The 10 Best Books I Read in 2017

The Ten Best Books I Read in 2017

Reading is one of my favorite things to do, and last year was a record-breaking year for me!

The 10 Best Books I Read in 2017

I set the goal in 2017 to read 104 books by the end of the year. I didn’t read that many, but I did read 74 books!

This was the most I’ve ever read in a year. I think having a really challenging goal helped push me, and I read a lot of really diverse books. I’m looking forward to another reading challenge this year.

If you’re curious how I find time to read so much, maybe this post will help. I share fifteen tips for making time for reading more.

I keep track of everything I read on Goodreads and in my bullet journal. At the end of each year, I like to look back over the list of books I read and decide which books were my favorite.

The 10 Best Books I Read in 2017

Today I want to share the ten best books I read in 2017, which is nearly impossible to do, but I’m going to try.

I liked how Emily Freeman shared the Amazon description and why she liked the books she chose on her top ten books of 2017 post. It’s a great list by the way. Check her list out here. So I’m going to follow her lead and do the same with this post.

By the way, I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. You can see my full disclosure policy here

The Ten Best Books I Read in 2017

(In no particular order. This was hard enough as it stands!)

Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work, by Timothy Keller

Genre: Christian Living

About the Book: “With deep conviction and often surprising advice, Keller shows readers that biblical wisdom is immensely relevant to our questions about work today. In fact, the Christian view of work—that we work to serve others, not ourselves—can provide the foundation of a thriving professional and balanced personal life.”

Why I Loved It: This is a thoughtful and insightful book on the subject of work and calling. It was refreshing, challenging, and such an eye-opener for me. Whether you work outside the home, work at home, or stay at home. It doesn’t matter. You will gain new insight into the purpose of work and how it can be used for God’s glory.

America’s First Daughter, by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

Genre: Historical Fiction

About the Book: “Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph–a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.”

Why I Loved It: It was a slow start for me, but once I got hooked a few chapters in, I was hooked. I loved getting a look into Thomas Jefferson’s life and some of the behind the scene things that inevitably took place during our nation’s history. It was a true page turner, and I couldn’t put it down especially in the last quarter of the book.

Share Jesus Without Fear, by William Fay

Genre: Christian Living

About the Book:  “Share Jesus without Fear relays Fay’s passionate, effective instructions on how to share the love of Christ with anyone–without feeling intimidated on either side of the conversation. Bold and joyful, the outreach movement continues without fear.”

Why I Loved It: Evangelism and sharing my faith isn’t something I’m necessarily afraid of doing, but I’ve often wondered if there is a “better way.” This book gave me the tools and teaching I needed to truly be able to share Jesus without fear. This book was recommended to me by my husband who also found the practical advice in this book revolutionary to sharing his faith more effectively.

How to Study the Bible by D.L. Moody

Genre: Bible Study and Reference

About the Book: “This classic book by Dwight L. Moody brings to light the necessity of studying the Scriptures, presents methods which help stimulate excitement for the Scriptures, and offers tools to help you comprehend the difficult passages in the Scriptures.”

Why I Loved It: Next to Women of the Word, by Jen Wilkin, this is one of the best books I’ve read on how to study the Bible. This book was written in the 19th century, and the challenges they faced then with Bible illiteracy was very much the same as what we face now. I had a hard time not highlighting the entire thing. I highly recommend this book!

You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis and Chan

Genre: Christian Living

About the Book: “In his latest book, Francis Chan joins together with his wife Lisa to address the question many couples wonder at the altar: “How do I have a healthy marriage?” Setting aside typical topics on marriage, Francis and Lisa dive into Scripture to understand what it means to have a relationship that satisfies the deepest parts of our souls.”

Why I Loved It: My husband and I listened to this one together, and we both agreed it’s one of the best books on marriage we have ever read. I loved that it was written from both Francis and Lisa Chan’s perspective. I also loved that it wasn’t your typical Christian marriage book.

The Boy Born Dead: A Story of Friendship, Courage, and Triumph by David Ring

Genre: Biography

About the Book: “In 1953, in Jonesboro, Arkansas, a baby boy was born–dead. The attending physician set his little body aside and tended to his mother for eighteen minutes. This narrative is inspired by the real-life events of David Ring–a boy literally born dead who survives but not without sobering consequences. Living with the harsh realities of cerebral palsy, Ring faces impossible odds yet stumbles into an improbable life of inspiration and influence in the small, unassuming town of Liberty, Missouri, in the 1960s.”

Why I Loved It: This book was inspiring to the very core. I loved the raw and real glimpse into the difficult realities of living with disabilities. This book made me cry, laugh, and think more deeply about my own faith and how I’m choosing to live it out.

Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney

Genre: Christian Living

About the Book: “When you pray, does it ever feel like you’re just saying the same old things about the same old things? Donald S. Whitney outlines an easy-to-grasp method that has the power to transform our prayer life: praying the words of Scripture.”

