Recently Published Books I Loved….and the November Reading Challenge!

2016 Reading Challenge

It’s been a really good year for new books! It seems like nearly all my favorite (currently living) authors have had new books out this year, from Shauna Niequist to Ann Patchett to Ann Voskamp to Helen Simonson. From devotional to historical fiction to dysfunctional families and everything in between, there’s something for everyone in this year’s line-up. For this month’s reading challenge, let’s explore the books published this year. Conveniently, Goodreads has opened the voting polls for the best books of this year. It’s a great place to peruse in case you need ideas.

I’ve read a few of the new releases from this year and these are the ones that stand out to me and I think are worth recommending…

The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson – this story gives me faith that not all is lost in modern fiction. It’s a delightful story with many humorous scenes, some dealing with tricky social expectations and observations, and loveable characters that want to buck the social norms of society and make their own way in the world. Also, it takes place during a pivotal time, the summer before World War I. In my opinion, it’s a must-read for all Jane Austen fans.

Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist – I recently discussed this book on the blog (You can read my thoughts here). It mostly falls into the memoir category but there’s a huge spiritual element to it too. Niequist discusses her personal struggles with needing to overachieve, overwork and keep busy to the point of exhaustion, in order to prove something to others and to herself. It was a very timely book for me as I navigate a very busy season. I loved her honesty about the demands of life and focusing our energies on the right things. It reminded me of “The Best Yes” by Lysa TerKeurst – the two books would make an excellent companion study.

And what I want to read…

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett – Ann Patchett is a master storyteller and, from what I’ve heard, this book isn’t going to disappoint. The premise sounds a bit like a Jerry Springer show (it starts with an affair and so begins the messiness of blending two lives, including children) and I’m not even sure that I’m going to like it, but I have to look at the train wreck anyway. I still think about “State of Wonder” often and the choices the characters made. Unfortunately, my library delivered this book to me when I was finishing up three other books, so sadly I had to return it before reading it. The wait list for this book is long so it’ll be a while before I get it in my hands again, or I might give in and buy it.

I also keep hearing great things about “The Mothers” by Brit Bennett.

Which leads me to my pick for this month’s challenge:


The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp – In all honesty, I don’t even know what this book is about (!!) but I know that I want to insert anything Ann Voskamp writes into my heart and soul as quickly as possible. I can’t count how many times she’s encouraged or inspired me through her blog. She is my spiritual hero and role model. I can’t wait to dive into this book, although I already know it’s one that I’m going to have to process slowly. I read the first chapter this morning and it already broke my heart and filled my eyes with tears. She has an amazing way with words.

Can you believe it? We only have one more month after this and our reading challenge is D-O-N-E. Good job this year, guys!

Your Turn: Have you read any newly released books? Would you recommend them? Which book will you be reading for this month’s challenge?

2 thoughts on “Recently Published Books I Loved….and the November Reading Challenge!

  1. Im going to read Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. Its a Science Fiction thriller about Jason Dessen. An instantly relatable husband and father, quickly sucks you in as you follow him to an innocent evening at a local bar where circumstances abruptly shift and Jason begins a battle to make sense of a series of mind-bending realities that provoke past fears, both realized and unknown.


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