
To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl
Downton Abbey fans will enjoy this book. It gives an account of the many daughters of American “new money” millionaires in the mid to late nineteenth century who married into the British aristocracy. The families of these young ladies found them their titled husband in an attempt to bolster their social standing. The resulting marriages were a fascinating mix of happy ones, indifferent ones, miserable ones, and ones of pure convenience. This is an incredibly entertaining glimpse into this interesting time in social history.
Caught Up in a Story: Fostering a Storyformed Life of Great Books & Imagination with Your Children by Sarah Clarkson
This book renewed my vision for reading with my children. As a homeschooling mom and a book lover myself, I’ve always valued reading to my children. It’s been a part of our day-to-day family life since my oldest child was born. Our home is filled with good, well-written classic children’s literature. This book reminded me of what powerful tools those books can be. It’s an inspiring glimpse into how reading can shape a child’s heart and mind. I’d highly recommend this book for any parent or educator.
So there you have it—my 12 book recommendations for this year. Do you have any recent reads you’d recommend? I’m always looking for a good book. Leave a comment if you’d like to share a recommendation.
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