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My Top 10 Books of 2015

my top 10 books 20152015 was a banner year for me in the reading department. Inspired largely by this blog and my love for stories, I read more books this year than I have in a long time. With 2016 right around the corner, I figured I would do a bit of reflecting on the books I read this year.

So without further ado, here are my top 10 books of 2015:

  1. The Lord of the Ringsby J.R.R. Tolkien

Why I love it: More so than any other, this series reawakened my love for stories and opened my eyes to the beauty of the narrative of Scripture, especially the Old Testament. To find out exactly how, click here.

As C.S. Lewis said : “Here are beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron; here is a book that will break your heart.”

2.The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

Why I love it: This year I finished The Chronicles of Narnia for the first time. They were all great, but this final book in the series gave me a taste of heaven that took my breath away (and still does, when I think about it).

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the book: “I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!”

  1. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Why I love  it: Laura Hillenbrand’s telling of this amazing true story is absolutely riveting. It hooks on and never lets go. I’ve never read a true story that was more exhilarating, terrifying, or beautiful in its redemption. 

Unbroken tells the unbelievable life story of Louie Zamperini, an Olympic runner turned B-52 bombardier turned POW.

  1. A Severe Mercyby Sheldon Vanauken

Why I love it: Without a doubt, Mercy was one of my favorite reads of 2015. This true story traces the marriage of Sheldon and Jean Vanauken, their search for faith, their friendship with C.S. Lewis, and the tragedy of untimely death and love lost.

When I read this book I felt like I was talking with a friend whom I deeply loved and admired. I don’t think I’ve ever felt a deeper kinship with an author. Also, this was by far the most poignant and beautifully written autobiography I’ve ever read. Mercy is alternately beautiful, encouraging, and heart-breaking. 

  1. Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with Godby Tim Keller

Why I love it: Keller’s latest book on prayer is fantastic. Unlike most books on the subject which tend to be either purely theoretical or purely pragmatic, in typical Keller fashion, Prayer is theologically-rich yet extremely practical and understandable.

This book not only gave me a greater longing for a deeper, richer prayer life, but also a ton of hope and help for the journey. For more of my takeaways from the book, click here.


  1. The Pearlby John Steinbeck

Why I love it: Because the beauty of Steinbeck’s prose and the power of this novella inspired me to write fiction again. 

This short novella, one of Steinbeck’s most enduring works, is based on a Mexican folktale the author heard while traveling in the Baja California Sur region in 1940.

The story, sometimes considered to be a parable exploring man’s nature as well as greed and evil, is about a pearl diver named Kino who discovers “the Pearl of the World.”

  1.  Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Lifeby Anne Lamott

Why I love it: Because Lamott’s quirky, honest, and insanely practical advice helped me learn how to write again.

If you’re even remotely interested in writing fiction (or nonfiction), you should read this book.

8. 1776 by David McCullough

Why I love it: Because McCullough’s wonderful recounting of this fateful year in American history taught me a lot about leadership (for more on what I learned about leadership from George Washington, click here) and how the actions of a few can have ripple effects on many.

Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is a “powerful account of a storied year in the American revolution.”

9. Gileadby Marilynne Robinson

Why I love it: Set in Gilead, Iowa in the 1950s, the story is narrated by John Ames, a 76-year-old preacher who is writing a letter to his seven-year-old son.

As I’ve said before, if you’re looking for a page-turning thriller, look elsewhere. Gilead is a slow burner through and through. But if you have the patience, it is well worth it. This book is a wonderful meditation on the relationship between fathers and sons, war and peace, loneliness and love, despair and hope, faith and doubt.

For my full review on this book, click here.

10. Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Willby Kevin DeYoung

Why I love it: Because DeYoung’s book is super short but full of practical, freeing wisdom for how Christians should make decisions on some of life’s biggest questions (e.g. what to do for work, where to live, who to marry, etc.).

I highly recommend it, especially to my friends in their 20s.


What were your favorite books of 2015? Leave your response via Twitter, Facebook, or in the comments below. 

Disclosure: I participate in an affiliate program, which means that if you purchase a product I’ve recommended through a link, I receive a small percentage of the purchase price. There is no additional cost to you, and I only recommend resources that will add value to my readers.


  1. I like the title of the last one, JUST DO SOMETHING. Sometimes I think people get so hung up on being in God’s perfect will that they are frozen and do nothing. Might have to read this one!!! Neighbors at Emily’s today.

  2. mark

    January 5, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    Agreed. It’s a wonderful book. I highly recommend it. Thanks for commenting!

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