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My Favorite Books of 2013

I know these kinds of books lists usually are often written at the beginning of each year but for some reason I didn’t write a list for last years books yet so I’m doing that now. 🙂 You can also check out my favorite reads from 2012 and 2011.

I am the kind of person that always has a stack of books on my nightstand, and a continually growing list of more books I’d like to read. Right now I have about 30 books out from the library (a few of those are Raeca’s) and another 65 books on request (from other libraries around the province). And those numbers are pretty normal for me.

The books that I share on these yearly round-ups are all Christian non-fiction books, I do get other types out from the library like cookbooks, organic living, gardening, parenting, crafts, etc, etc, but when it comes to my favorite books of the year the ones I include are the game changers, the ones that leave me wanting to live a better life, so these are the ones I share. (That being said, I think my list for the books that I have been reading in 2014 will be a little more varied, though I guess we’ll have to see!)

First up is Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist, she is definitely one of my favorite author’s and this book did not disappoint. I love how she incorporated recipes at the end of each of her chapters, it gave it a special touch.

As always Shauna writes her own stories with such an open honesty that will have you smiling and sometimes crying right along with her. Reading one of her books always gives me such a strong desire to write.

If you have yet to read any of Shauna’s books (though I don’t know how that could be possible), I would suggest starting with her first, Cold Tangerines, and then Bittersweet, and finally Bread & Wine.



In No Greater Love, Levi Benkert tells the story that made him and his young family pick up and leave the American dream to live and work in Ethiopia. I love how he let’s us in and shares how he may not have gone about it all right (as he was just running away from his problems) but he shares the story of redemption of it.

Levi, his wife Jessie, and their children continue to live and work Ethiopia and are creating new families by joining together widows and orphans with their organization Bring Love In.




Little Princes by Conor Grennan is a true story that tells of his time working in Nepal with what he thought were orphans but later finds out the children very much have parents, and in reality they had been trafficked.

I read this book at the height of my human trafficking research last year and it is a really great and eye opening read, especially for those who are completely new to the issue.






Lauren recommended Awake by Noel Brewer Yeatts to me and I just devoured it. I think I read it in half a day.

In this book Noel shares about her heart for working with people in need around the world and when I read this book at the beginning of last year I just kept nodding my head over and over, so much of what she said was exactly what I was thinking/feeling.






I really liked Orphan Justice by Johnny Carr, don’t worry, it’s not the kind of book written to make you feel guilty or to convince you that you need to adopt a dozen children all from different countries.

What Carr does is tackles a different need in every chapter and shares some ways you can help with that need. He even breaks the things you can do down into different categories, things anyone can do, many can do, and those things a few can do. He shares some ways people are already helping with these issues and what I enjoyed was that so many of the ideas were completely new to me, and I’m someone that does a lot of research in this area, I thought I had heard it all, turns out I hadn’t!




Last summer/fall Jared and I felt ourselves in need of a bit of a break so we attended a different church for a few months. During the summer the church we attended had some small groups that were reading The Art of Neighboring by Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon. I picked this book up in the beginning of the summer and am so glad I did. It really changed the way I interact with my neighbors. Prior to reading it I always felt like there was this pressure to witness to them every time I saw them but it helped to show me that just being open and available is where I need to start.





What are some of your favorite books you read in 2013 (if you can remember that far back!)?
Any suggestions for my next reads?

I’m excited to host the Week’s End link up with Oak + Oats today, check it out and add your link!

Every Monday I host a link up called Week’s End! It is a place for you to link up your favorite post from the week and meet new bloggers. I love community and think that we can all learn something from each other! If you are wanting to join the co-host line up, you can sign up here and use code: WEEKSEND for 25% off any Oak + Oats packages.

Last week this most viewed post was American Crafters! I love the DIY pallet board that Laura created for her front porch! So perfect for the 4th of July!


1. Link up ANY POST from last week!

2. Make sure it is a POST and not your BLOG URL. We love your blog but we want you to share a post.

3. Click on one, two, three, or more posts and LEAVE ENCOURAGING COMMENTS. The whole point of this is to find new blogs, make new friends, and all that good stuff! You MUST read the post right before yours and comment.

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  1. i can’t wait to lay hands on ‘bread and wine’ and all of shauna niequist’s books for that matter. 😉 ‘little princes’ sounds like a book i’d love! thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. Little Princes sounds so good, but heartbreaking. Adding it to my ‘to be read’ list. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. I have already read Bread and Wine, so should I read Cold Tangerines or Bittersweet next? Bittersweet seems more appealing to me, with no rhyme or reason as to why.

  4. A lot of those books sound really interesting. Unfortunately I am like you with dozens of books on my to-read list (and always juggling reading 5-10 at a time….) but I will put some on my to-read list anyway! Thanks for sharing.

  5. I just added Little Princes to my wish-list the other night. And tonight I added a few more from this list and your others. My Amazon wish-list might explode one day! haha

  6. I always wish Shauna had more books for me to read, since I devoured all three in like a span of six months last year =) I’m definitely going to look into “The Art of Neighboring”–Sounds really good

  7. Your book list looks really interesting. I’ve just recently heard that kids are called ‘orphans’ but are actually being trafficked. We are planning to go to Myanmar and I have been told to be aware of that kind of thing. It makes me sad that kids are used that way. I’ll have to read that book sometime on the children in Nepal.

    1. Sadly, it happens very often. One of the major reasons we left one of our adoption agencies was because we heard of a situation where one of the in-country workers was trafficking their own nieces and nephews! I can’t wrap my head around how a person could do that, so we definitely got out of that program. I couldn’t bear to wonder for the rest of my life if the child that I adopted actually had biological parents that still wanted them.

  8. Such a great list! Almost all of these are on my “to read” list. My favorites from 2013–When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert, Little Bee by Chris Cleave (fiction), and Serving with Eyes Wide Open by David Livermore. So far in 2014, my absolute favorite has been A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman (a must read for anyone who hasn’t read it!).

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