Dec 11 2011

Books I enjoyed in 2011


Way back in January, I shared a list of some goals for 2011. When I re-read that post, I can hardly believe it was written a mere 11 months ago. So much has happened. I’ll talk more about how those goals went and set some more for 2012 later on, but I thought I’d take this opportunity to write about some of my favorite books from the year.

Sidenote — I had been recording my books read in a Google Doc, but that’s no fun. I found out that Shelfari lets you import all Amazon purchases with just a few clicks, and you can also manually add books from your own collection or library or something. YAY. I’m still fiddling with it, but if you’re on that site too, add me.

I set a goal of completing 24 books. It was a lot more than I read in 2010 and I thought it was a doable goal. The year isn’t over, and I’m at 33. Woo! Of these,

  • 13 were Kindle ebooks read on my iPod Touch or computer
  • One was an audio book
  • 4 were fiction
  • 16 were in the Christian genre
  • 5 had something to do with finance
  • 6 pertained to parenting issues

I read a lot of non-fiction, it seems. I enjoy fiction quite a bit, but it seems like I’m always reaching for a non-fiction book. When I do sit down to read some fiction, it’s usually for a mental break. Unfortunately, I didn’t take great notes after finishing each book so now I’m having to go by memory. I’m not the best reviewer, sorry. If any title interests you, read more reviews on Amazon or Shelfari. Links below are affiliate.

Here are some of my favorites from 2011, in no particular order:

(Non-fiction, parenting) A Family of Value by John Rosemond. I appreciated his old-school, common-sense parenting style. It talks more about being family-centered than child-centered. The marriage (usually) comes before children, and children really aren’t supposed to be at the center of the family.

Further, I think it’s important to raise our children in a way that prepares them for adulthood, and allows them to be responsible instead of needlessly coddled.

(Christianity) Trusting God by Jerry Bridges. WOW. This book explores the sovereignty of God and helps to have a better understanding and appreciation for God’s plan. Yes, bad things happen in life. Children die. People are mistreated and horribly abused. Major catastrophes happen on a global scale. In all of this, do we believe God is fully sovereign, but not fully good, or perhaps God is fully good, but not totally sovereign?

Bridges refutes Rabbi Harold Kushner’s argument that God isn’t fully sovereign. God can be (and IS) completely sovereign and completely benevolent and these things can happen simultaneously. We can trust God, even especially when life is hard.

(Christianity, consumer culture) The Divine Commodity by Skye Jethani. This is one of the first titles I read in the electronic format. Explores Christian worship as entertainment and how God is being boxed up and packaged as a consumer product. Consumerism is everywhere, and this book shows how it is a part of the church unfortunately, and what we can do about it.




(Non-fiction) Unplanned by Abby Johnson. This story was loaned to me by a friend from church during the 40 Days for Life campaign, while churches prayed for an end to abortion. I had to finish this book in one setting — it just had me and kept me going!

Abby tells her story of how she got involved at Planned Parenthood as a volunteer, and worked her way up to director of a Planned Parenthood location in Texas. She shares how passionate she was for her cause — and then her rather dramatic change of heart after she is in the room for an ultrasound-guided abortion. She left Planned Parenthood (not without drama, and legal drama too) and is now a pro-life advocate.

I think people on both sides of the debate could appreciate Abby’s book.

(Parenting, organization) Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family by Mary Ostyn. I only have two little kids, but there was still a lot of good advice I learned from this book on raising my kids, being organized, and not going bananas. I was encouraged and entertained by her writing style.




(Historical fiction, WW2 era) While We’re Far Apart by Lynn Austin. My only fiction work listed here. I selected it at random in my Kindle list and enjoyed it from the beginning. Set in the United States during WWII, it tells the story of a woman who has some growing up to do, and how she is woven in with others in her community. I was especially interested in the Jewish landlord and his story.



(Christianity) The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller. This was my sole audio book of the year. It was short, roughly 2 hours. I listened while driving and was really engaged, but I’m not sure if the audio format is right for me. I’ll try again with other titles to see, but I often like to re-read powerful paragraphs to let them soak in. I’m more of a visual learner, I think. This is a title that I’d like to read with my own eyes at some point instead of just listening to it.

This book is about the parable of the wayward son, AND about the elder brother mentioned in the parable. Christians who have been in the faith for awhile might be elder brothers and not even realize it. Eye-opening, fantastic work that should appeal to any Christian.

Have you read any of these titles? What did you think? Any suggestions on what I should add on my to-read list for 2012?

I’m putting some titles on my bookshelf in Shelfari. Since I read so many ebooks on my iPod in 2011, I thought it would be worth my while to get an actual Kindle. So I did. A Kindle Touch and I’m thrilled that I can also borrow books from the library on it! Hopefully the library will keep on adding more to the e-collection.

I can also electronically loan certain titles to others (if it has been approved by the publisher) so if anything on this list or on my Shelfari list appeals to you, get in touch and I’ll see if I can lend it.

Posted under Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

5 Responses to “Books I enjoyed in 2011”

  1. I also enjoyed While We’re Far Apart. Unplanned sounds interesting, too.

  2. I had the same comments as Lisa:-) Also, I asked Santa for a Kindle for Christmas. What’s the best/least expensive way to find books for it?

  3. The best way to get free Kindle books is to subscribe to the Amazon top 100 free RSS: (the RSS button is at the bottom). There’s a blog that is great about publishing the freebies, and this one covers ones that don’t always crack the top 100:

    Here’s another link for free book collections on Amazon:

    Lastly, check your library’s web site. I looooved the Allegheny County library system and I bet they have an extensive free ebook collection you can borrow from. And, check out my Shelfari page for books I own. If any interest you, lemme know and perhaps I can e-loan them to you. Hope that helps!

  4. You have a lot of great titles on Shelfari. Expect a request from me after Christmas:-)

  5. Thanks for your email about the fact that books on the kindle can be archived. I’ll have to do that soon!
    A Family of Value and Unplanned both sound good.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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