My Favorite Books of 2014

Jen Bradbury
Jan 03 · 5 min read

If you walk into my house, you'll notice stacks of books everywhere - evidence that I'm an avid reader. 

Much to my dismay, I read fewer books this year than last. As my husband pointed out, though, I also wrote one so I guess I can't be too hard on myself. 

Thanks to Goodreads, it's now easier than ever to remember what I read during the year. So without further ado, today I'm linking up with Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy to share my favorite books from 2014. 

A few important caveats about this list:
- These are books I read in 2014, not necessarily ones that were published in 2014.
- I read a wide variety of books so this list contains my absolute favorites from the year. Some are fiction; Others are non-fiction.
- Even though this list is numbered, it is not in any particular order. It was already difficult enough for me to choose my favorites!
- These books are my favorites from the year. As I chose them, I considered how much I enjoyed them, how frequently I've talked about them or recommended them to other people, and how much I've continued thinking about them after reading them. 

Rare Bird

1. Rare Bird by Anna Whiston-Donaldson. I haven't been able to stop thinking about this book.  It's focus - the sudden death of Anna's child - makes it a difficult, emotional read. It's also what makes this book so powerful. Despite it's subject matter, this book is beautifully written and one filled with hope. You can read my full review here. 

2. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. In Big Little Lies, Moriarty navigates a sensitive subject - domestic abuse - with ease. She develops compelling characters and tells a tale that I simply couldn't put down. With Moriarty's What Alice Forgot making an appearance on my list of favorite books from 2013, she's quickly become one of my favorite authors. 

3. One Plus One by JoJo Moyes. Moyes is another author who's quickly becoming one of my favorites. Like Moriarty, she also appeared on my favorites list from 2013 with Me Before You. Though One Plus One is far more light-hearted than Me Before You, I still loved it. It made me laugh and cry, making it the perfect vacation read. 

Walking On Water

4. Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle. Early this year, I took an online class on writing. That, combined with the fact that I wrote The Jesus Gap this year, means that I read far more books about writing than I ever have before. Though Christian writers always reference Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (which I also read this year), it's L'Engle's Walking on Water that I keep thinking about. You can ready my full review here. 

5. Youth Ministry in a Multifaith Society by Len Kageler. This is, in my opinion, the most important youth ministry book of the year. It's research-based and practical. What's more, it's extremely thought-provoking. It's also one I referenced in The Jesus Gap. You can read my full review here. 

6. Found by Micha Boyett. Readers of this blog know that I love spiritual memoir and Found was the best I read in this genre in 2014. Boyett's writing is stunning yet relatable. Her conclusions about prayer are challenging yet encouraging. You can read my full review here

7. The Light Between Oceans by by M.L. Stedman. I read this book at the beginning of the year yet I still remember it vividly. I loved everything about it: The writing, the characters (one of whom I especially related to) and the plot. 

8. The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes. I read a lot of books set during World War II, but very few set during World War I. This is one of them. As always, Moyes' writing is fantastic. (Have I mentioned she's become one of my favorite authors?) 

A Thousand Hills

9. A Thousand Hills to Heaven by Josh Ruxin. Having led multiple mission trips to Rwanda, my heart for this country continues to grow. As a result, I tend to read anything I can get my hands on that's about Rwanda. Over the years, I've also read a lot of books about how to do missions well. This book, however, isn't really about missions (at least not how we would define "missions" in the church). It's written from a secular viewpoint and tells the story of a man who moves his family to Rwanda in order to open a restaurant and provide jobs for people. In the process, Ruxin shares what he's learned about how to do non-profit work well. His conclusions are extraordinarily applicable (and extremely refreshing) for anyone involved in justice work. You can read my full review here