Happy new year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. I’ve been sick for much of the past three weeks, so Christmas was a bit of a blur. I’m hoping I’m on the mend before I lose too much more of the new year. I started this list a few weeks ago and couldn’t get back to it through the fog of sickness until today. Maybe it might inspire some of your 2015 reading resolutions?
I did a post like this last year, and it was fun for me to look back at my year in reading. So I’m doing it again because I love books and lists, and it’s my blog so, as Grant would say in his best South Park voice, “I do what I want!”
- I didn’t read as much on the food front as I would have liked, but I am recommending The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food to anyone who will listen. I need to re-read it already, but it really turned some of my thoughts about the “food movement” upside-down. As the local food movement grows, we need to think more strategically and cohesively about what a sustainable food movement looks like.
- I went completely bonkers for YA stuff this year. That’s young adult literature for those of you who don’t know. Did you see some of the debates throughout the year about the rise of YA lit (here, here, and here if you missed it)? I get a little leery anytime someone is telling people what to read, but I do know that I just really like the stuff. I looooved Eleanor & Park. I really liked the family in If I Stay (is it weird if I kinda wanted to move it with them?). Landline wasn’t YA, but I found it because I figured out this year that I’ll read anything Rainbow Rowell writes. And even though it was about a magic time-traveling phone, it was the most honest thing that I’ve read about marriage in awhile.
- I tried to read more good literature this year, so I grabbed up Let the Great World Spin because it won a National Book Award. McCann weaves these stories together masterfully, and I can’t help but wish for a separate novel for Corrigan and Tillie. And Jaslyn too. Ultimately, it’s a collection of stories about (and very particular to) New York City in the mid 1970s, but the older I get, the more I appreciate stories from writers who know how to make the place its own character in the story. McCann does that here. I think I read this last winter over the course of a day or two during Snowmaggedon. If you feel like getting cooped up this winter, this would be a good pick to keep you company.
- If you didn’t grab up Eating on the Wild Side after my review here in February, I would still highly recommend it.
- On the parenting front, All Joy and No Fun made me feel a bit less crazy, which is always a good thing. The title basically says it all: parenting brings tremendous rewards and fulfillment over the long-term, but can be exhausting in the short-term. Grant and I both read a few of the Love and Logic books, which we have been instituting mostly on the kids but occasionally on each other as well (in a “discussion” we had last week, I said, “are you love and logic-ing me?!”). All jokes aside, it actually has some helpful tips that have us feeling a bit more equipped in this whole parenting gig.
- Saved: How I quit worrying about money and became the richest guy in the world: I loved, loved, loved this book. I need to get a copy for myself, so I can reread it and review it here perhaps. Hewitt gets a bit bogged down in the financial system in the middle, but I actually liked the background story of how we got where we are. If you don’t have time for the book, be sure to check out his wonderful blog. I’m reading his newest book about unschooling and keep reading parts of it to Grant. I see the scared look on his face every time I pick it up again.
- The Signature of All Things was epic in both uses of that word. I loved the world and characters Gilbert created. I’ll be coming back to this one again and again. It would make a great winter read as well – all of the botany will have you daydreaming about spring even more than usual.
- I sometimes wonder what political and social movements my grandchildren (God-willing) will ask me about. I can’t help but think that they will ask me about climate change and what I did about it. Bill McKibben will be one of the primary activists that the history books talk about. His newest book, Oil and Honey, tells the story of McKibben’s struggle with his call to act and his call to his place. It will be an environmental classic, I think.
- I consider the authors of Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus friends, so I was doubly anxious to read this book. I attended the Slow Church conference last spring, and between that and the many conversations that the book has sparked, I know I will coming back to this one often. Perhaps surprisingly, it encouraged me to stay right where we are in terms of our church, but I think it has much to say to Christians of any stripe in our culture. Be sure to keep up with their blog for the ongoing conversation around what “slow church” looks like.
- I just finished Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, and it definitely lives up to the hype. I found myself re-reading entire paragraphs to Grant. It was funny of course, but perhaps more so, it was very reassuring to read as a mother to small children with many different passions myself.
Leave your favorite reads in the comments so I can start my 2015 list!