Meaningful Book List of 2020: Read One!

If you check in on me on Instagram, I posted my 2020 book list. It is the perfect time of year to share such a list. I humored myself by writing that I won’t be sharing my 2021 book list in January. Simply because I am not that organized and far too emotional about my book choices to have a preselected list.

Cheers to imperfection!

So, why share my reading list? In some ways, the books we read are like the photos we take, the events we go to, the people we meet. What we read impacts us. For me, books help me grow and they spark my imagination and actions in a godly way. I am guessing it is the same for you, with whatever good things you enjoy.

Here we go girls! Enjoy the list and, if you don’t read or listen to books on a regular basis, this is one of my 2021 challenges to you!

One more thing, I placed them in the order I read them. It’s not a best is first list. And definitely don’t judge them by the length of what I wrote. Length varies but not my positive journey with each book.

Obviously. For two reasons.

First, I’ve spent the last five years growing and learning though seasons of depression, anxiety and panic. Tools, counseling and community have been my remedy. This past February, I used one of the methods in this book to talk myself down on the way to speaking on a panel. I was doubting my value and was sure the other panelists were more accomplished and successful than me. I followed the steps in this book on the way to the panel and got out of my own head. Woohoo!

Second, I love the vision of Jennie Allen. I ran across IF:Table online several years ago on a road trip home from NC. It led me to IF:Gathering which I have been a part of for the last four years. The message of discipleship and community has ministered and empowered me to grow and help other women to do the same.

Margaret writes like you are sitting in the living room with her. I completed this 52 week devotional in seven weeks. I even colored the spectacular coloring pages. I started this at the height of the quarantine which probably explains the coloring and the daily commitment, but fun nonetheless!

Margaret is a cancer survivor, bible teacher and outspoken, loving sister.

She authored a study on my bible boyfriend James that I may put on my desk for January.

I read this book alongside Get Out of Your Head because of the similar themes. The books are very different in style but address the truth which is: Identify the false beliefs in your mind and talk back with the truth of Christ.

I met Hayley at the Meet the Authors tent at Nest Fest. She wrote in the book: Sasha, He is mighty and bright in you! Keep going!

Side note: If you are a millennial, I think you will especially like this book.

This is one of the two guy authored books I read this year. Ann Voskamp wrote the forward which is how I found the book. I’ve realized over the last few years that daily rhythms and spiritual disciplines supersede the day’s agenda. I used to and often still revert to running off performance, the needs of others and the demands of the day, but I’m getting better at prioritizing rhythms and disciplines. The neat part of this book is that the author, for each discipline or rhythm, provides philosophical, biblical and historical context, plus a good story. Pastor Shigematsu includes intimate journal questions after each chapter – I answered each and every one.

You will like this book.

I can’t think of strong enough words to lovingly share this book of community. I only pass one or two books on to my mom each year and this is one of them.

I will simply say, Take your shoes off and walk with the author to places you wish you would go but don’t. Must Read. Especially if you want to walk like Jesus.

We moved one summer ago, and I used this book to decorate our master bedroom. I also used it to canvass what I had already styled in our new home. The book has beautiful pictures and gives a step by step process for styling each room. Cool, right?

Cozy Minimalism is a mindset that helps you get whatever style you love with the fewest possible items. You set your home up for true connection and rest without using more resources, money and stuff than needed.

This book taught me how to use the things I love like vintage, handmade and sentimental pieces in a way that does not clutter up the space.

In the spirit of CoMi, Myquillyn hosts an annual event in NC called the Nest Fest. Two years ago, my friend Steph and I had the best time ever. It’s all about banjo music, food trucks and creative vendors. I’m hoping to go again in October 2021.

I read this book just before it became impossible to get a copy. If you’re light skinned and admit you live in a bubble, read Latasha’s story and, with truth and love, assess your beliefs about racism in our culture. Latasha wrote a lament at the end of each chapter, similar to a spoken hymn.

As a white, middle class person, it was sometimes hard for me to read out loud the lines of repentance for collective racism. But I think that is just one of Latasha’s calls to us as a country.

I highly recommend checking out to see how you can be part of the dialogue.

There is so much depth here. Few books stun me.

Dr. Thompson’s description of the Trinity’s creation, love and vulnerability towards us moved me to seeing God for who he actually is – closer to my humanity and kinder than I have ever imagined. And, I already believed God to be infinitely kind.

I will oversimplify and say that shame may be keeping you from releasing good into the world. This book will help you understand why and overcome the shame in your story.

My friend Suzanne gave me this book a few years ago. She doesn’t have time to read but she knows I will. If you do life with a group of authentic, transparent sisters, this is your anthem. If you’ve been hesitant about pursuing real community, this is your instruction guide. For more of my thoughts on this book, read Let’s Do It: Choose Real with Two Questions.

Alia preaches:

Your gift may be your weakness, and in that place, you may show yourself to be strong.

The author’s story and biblical perspective is eye opening and empowering.

She shares nakedly about growing up in poverty, the love between she and her husband, her darkness suffering from mental illness. She uses a language of hope and grace that only someone who has experienced weakness can know.

We read this book in my bible study together. The resulting conversations about poverty, racism, births of our kids, mental illness and imposter syndrome were rich and needed by all.

This is my first year commemorating Advent. It’s so strange, but I am not ready to talk about Advent yet. I am a little behind on the daily devotion, but that’s not the reason for me not being ready to talk.

Can you think of a time when you tried something new, but lack context and experience?

Like the time I took a course called Performance Theater and didn’t know why we started with Aristotle. Yes, duh, he is responsible for the way we analyze and create format for productions. So, with Advent, I really haven’t reached my Yes, duh moment.

Advent is more than the cultural, commercial push back. It’s sort of like letting yourself be solemn so that you can prepare to usher in the birth of the King in joy. I may circle back to this in another post, but I will be back to Advent again next year.

Enjoy the list and, if you don’t read or listen to books on a regular basis, this is one of my 2021 challenges to you!


Your Soul Sister


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