“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” — Oscar Wilde
Looking for good books to read?
While I can’t promise that the following books will necessarily be exactly to your taste, the fact that you have over 100 tomes to choose from, you’re bound to find one that might be up your alley.
This article is just the list of books I read this year. For a wrap-up/summary, see Part 2:
So here are the 101+ books I read in the past year, organized by when I read them. These are not really all of the books I read, just the ones that I remember and/or are listed in my online library history (but close enough! :D)
Italicized titles are fiction, non-italicized titles are nonfiction.
Underlined book links are affiliate links. If you choose to use the link to purchase a copy of the book, you will be helping to support Be a Brilliant Writer at no extra cost to you 😀
⋆ Star ratings key:
- 1 star: Don’t bother
- 2 stars: Eh, read if you have the time/interest/energy
- 3 stars: Interesting; read if you like the topic
- 4 stars: Highly recommended
- 5 stars: Best of its kind — put this on your reading list right now!
- It Happens Every Spring by Catherine Palmer ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
First in a 4-parter about a newly-empty-nested couple trying to reconnect.
- Summer Breeze by Catherine Palmer ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
Story about a divorced-remarried family dealing with a serious illness and a troublesome mother in law.
- Return to Me by Lynn Austin ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
Biblical fiction about the return to Jerusalem post-exile, featuring young prophet Zechariah and a childhood friend with pagan beliefs.
- The Spirit of Kaizen by Robert Maurer ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
Small improvements, made over time, can create massive changes.
- You’re Not Enough (And That’s Okay) by Allie Beth Stuckey ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
Part autobiography, part manifesto, the author reveals the harmful and impotent side of “self-love” culture.
- The Rage Against God by Peter Hitchens ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
The Christian brother of one of the most famous “New Atheists” tells the story of his past, his turning away and turning back to God.
- Will it Waffle? by Daniel Shumski ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A recipe book all about waffles — savory and sweet!
- The Garden of Words by Makoto Shinkai ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A high school boy passionate about making shoes bumps into a young teacher who doesn’t quite fit in.
- Bringing Up Girls by James Dobson ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
Dobson talks to parents about the best way to raise their daughters to be happy, productive women.
- Another Gospel? by Alisa Childers ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A popular online apologist examines the roots of liberal Christianity and compares it with the traditional gospel.
- Love’s Unfolding Dream by Janette Oke ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
6th in the series, about a frontier family’s youngest daughter and her relationship with her same-age niece.
- Writer to Writer by Gail Carson Levine ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A successful children’s writer gives writing advice to young aspiring writers.
- Love’s Long Journey by Janette Oke ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
3rd in the series, featuring a new frontier family, building a home out west.
- The Matchmakers by Janette Oke ⋆ ⋆
A pair of single adults try to set up their widowed parents.
- Glimpses of the Devil by M Scott Peck ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
True stories of exorcisms by a psychiatrist who was invited to witness and get involved with several demon-possessed individuals.
- Things Unseen by CJ Brightley ⋆ ⋆
Urban fantasy: A history student meets a mysterious man with unusual powers who may not be human, and is drawn into a greater conflict in the empire.
- Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell by Brandon Sanderson ⋆ ⋆
A family scrambles to survive while dealing with criminals and deadly fantastical creatures.
- Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A girl writes letters to her dead mother, only to have her missives intercepted by a boy doing community service as part of his punishment for some dark deed.
- Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire ⋆ ⋆
A girl from a candy land goes to another world and back in time to save her mother, who has died before she was even born.
- Seven Daughters for Seven Sons by Barbara Cohen ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A retelling of a middle eastern fable about a girl who dresses as a merchant man to save her poor familiy of only-daughters from humiliation and poverty.
- The Astonishing Color of After by Emily XR Pan ⋆ ⋆
A Taiwanese-American daughter revisits her mother’s home country after her mom’s suicide to uncover family stories and secrets.
- The Boxcar Children #1 by Gertrude Chandler Warner ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
The beginning of the adventures of four orphans who make a home in an abandoned boxcar.
- Flush by Carl Hiaasen ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A brother and sister duo stand up to a corrupt casino boat owner and try to prove he has been polluting their beaches.
- The Thief by Stephanie Landsem ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A retelling of the crucifixion of Jesus, from the perspective of a girl thief.
- On the Fence by Kasie West ⋆ ⋆
Motherless girl falls for old friend and neighbor, the guy next door.
- Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson ⋆ ⋆
A fantasy adventure in which a young boy with special powers must fight evil librarians.
- Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A girl cursed to appear as an old woman becomes housekeeper for a vain, self-centered wizard.
