5 on Friday: Best books of the first quarter

Last year, I tried to sum up the best books I’d read all year at the halfway point of the year. This year, I’m not sure I can wait that long. Maybe I’m getting soft or maybe I’m just finding better books to read, but in the first three months of this year, I’ve already read some books I won’t soon forget and would read again tomorrow if my to-read list wasn’t out of control.

I’ll try to keep it to five, but honestly, trying to pick my favorite books is like trying to pick a favorite child. I like them for different reasons! Anyway, here goes. (And they’re not ranked in order of favorite.) These five stand out because of their lasting effect on me.

QUIET_paperback_High-Res_Jacket1. Quiet by Susan Cain. You can read my full review here, but I learned so much about myself from reading this book. And I found within its pages permission to lead and influence, not in spite of being an introvert but because of it.

2. Outlaw by Ted Dekker. My first Ted Dekker book but not my last. The overall theme of this book is one I’m applying almost daily. With a unique setting and a powerful message, this is a life-changing novel. (It’s true, novels aren’t just entertaining!)  Here’s my full review.

3. A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner. You really can’t go wrong with anything by Susan Meissner but there’s something special about this one. Intertwined storylines set 100 years apart in New York City, it was everything I love about a historical and a contemporary all rolled into one. I not only enjoyed this as a fall of marigoldsreader but as a writer striving to blend contemporary and historical storylines into one. For me, this was for fun and research. Read the full review here.

4. Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider. I’m sometimes suspicious of books that offer a path to simpler living. That’s a me problem because living simply takes work and effort and I’m not always good at either. But this book by Txh Oxenreider is a helpful guide for discovering what it is each person or family values and how they can move toward a life focused on those values. She doesn’t offer one plan that must be followed to the letter but recognizes that every person and family is different. Her family’s story is just one among many. You can read the full review here.

pirate queen5. The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman. This was a surprising favorite, and I still can’t narrow down what exactly I liked about it. But it features a theme I’m drawn to: that of hurt and forgiveness and sacrifice and restoration. And it’s unique in that the characters are older than those I usually read about. My full review is here.

Ugh. That was hard! Stay tuned for another installment at the end of June. I’ve got some more good ones in the to-be-read pile/queue so I have no doubts I’ll have an equally hard time picking the next five best books.

What have you read so far this year that you would recommend?

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5 thoughts on “5 on Friday: Best books of the first quarter

    • Sure! Notes from a Blue Bike is nonfiction, and it would prompt some good discussion. And Miss Brenda and the Loveladies is a eye-opening look at incarceration and the lack of resources provided when inmates are released. I don’t know if it’s geared for discussion, but it’s a fascinating read. I’m reading Restless by Jennie Allen right now (for our book club) and it’s shaping up to be really good. Not sure what your book club likes or typically reads but I’d also highly recommend Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey, A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans and 7 by Jen Hatmaker. Hope that helps!

  1. Pingback: The best books I read in the last 3 months | Living Echoes

  2. Pingback: Best books of the third quarter | Living Echoes

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