My Top 5 Books in 2015

It’s that time of year again. My reading goal for 2015 was to read 50 books. With school, this was an ambitious goal. Right now I’m sitting at 48. You can see my top 5 for 2014 here.

It has been an awesome year of reading, but I want to make next year even better. I have a post coming up about ways I’ll be reading differently in 2016.

I’ve given 6 books 5 stars on Goodreads:

  • What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung
  • 41: A Portrait of My Father by George W. Bush
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
  • Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby
  • Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In: Lessons from an Extraordinary Life by Louis Zamperini
  • People To Be Loved by Preston Sprinkle

I gave 11 books 4 star ratings, showing I’ve been way too kind or I’ve done well picking books.

Now, it’d be easy to just take the 5 stars above and rank them 1-5. But, 5 star for me doesn’t mean I necessarily thought it was the best book. Also, I want to gear this list towards what I think others should read. For instance, while I really enjoyed 41, I know this is not for everyone.

Without further delay, my top 5.

1. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

I still haven’t seen the movie, but the book did not disappoint. I’ve become less of a fan of the long books with crazy stories, but this one needs it. From the background of his childhood, the Olympics, entering the military, the crash, the POW camps, to coming home, this whole book was necessary. This was also my first Audible book, and going forward Audible is going to be an integral part of my reading strategy!

Bonus: Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In is a great read right after Unbroken. This is actually written by Louis Zamperini, and while it is the same story as Unbroken, it’s great to hear it right from his mouth with his own personal insights.

2. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley

This book is too long, but it’s an important read. I’ve had this for a while, but never got around to reading it. It helps you see life a little differently, and since the author died this year, it’s a good time to pick it up. The “wealthy” are not who you’d expect, and it could require you to rethink what you think wealthy is. Dr. Stanley identifies seven traits that show up with those who accumulate wealth.

3. Quitter by Jon Acuff

I’ve known of Jon Acuff for a while, but never really paid attention. Finally, I started to pay attention. The title of the book leads you to think it’s about quitting your job. But it is not what it seems. Everyone struggles with their dreams and feeling boxed in with their day job. This book discusses all the thoughts that go through our head and how we can combat those. I wrote a little about some of these in a previous blog post on using your morning well.

Now, I may be biased because I did listen to this as an audio book, but I don’t think anyone does audio books better than Jon Acuff. He was funny, insightful, and added little notes not in the book.

4. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I know, I’m late to the party. In this classic, firemen start fires instead of putting them out. They burn books, but of course that’s not the story… the story is how a fireman and the other people in the story start questioning what they believe, leading to a different and great story. Not my usual type of read, but it is a classic, and I was thrilled to enjoy it so much.

5. Eat Move Sleep by Tom Rath

I put this on with a caveat: this isn’t original material. Many books in the “life” realm are good, but they focus intently on one subject. I liked this book because it focused on living well as a whole. Tom Rath is right: you cannot just focus on one and ignore the other 2 parts. And Tom Rath has unique insights stemming from dealing with sickness for over 20 years. This has caused him to try many remedies and strategies to live life to the fullest. Tom’s research, as well as the wide range of material, makes this a great “starter” book to start living a more healthy lifestyle.

To provoke thought: People to Be Loved by Preston Sprinkle

Preston Sprinkle is masterful, and I’d recommend all his books. This is really a top 5 book for me, but I know it’s not for everyone. While I plan to do more reading on the Bible and homosexuality, I doubt any can match this one. This book is a great introduction into the issue as it offers affirming and non-affirming views and breaking down the intricacies. Yes, Preston does have an opinion, but he does a great job of explaining it and being aware of his blind spots.

I’d encourage any Christian or anyone with questions about the Christian positions on homosexuality to read this. I don’t think he could have been more fair. I’ve put down a few of my thoughts in this post.


 

Look for my post on things I’ll do differently for 2016, as well as an announcement of those reading goals.

Let me know what you enjoyed reading in 2015. I would love to hear about them!