Why I Loved It: It truly is one of the most practical books on prayer I’ve ever read. The method is easy and it doesn’t require anything except your Bible to get started. Learning to pray God’s Word is paramount in growing in prayer, so this book was invaluable to me this year.

The Kitchen House: A Novel by Kathleen Grissom

Genre: Historical Fiction

About the Book: “In this gripping New York Times bestseller, Kathleen Grissom brings to life a thriving plantation in Virginia in the decades before the Civil War, where a dark secret threatens to expose the best and worst in everyone tied to the estate. Through the unique eyes of Lavinia and Belle, Grissom’s debut novel unfolds in a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deep-buried secrets, and familial bonds.”

Why I Loved It: This was gripping from the very first page to the very last page. The raw look into history set in the state I currently live was eye opening, humbling, and heartbreaking. It made me think, cry, and laugh. I couldn’t put it down.

Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community by By Brett McCracken

Genre:  Christian Living

About the Book: “What if instead of searching for a church that makes us comfortable, we learned to love our church, even when it’s challenging? What if some of the discomfort that we often experience is actually good for us? This book is a call to embrace the uncomfortable aspects of Christian community, whether that means believing difficult truths, pursuing difficult holiness, or loving difficult people—all for the sake of the gospel, God’s glory, and our joy.”

Why I Loved It: I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, but I really enjoyed it. I particularly liked how he dove into the Reformed Charasmatic movement a bit as this is probably what I most identify with by way of “comfortable” church for me. I’d recommend this book as something that will make you think a little about how your view of church has been shaped by what you’re most “comfortable” with.

Holiness: A Heart God Purifies, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Genre: Discipleship

About the Book: “Nancy Leigh DeMoss teaches that we must make it our constant, conscious ambition to be holy. Just as an athlete sets his sight on winning an Olympic gold medal, so we as believers must focus on the pursuit of holiness. Are you eager to know your heavenly Father in a more intimate way? Read Holiness and learn how to say ‘no’ to corruption and ‘yes’ to grace.”

Why I Loved It: This is the third book in a three-book series that I cannot recommend highly enough to anyone seeking to center their lives on Christ. All I can say for these books is: POWERFUL. Nancy did not mince words in this book, and the examples from people’s lives she used helped bring her point home in my heart. I liked that she helped me apply holiness (and the lack there of) directly into my own life.

Honorable Mentions:

What about you? What were some of the best books you read in 2017? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

By the way, did you see the 2018 Intentional By Grace Reading Challenge?

The 2018 Intentional By Grace Reading Challenge is composed of 13 book categorieswhich breaks down to reading 1 book every 4 weeks. All you need to do is download the list and start reading! Click here to get the list (plus I give some book recommendations for each category).

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  1. I’m struggling to find a good personal development book to start this year. I have Brendon Brouchard’s “High Performance Habits” but I just can’t get into it. It’s a little more than what I want right now. Do you have any other suggestions on this type of book beside the Timothy Keller book you mention here? (which I am considering) Thanks!

    1. I’m going to read Do More Better by Tim Challies this year. Getting Things Done by David Allen is a great book too. Some others: The Best Yes, by Lysa TerKeurst, The Four Hour Work Week, by Timothy Ferris, and Hands Free Life, by Rachel Macy Stafford.

  2. I love the reading challenge you did last year. I have always challenged myself with a reading goal…last year was 120 which I made by the skin of my teeth. I liked the Tim Challis challenge you did and am going to try it this year, but did not like some of his caterories, but I will replace them with your 13 for this year. I tend to read a lot of christian fiction, but by the end of the year I am bored with it, so I am very excited to change it up a bit. Just so you know, I am 60, single and have no children, so I am able to read quite a bit….I am impressed with how much you read being a mom and being so busy! Blessings to you in 2018!

  3. Last Fall I went through “The Walk Series” by Richard Paul Evans. It’s about a 30-something man who lost everything and was going to take his life; instead, he decided to walk across the country to the farthest place he could on the map. From Seattle Washington to Palm Beach Florida. The 5 book series leads you to all the places, people and events that occurred throughout his journey. It’s a very thought provoking series on grieving life and truly living life. I would highly recommend this series. Max Lucida’s books Because of Bethlehem and He Chose The Nails are AMAZING. I read them every year during Christmas and Easter. Must Have Books! Leigh Ann……you have inspired me to turn the TV off and read more. I LOVE to read and have read more last year than I have in several years. Plan to do it again this year. Thanks for the inspiration! Happy New Year!

    1. I’m glad this has inspired you! I’ve found making really challenging reading goals just helps me not waste time on mindless things. I still watch plenty of TV in the evenings when the kids are finally down, but I snag moments here and there throughout the day, or open the Kindle app on my phone instead of scrolling mindlessly through Facebook more often when I have larger goals. Here’s a to a great year of reading for you!