- And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
The story of a young boy who is separated from his beloved sister, and the many events that happen in the intervening decades.
- Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A girl must choose to marry one out of a group of social outcast bachelor brothers when she risks helping them against their enemies.
- Lonely in Longtree by Jill Stengl ⋆ ⋆
A woman places a personal ad in a newspaper and starts a correspondence with an unknown man.
- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo ⋆ ⋆
A ragtag group of outcast outlaws attempts a massive heist in one of the most well-protected fortresses in the north.
- The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne ⋆ ⋆
The adventures of Winnie the Pooh and his friends in the forest.
- My Rescue Dog Rescued Me by Sharon Ward Keeble ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A collection of true stories of rescue dogs who saved their owners.
- Dog Shaming by Pascale Lemire ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A hilarious photo-book of dogs wearing signs next to the messes they’ve made 😉
- Mark of the Raven by Morgan L Busse ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
First in a series about a girl with hidden powers that can be used to kill, and her growing realization that everything she thought she knew is not as it is.
- Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
All about how the gender confusion trend tend is hurting young impressionable children.
- Chasing the Dragon by Jackie Pullinger ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
The true story of a single British female missionary to the most dangerous streets of Hong Kong.
- Janie Face to Face by Caroline B Cooney ⋆ ⋆
The final installment in a series about a girl who discovers she was kidnapped as a toddler.
- Before and After by Judy Christie ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
The true stories of several children who were kidnapped and sold at birth into adoption in Tennessee.
- The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy ⋆ ⋆
A small fable involving the titular characters. Similar in tone and niche to The Little Prince.
- Positive Addiction by William Glasser ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A psychiatrist discusses what causes negative addictions and positive addictions, and how to avoid the former and nurture the latter.
- Reality Therapy by William Glasser ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A psychiatrist discusses the two root causes (and thus, treatments) for every mental illness.
- Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferriss ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
Ferriss compiles his most useful lessons learned from interviewing years of interesting, accomplished people.
- Live Not By Lies by Rod Dreher ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
The true stories of brave men and women who resisted various Communist regimes, and how we may do the same when facing similar trials.
- The Land Beneath Us by Sarah Sundin ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A WWII historical fiction novel about a soldier who knows he is going to die in the war, and the young stranger he unexpectedly marries in order to save her from a hideous situation, and what happens after.
- Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A former opera student describes the strategies he used to become a skilled polyglot.
- The Inner Game of Tennis by W Timothy Gallwey ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
The book that started it all — how the brain really learns, as told by a tennis instructor.
- Cry of the Raven by Morgan L Busse ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
Newly married and living in a country on the brink of war, Selene has to learn to use her powers to save their land from an evil empire.
- Flight of the Raven by Morgan L Busse ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
The final installment of the Ravenwood Saga.
- Daughter of Cana by Angela Hunt ⋆ ⋆
The twin sister of the apostle Thomas and the brother of Jesus get together to try to convince their respective brothers to stop the silliness and return home.
- The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin ⋆ ⋆
Four ways that people’s personalities tend to work, and how to get along better with others.
- The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale ⋆ ⋆
Famous self improvement speaker from a few decades past gives his advice for living a prosperous life.
- Them Before Us by Katy Faust ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A child of two gay parents defends children’s rights to have a healthy relationship with both of the people who contributed to their existence.
- The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein ⋆ ⋆
The life of a race car driver, seen through the eyes of his dog.
- The Chosen: I Have Called You By Name by Jerry Jenkins ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
The novelization of the largest independent crowdfunded multi-season TV series on the life of Christ and his disciples, season 1.
- The Now Habit by Neil Fiore ⋆ ⋆
How to get things done and avoid procrastination.
- Speaking of Homosexuality by Joe Dallas ⋆ ⋆
A man who formerly lived as a homosexual discusses bridging the gap between people who disagree.
- Unschooling Rules by Clark Aldrich ⋆ ⋆
A list of lessons learned by the author on nontraditional schooling.
- Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A brief inspirational book on how to gather and use ideas to be more creative.
- Make it Messy by Marcus Samuelsson ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
The memoir of a master chef, adopted from Ethiopia to Sweden.
- Hope Rising by Kim Meeder ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
The true stories of healing that happens at a second chance horse ranch.
- Serenity by R.A. DeCandido ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A persecuted group of space outlaws offers protection for an abused girl with a dark secret.
- Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller ⋆ ⋆
A little girl treats a squash her parents bought her as her own special pet.
