1. Seriously, I'm Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres
Who doesn't love Ellen? I'm pretty sure everyone thinks she's awesome and the same goes in this book. If you aren't into humor writing, this may not be your thing. I definitely laughed out loud a few times and fun reading it. Classic Ellen.
2. Wait for Me by Elisabeth Naughton
I was excited to find this book on Kindle bestsellers for only 99 cents! That never happens and I was skeptical but, it was actually really compelling. The whole book is kind of like a mystery-wrapped present and you have to read it all to unwrap everything. I couldn't put it down and just wanted to know what would happen. Get it!
3. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Another best seller but this one was normal priced. I loved this book because it took a look at how right and wrong is not always black and white -- and how love can be totally pure even when it was conceived in the wrong way. How can one decision you make effect dozens of other people? You'd be surprised and this book will make you wonder who to root for even though you know who did wrong.
4. A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken
This is a love story -- written authobiographically. It's a love story between a man and his wife and God. The relationship they had was deep, intense, almost off the charts connected. The author had a deep friendship with Christian author C.S. Lewis and this book documents how that friendship influenced a man to accept Christ. It's very intense and a bit too long but there are some great lessons to take from the characters you meet.
5. This is How You Lose Her by Junot DiazHad no idea what to expect from this book and it reminded me of something I might have read for high school English. It's kind of the disconnected story of a boy and his relationships -- the Hispanic community where he leaves, the cultural imprints of being from the outside but living in America. It deals with parents, friends, girls and zeroes in on the humanity of us all, right or wrong. Different but thought provoking.
6. Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
Oh Barbara Kingsolver, one of my favorites. I was disappointed in her last book, The Lacuna (definitely my least favorite by her) but this one got back to her roots. My favorite are her early works and I always will have a special love for The Poisonwood Bible because it takes place in Congo. Flight Behavior though gives us the gritty, simple characters I love, with Kingsolver's masterful, effortless emotional descriptions and ability to really humanize her characters. While this book tackles climate change issues, I wasn't so much into that part as I was the struggles of each person living in their own little worlds.
7. Falling Leaves: The True Story of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah
Amazing book. Beautifully written, fully encapsulating the life story of one unfortunate little girl in an almost evil situation. Adeline was a beautiful little girl with a beautiful heart but she was forced to live under and evil stepmother and a father who did little to stop the abuse. Her family turned on her in situations you almost would not believe. Through it all, Adeline lived an amazing life, became a doctor and had so much undending grace and compassion for a family that rejected her. Her story will break your heart and touch it at the same time.
8. The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg
Remember when I said that Jonathan Franzen books were super depressing that I couldn't read them anymore? Thats pretty much what this book reminded me of. Well-written, you feel for the characters and get the depressing humanity of the story. If you are a Franzen fan, go for it. If not, I might skip.
9. Sharp Objects by Gillian FlynnI had to read Sharp Objects after devouring Gone Girl in two days. In my opinion, this one was almost -- if not as -- good as Gone Girl. A totally warped story line that twists your mind all over the place. You think one thing and then it turns out to be another. I'd recommend this book to anyone.
10. The Darlings by Cristina AlgerA compelling read in the aftermath of the Bernie Madoff saga. This is the story of a very wealthy family wrapped up in insider trading, lies and corruption. It makes you wonder who you can trust, even in your own family, and gives insight to how so many people get caught up in white collar crime. Full of lies, coverups, regret, secrets and mystery, The Darlings was a fun read and I enjoyed it.
11. Miracle at Tenwek: The Life of Dr. Ernie Steury by Gregg Lewis
I think my Mom passed this to me but it was sitting on my book shelf forever before I finally picked it up. Boy am I glad I did. Sometimes I wonder how the stories of amazing human beings like Ernie Steury aren't known the world over. They should be. In the life of Dr. Ernie Steury, you see complete humility, grace, love, compassion and faith. You see someone who listened closely to God's voice, followed it the best he could and trusted the Lord with everything. You see miracle after miracle. You see things you'd never believe could happen. I read this book and came away inspired and in awe once again at God's provision. The miracles and beautiful human beings I read about in this book renewed my faith, they caused me to re-evaluate my life. This was a powerful book. Perhaps it meant more to me because of my love for Africa, I don't know. But if you need to recharge your faith, get this book.