Another year draws to a close. Ever since October or so, I’ve been absurdly excited about my last blog post of the year, because I have a tradition of listing my top reads of 2015. Usually I do fifteen books, but this year I couldn’t trim the list lower than seventeen. (I read too many good ones this year!) These books all impacted me profoundly in one way or another; they’ll reside in my mind for years to come. I tried to list them more or less in order, but that’s really hard for me to do, so don’t take the order too literally. So…out of almost sixty books, here are the TOP SEVENTEEN.
Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her
I had so much fun revisiting my girlhood fictional hero,
Nancy Drew. In a thoroughly engaging manner, this book presented lots
of what there is to know about the history of her existence.
Challengers, Beauty for Ashes, The Patch of Blue,
Grace Livingston Hill
four sweet Christian romance books, published in the 1930s, enhanced
my feel for and understanding of the 1930s American
forerunner of the “detective” genre, this thick Victorian novel
had intrigue on basically every page. It combined Eastern mystery, an
old country estate with secrets in northeast England, and the maze of
London with the puzzle of a missing diamond and a romance in
Alice in Wonderland
This children’s classic that I ought to have read years
ago was fun, quirky, and strangely insightful.
Ditto on this children’s classic, only it was a bit more
life-altering than Alice. The Christian lesson was
heart-warming, and it made me long for beauty—in nature, in simple
living, and in helping others.
From the Dark to the
Alicia A. Willis
This impacting book took me back to
ancient Rome and the persecution of the early Christians. It
strengthened my resolve to live for God and to be a witness of
poem reaches across the centuries. I especially loved the latter half
of the book; besides understanding it more than the first half, I
thought the Biblical themes put into lyrical verse was lovely and
Caught Up in a Story
I thoroughly enjoyed this nonfiction book about reading,
particularly choosing good books for kids to read. I closely
identified with the author’s reading journey, and came away with a
strengthened understanding and conviction of how essential reading
good books is. It’s called being “story-formed.”
Alicia A. Willis
Like Alicia Willis’s other
books, this novel, about the 1700s British slave trade, was exciting,
convicting, and encouraging. I was always on pins and needles over
what would happen next. The characters felt so real. And the
spiritual lessons—they were serious and rich.
This well-written and -researched novel about a rural
Pennsylvania factory town in the Great Depression was very powerful
and hard to put down. What made it absolutely fantastic was how
hard-hitting spiritual themes were woven into the very fabric of the
Day of Atonement
novel about the Maccabean Revolt filled a hole in historical fiction
that I always wanted filled. It was well-researched and detailed, and
gave me a better understanding of how Israel could have slid into
assimilation with the Greeks in inter-testament times. The ending was
powerful and made me more determined than ever to stand for God’s
The Map Across Time
C. S. Lakin
lengthy fantasy adventure was one long joy to read. I thoroughly
enjoyed the writing style, world-building, and characters of C. S.
Lakin, especially the myriad of ways she alluded to Scripture and
ancient Hebrew. Although it’s the second in a series, it felt
strong enough to stand on its own. So much adventure, so many twists,
so much mystery, so many beautiful descriptions and lessons….
This nonfiction memoir-type book was
extremely helpful for my Great Depression research, being about
Canton, Ohio (the setting of my WIP), in the 1930s. Not only was it
helpful, it was extremely touching as the author explored a
fascinating true story and traced the many lives connected to it.
Least of All Saints
The top four are
difficult to order, but I’ll do my best. This was an incredibly
well-written Christian novel from the 1950s. The author starts out
with a distinctive premise—that of an intellectual unbeliever who
becomes a Methodist minister because he believes the tenets of
Christian living are compelling, even if he doesn’t believe in God.
What follows is a thought-provoking, character-driven story that left
me strengthened in my faith.
Finally reading this beloved classic, I was able to see what
all the hype was about. It was truly a solid, satisfying, memorable
read. Although I did read an abridged version (the vast majority of
versions are abridged), it was plenty long enough. The scope of this
story was incredible. Jean Valjean is a wonderful character!
beautiful prose, Goudge weaves a heart-warming, thought-provoking
story about the enigmatic Dean of a city in the northeast England fen
country. The spiritual lessons sent chills down me, and the author’s
writing style is the most beautiful I’ve ever read!
Scent of Water
Although I may have liked
the story of The Dean’s Watch a tad better, The Scent of
Water had several scenes of beauty in it that touched me to the
core. Plus, it was my first Goudge novel; thus, it was the most
impacting. Set in England, the story took place contemporaneously to
when it was written (1950s, early 1960s) and involved a retired
teacher searching for something more to life.
What were some of your top reads of 2015? Which of the books on my list have you read, and what did you think of them?