- The Long Tail by Chris Anderson ⋆ ⋆
How the internet has changed marketing and gatekeeping and content consumption.
- Show Your Work by Austin Kleon ⋆ ⋆
Another inspirational little book from Kleon about letting yourself publish your creative work.
- Murder, Motherhood, and Miraculous Grace by Debra Moerke ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
The true story of a foster mom and a great tragedy that changed her life forever.
- The Nazi Officer’s Wife by Edith Hahn ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
The true story of a Jewish woman who survived the Holocaust by living as a Nazi officer’s wife.
- Newspaper Blackout by Austin Kleon ⋆ ⋆
A collection of poems by Kleon, created by blacking out newspaper segments.
- The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers ⋆ ⋆
A troubled artist and his assistant learn that they each must heal individually before pursuing a relationship.
- The Cost of My Faith by Jack Phillips ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
The true story of the baker who
- Daughter of Rome by Tessa Afshar ⋆ ⋆
The story of Priscilla and Aquila from the Bible, reimagined.
- Eternity in Their Hearts ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A missionary to third world trivespeoples points out that many people groups not exposed to formal Christianity nevertheless are more aware than people think of the basic fundamentals of the Christian worldview.
- Mismatch by Lensey Namioka ⋆ ⋆
A Chinese-American teen and Japanese-American teen must hide their growing relationship from their familes, who haven’t gotten over the shadows of WWII.
- Work Clean by Dan Charnas ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
How professional chefs organize their workflow, and how their techniques can help today’s mind workers.
- In My Hands by Irene Gut Opdyke ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A young Polish woman saves a dozen Jews during the Holocaust by hiding them in a Nazi officer’s house, and sacrificing more than she ever anticipated.
- Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
How human beings don’t learn from mistakes, and how they can, using examples from medicine, aviation, cults, and more.
- Hatchet by Gary Paulsen ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A boy must survive alone with just a hatchet after his plane goes down in the Canadian wilderness.
- Keep Going by Austin Kleon ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
Kleon writes yet another short book to encourage creatives.
- Learn Japanese Verbs and Adjectives Using Memory Mnemonics by Ryan McDonald ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A list of verbs and adjectives with English mnemonics.
- The Hand of God by Bernard Nathanson ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A former top level abortion doctor tells his life story and why he changed his mind.
- The Science of Rapid Skill Acquisition by Peter Hollins ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A primer on how to learn any skill quickly and well.
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
The first novel in the dystopian trilogy about a girl who is forced to fight to the death for the entertainment of wealthy elites.
- Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
The second book in the Hunger Games series. Now that Katniss has survived the Hunger Games, she is forced into it again, with even higher stakes.
- The Panem Companion by V Arrow ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A series of essays about various aspects of the Hunger Games.
- Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
How to make and break habits and use them to make your life better.
- The Lion and the Unicorn by Richard Harding Davis ⋆
A series of British short stories, involving light romance, politics and betrayal.
- Pimsleur Japanese Level 1 by Pimsleur ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
An audiobook on learning Japanese from the basics.
- Bandersnatch by Diana Glyer ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
The true story of the Inklings, the writing group that included CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien and their friends.
- The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
The author encourages readers to think bigger in planning and in life.
- Assume the Worst by Carl Hiaasen ⋆
A cynical graduation speech written by a Florida writer whose childrens books are usually more hopeful and cheery than this.
- The Wish Book Christmas by Lynn Austin ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A story about two little boys whose mothers teach them how to give instead of just take during Christian — based on characters from Austin’s previous WWII novel characters.
- Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A classic primer on how to think and see like a real artist.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
The final installment in the famous series about a boy wizard and how he defeats his murderous arch-nemesis — um, sorry, was that a spoiler? 😉
- 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
Life improvement, written in short chunks with anecdotes.
- Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters From Obedience School by Mark Teague ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A Clever picture book about a dog sent to obedience school (check out the contrast between the text and pictures!)
- The Seven-Day Weekend by Ricardo Semler ⋆ ⋆
The unusual laissez-faire philosophy behind a successful Brazilian company.
- Leftover in China by Roseann Lake ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
Interviews with the “leftover women” in China, unmarried women over the age of 30.
- McGrowl: It’s a Dog-Eat-Dog World by Bob Balaban ⋆ ⋆
A bionic dog and his boy must thwart the plans of a dastardly duo who are masters of disguises.
- Music Production by Tommy Swindali ⋆ ⋆
A primer on how to produce electronic music.
- Seven Women by Eric Metaxas ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
The biographies of seven
- The Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
A silly picture book with, as it says, no pictures. But what is it instead? Read and find out!
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