To me, a good book is the perfect Christmas present.
This may not be true for everyone, but I think giving someone a special book you have enjoyed or that is within their realm of interest is thoughtful, creative, and usually...pretty budget-friendly! Every year, my Amazon and Barnes & Noble wish lists grow with countless books I’m dying to read. When a family member asks what I want for Christmas, those are the first links I send! It’s no secret I love to read...after all, I have a floor to ceiling bookcase in my bedroom! You should have seen us try to move that thing in...thank goodness for sliding glass doors and the many friends who helped us! Ever since I was a little girl, being among books is one of my favorite places to be. Whether in a bookstore or in my own home, reading is one of the most comforting, inspiring, and enjoyable ways to spend my time.
At the beginning of 2017, I wrote a reading list filled with the many books I was hoping to read throughout the year. I have not finished all of them, but I’ve made a pretty satisfying dent...and even read several books I never put on the list! It’s been a fantastic year as far as books are concerned, and I included many of the stand out reads in my monthly favorites.
Books make wonderful gifts and stocking stuffers, so for Blogmas Day 15, I’m sharing a roundup of my 2017 favorites - my top recommendations as you shop for the bookworm in your life!
Blogmas Day 15: Stocking Stuffer & Gift Guide for the Bookworm
#1 - Wonder by R.J. Palacio
One of my all-time favorite reads of 2017. This story is needed right now. It’s all about overcoming the things that divide us, pressing into family, and figuring out that we are braver than we know. A children’s book for everyone. Buy it here.
#2 - A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
A beautiful story about a young boy’s perspective of his mom’s cancer battle. Months after finishing it, I was still thinking about this book. Buy it here.
#3 - The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
I knew I loved this one when I missed the characters as soon as I finished. Few fictions books have stuck with me like this one...I love Flora’s purity and courage, and the layers to her story. Buy it here.
#4 - The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
This historical fiction novel is about two sisters in the chaos of World War II. Each word will capture you and break your heart in the best way. A great book to bring on a trip! Buy it here.
#5 - The Book Thief by Mark Zusak
I have NO idea why it's taken me this long to read this incredible book. This story is also set in World War II Germany and will take your breath away. A must read. Buy it here.
#6 - Harry Potter Illustrated Editions by J.K. Rowling and Illustrated by Jim Kay
The ultimate gift for the Harry Potter fan, and even more so for those who have yet to read the series. Do those people exist? These editions are gorgeously illustrated, fully transporting you into Rowling's impressive, magical world. Buy it here.
Favorite Books on Faith
#1 - Wild and Free by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan
From the very first pages, this book has spoken directly to my heart. Jess and Hayley bring such powerful insight about what it really means to be wild and free in God's purpose for us. A MUST read for all women, in my opinion! Buy it here.
#2 - Stay the Path by Bobbie Houston
I’ve read this book four times this year. Yeah, you read that right. Each word is oozing with godly wisdom. I truly feel like Bobbie Houston is mentoring me as I read these powerful pages on longevity, leadership, and walking with Jesus. Buy it here.
#3 - Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
In this book, Shauna boldly and vulnerably speaks words of truth to the reader who is trapped in perfectionism, proving, and hustling for her worth. This book is one I see myself reading every year because it is so dense with powerful and life-changing revelation. Buy it here.
#4 - My Own Worst Enemy by Janet Davis
A powerful look at the self-sabotage so many of us inflict on ourselves, and each chapter includes a personal story and Bible story to connect the dots. I loved this one so much, I convinced four other friends to read it. They loved it too! Buy it here.
#5 - Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life by Henri Nouwen
I am a bonafide Nouwen fangirl, and if you're not new to this blog, you're probably sick of hearing about it. Oh well! I loved this compilation of letters Henri wrote during his lifetime. Every word inspired and encouraged my heart. Buy it here.
#6 - Letters to My Daughters: The Art of Being a Wife by Barbara Rainey
If you are seriously dating, engaged, or married - put this book at the top of your list! A gorgeous read, filled to the brim with insight on what a godly marriage and wifehood is meant to look like. Buy it here.
Favorite Books for Home
#1 - Simple Matters by Erin Boyle
A lovely take on simplifying our homes and making what we have enough. This is the perfect book for that minimalist, activist, and/or small-space living friend of yours. Buy it here.
#2 - Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist
I have been a huge Shauna fan for years and have enjoyed every book she’s written. This one just might be my new favorite. Each chapter is a reflection on life in community and closes with a recipe! Now that’s my kind of cookbook. A great gift for newlyweds or someone in a new home! Buy it here.
#3 - Small Victories by Julia Turshen
A beautiful cookbook, filled with simple but delicious recipes that really help build your skills in the kitchen! Buy it here.
#4 - Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves by Emily Henderson
I love Emily Henderson, and have followed her blog for a long time. This is the ideal book for the friend who loves to read and loves crafting a beautiful home and space for others. Full of easy and practical tips! Buy it here.
Favorite Books on Leadership
#1 - The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell
I don’t know how it’s taken me this long to get on the Maxwell train! If you are interested in impact, influence, and healthy, thriving leadership...read this book! I reread almost every chapter as soon I was done reading it because it is just so dense with the good stuff! Buy it here.
#2 - Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
A book I recommend to anyone and everyone. This is a comprehensive and completely life-changing guide for creating balance and boundaries in relationships. Buy it here. (But not for the person who YOU need to create boundaries with...that would be a little awkward.)
#3 - The Magnolia Story by Joanna and Chip Gaines
Chip and Joanna Gaines are some of the most inspiring and hardworking people I’ve come across! This book makes you feel like they are your friends, and their journey will certainly light a fire under whatever dream you’re dreaming. Buy it here.
#4 - In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen
I’ve read this book at least 2x a year for the last four years. A quick but powerful read on what real Christian leadership looks like. Truly groundbreaking. Buy it here.
What have been your favorite reads from 2017? What book are you hoping to receive for Christmas? Share in the comments below!