Favorite BOOKS, movies and songs of 2015 (Part 1)

my favorite books movies and songsI'm staring at that title and wondering if it's even possible to fit that all into one post.  Perhaps this will have a part 2?  And 3?  We'll see how far we get.

I document most of my reading over at Goodreads, and recently when I logged in, I was able to see all the covers of the books I'd read this year, which is one of the things that gave me the idea for this post/series. That, and a conversation we had around our dinner table when I mentioned we'd watched some good movies this year for Family Movie Nights.  We all talked about our favorites and I listed them on the dry erase board.... then we moved to our favorite songs. 

But before we get to those, first up: books.
I've narrowed it down to the top five books I read this past year:

The Lake House: A Novel by Kate Morton
This is the one I most recently finished, so I'll begin with this one.  I *really* like Kate Morton's writing. I've read all of her novels. This is one of those can't-put-it-down stories.  Morton begins with telling of a tragedy that happened on a large family estate in Cornwall.  Her story unfolds in two different time periods: the one in 1933 when the tragedy occurred, and one in 2003 as a detective stumbles across the unsolved mystery from 1933 and tries to figure it out.  Morton is an excellent writer, and she masterfully unravels the mystery by offering one clue at a time.
Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love by Sally Clarkson
It's been several months since I read this book.  I love all of Sally's books.  All of them inspire me and encourage me to live intentionally- in marriage, in parenting, in my relationship with Jesus and with others.  Sally has been a steady mentor-from-afar for me through her books, blog and podcasts, and I am truly thankful for her ministry.  As I read Own Your Life, I took lots of notes and prayed through different areas of my life that I wanted to be more intentional in.

The Hardest Peace: Expecting Grace in the Midst of Life's Hard by Kara Tippets
Over the past several years, I have enjoyed stopping by Kara's blog Mundane Faithfulness.  Kara Tippets: wife to her pastor-husband, and mama to her four children, battling the stage-four cancer that ended up taking her life.  This book tells her story of faith in the midst of those years of struggle, trying to live life fully while her body deteriorated.  This is such a beautiful story.  So tender.  Heart-wrenching and encouraging all at the same time.  One of Kara's gifts was kindness, and she models this in relationship with those around her, specifically her husband and children.  I wrote down all sorts of Kara Tippets quotes in my journal, and have gone back to them several times since.

For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker
Jen Hatmaker is hilarious.  Period.  This book made me laugh.  My memories of this book include lying in bed next to Mark trying to read portions of it aloud to him, but unable to do so because I was laughing that hard.  I took this with us on our family vacation and read it on the beach while Mark and the kids dug their fingers into the wet sand for hours on end, which is not my favorite activity.  Laughing out loud with a good book in hand?  Absolutely one of my favorite activities.  I love Jen, and this book was refreshing and so funny and wise all at the same time. 

Swallows & Amazons by Arthur Ransome
I already rambled on and on about this book in a previous post (click here if you want to read that), but in short: this was our favorite family read-aloud this year, so it must go on the list.  We spent hours with these characters (and my kids spent hours acting out the stories from this book) and those are always the best kind of books to read-aloud, aren't they?

Do leave a comment and tell me your favorite books of the year.  It's one of the ways I get good recommendations!  ;)

*For Part 2, with emphasis on family movies, go here: Favorite books, MOVIES and songs of 2015

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  1. Hi Stacy ♥ What a super list! I also read Kara's book this year (wonderful!), and Swallows and Amazons is a fav of ours. Neat!

    My favorite book discovery in 2015 was Elisabeth Elliot's Keep a Quiet Heart. I picked it up simply for the title (lol - do you ever do that?), having no hint of idea how the Father would use it in the days and months following. The chapters are brief (perfect for Mommy culture), and so so rich! I have underlined and highlighted and made notes -- so thankful for all of the ways it has challenged me and has taught me and has spurred me along in becoming. Love you! Q

    1. Quinne~ I LOVE Elisabeth Elliot's Keep a Quiet Heart! It's one of the treasures on my shelf. Thank you for the reminder. It's due for a re-read soon!

  2. I love books. Thank you for this list, I am going the check those books out. Last year I read David Copperfield by Dickens and really enjoyed the long story. I have been captivated by Francine Rivers books too, I have hundreds of pages of her books waiting for me on my night table *joy!*.
    One book I couldn't put down was "Show them Jesus: Teaching the Gosple to kids" by Jack Klumpenhower. And "As soon as I fell", a memoir by Kay Bruner.
    I read more, but these just came to my mind as you asked! I have enjoyed your book lists for kids too and gotten ideas for my kids. They are just a bit younger than yours, so the lists really give good suggestions to us!

    1. Henna Maria,
      You're so welcome! I want to read some Dickens. I love Francine Rivers, too. One of my favorites of hers (besides her Mark of the Lion trilogy) is a lesser-known one called The Last Sin Eater. Have you read it? Ella just finished it and loved it, too.
      Thank you for the book recommendations! I will look into them.
      I know I have REALLY DROPPED THE BALL on the Book Lists for kids section. There are a few reasons for that but I do intend to update it soon! (((Hugs)))

    2. Thanks for your answer Stacy!
      I am reading through the Mark of the Lion trilogy now. Poor kids. Last night they were asking if we are going to have a dinner...Mom is lost in her book! I should only read on weekends.
      At what age would you recommend this series to a girl? My daughter LOVES to read, she is almost 12 years old. Is this too young? The books are pretty clean, but there is passion and violence. At what age did Ella start this trilogy, if she has read it? I would appreciate your pondering on what is a suitable age to this series...or anything on the topic!
      I remember my mom stopping me from reading Catherine Cookson books when I was a teenager, but cannot remember my exact age. I am probably more strict than her... and I am more careful of what I read now than I was before.
      I have not yet read The Last Sin Eater...

    3. Henna Maria~ :) Loved that series. It's been several years since I've read it so I should read it all over again. Ella has not read it yet, and I will likely proof it for her before I hand it over. Your question about books suitable for our pre-teen/early teen girls is a really good one, and one I give a lot of consideration to as I choose books for Ella. I'll try to post on this topic soon, okay?


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