Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Reading List

Nancy Kelly at Sage Parnassus posts an annual reading list each year, which I enjoy looking over; this year for the first time I attempted to keep a comprehensive list of my own.  Of course this doesn't include the seemingly vast quantities of books we read for school......and I didn't include any poetry here, but I'll try to remember to do that next year (I was reading a lot of Blake this fall....)

My full list is at the bottom of the page, and my top recommendations from the list are:

Under the Tuscan Sun--For a long time I was turned off by this book because the cover of my thrift-store copy was so Hollywood (it featured a shot from the movie).  I have to say that Frances Mayes' book is excellent in its own right: cerebral, witty and well-written.  I loved the intersection of food, history and culture. If you've seen the movie and did not enjoy it, give the book a shot: it's completely different.  I gave away the thrift store copy and plan to buy a pretty copy for my personal library!

Hannah Coulter (Wendell Berry): I was blown away by the beauty of this book. It broke my heart in all the right places.  There were moments I just had to stop reading and hold the book to my heart and let the tears fall. I'd never read any of Berry's fiction before.....but I will now.

Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families (John and Linda Friels)-I read this on my kindle as the first book of the year, at my father's suggestion (he read it back in the 1980s).  Truly useful discussions on codependency, addictions (not limited to substance abuse), healthy boundaries, etc.  Great for reflecting on the past and pondering the future.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Kondo).  This goes without saying--I am obsessed, and on track to Kondo my entire house (with the exception of the garage/man-cave) by spring. Marie Kondo is *in fact* a genius.

Hold onto Your Kids (Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate)-I've read my fair share of parenting books, but this is my favorite. It's a book on attachment parenting, and how a child's desire to bond with the parent is the foundation of a healthy relationship. Attachment parenting books seem to focus on the baby/toddler years, but this book's focus is more on older children and teenagers, which I appreciate! I also think it's practical and realistic.

Peace Like a River (Leif Enger): Leif Enger can write.   The book is vivid and luminous, beautiful and moving.

I have a feeling that Fierce Convictions will make this top list, too.  I'm only a few chapters in, but can already tell that I'll like it.

The complete list:

1. Under the Tuscan Sun-Frances Mayes
2. Own Your Life-Sally Clarkson
3. The Abolition of Man--CS Lewis
4. Love Does-Bob Goff*
5. A Hunger for God--John Piper
6. Eat and Run--Scott Jurek
7. Between Walden and the Whirlwind-Jean Fleming
8. Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families-John and Linda Friel 
9. Rome Sweet Rome-Scott and Kimberly Hahn
10. Walking through Fiery Trials--Mary Pat Jones
11. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency-Alexander McCall Smith
12. Waking up in Heaven-Crystal McVea
13. Hannah Coulter--Wendell Berry
14. The Hardest Peace-Kara Tippets
15. Fierce Convictions--Karen Swallow Prior (in progress)
16. Hold On To Your Kids-Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate
17. The Substitute Guest-Grace Livingston Hill
18. Seven-Jen Hatmaker (skimmed it)
19. A Mother's Rule of Life-Holly Pierlot 
20. Peace Like a River-Leif Enger 
21. Parenting with Presence-Susan Stiffleman 
22. The Orchard-Adele Crockett (in progress) 
23. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up-Marie Kondo
24. Alabama Chanin Studio Sewing Patterns-Natalie Chanin (does this count? I did read it cover-to-cover, and delighted in it!)

Now time to tackle the 2016 list--which is already long! My husband gave me Pioneer Girl and Go Set a Watchman for Christmas, so I'm ready to read!


  1. Polly,
    What a thoughtful, well-rounded list you have! I love Leif Enger (he is a Minnesotan, you know!). The only reason Hannah Coulter didn't make my top pics was that is was a reread. It is a favorite as are all the Port William tales.Tuscan Sun might just be next for me!

  2. Polly this is an amazing list! I had never heard of Wendell Berry so when I googled his name I was astounded, he has gone straight onto this year's list.

    I also clicked over to Nancy's blog and found it fascinating, I'll be going back there.

    Thank you for an astounding start to my 2016 blog reading my dear friend.

    1. Rose, I am convinced that you will enjoy Wendell Berry!! Happy New Year and happy new reading!

  3. Dear Polly, happily I've stumbled across your little pocket of the world. Thank you for sharing this book list ... I see some of my own favorites as well as some new authors to look into, always a gift!