12 Best Books I’ve Read This year


In a normal year, I read a lot of books. Turns out that in a year with a lot of down time from cancer stuff I read even more. (I also watch a lot more Netflix, but this is a post about books, not HGTV shows.) The following is a list of my Top 12 book of the year in no particular order or genre. I’ve also included links for where to buy them or learn more about their authors.

  • A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken – Okay, I lied when I said these were all in random order. A Severe Mercy is #1 on this list and was most definitely my favorite read this year. The weaving of love story and God story interspersed with letters from C.S. Lewis is amazing. Part of me wishes someone would make a movie, but I’d be surprised if a movie maker could do it justice.
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova – This was made into a movie and the movie was almost as good as the book. You may think it strange that I found encouragement from this sad, sad book shortly after my diagnosis, but I did. There is a page where the narrator, who is living with early onset alzheimer’s, says she wishes that she had breast cancer instead, because there is treatment for breast cancer and people wear pink and cheer for you. It reminded me that even thought I wasn’t happy with my circumstances, I had an awful lot to be thankful for.
  • The Auschwitz Escape by Joel Rosenberg. It’s not a “true story” but is based on true events. I so love historical fiction, especially WWII historical fiction, and this book was hard to put down.
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. This is also WWII era historical fiction, but it’s a love story set in Seattle and revolving around the treatment of Japanese Americans during the war. A perspective I had never read from before and a beautiful story.
  • Crossing the Waters by Leslie Leyland Fields. Fields experience as a commercial fisherman gives her a perspective that enabled me see well-loved Bible stories with new eyes. And her story-telling is superb.
  • Once Beyond a Time by Ann Tatlock. I bought this book because I got a great deal on it, and I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. There’s time travel involved and I tend to stay away from “science fictiony” stuff. But this was a well-written story about forgiveness that kept me wondering how it all fit together.
  • Five Chimneys by Olga Lengyel. Another one from WWII. It was pretty graphic and sometimes hard to read, but a worthy-of-reading story of survival in almost unsurvivable circumstances.
  • The Great Good Thing by Andrew Klavan. I love love love this one. I love reading stories of people coming to faith in Christ, and this story of a secular Jew slowly over years and years coming to believe in Jesus as the Messiah is so very good. Not only is the story good, but every now and then when I read a book, I just keep underlining and underlining because I love the way the author forms his or her sentences. This is one of those books.
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson This book was eye opening to me in a similar way that Dead Man Walking was years ago. The injustice, predjudice and discrimination that take place in a political system that is supposed to work from an “innocent until proven guilty” perspective saddens me. I’m thankful that Stevenson took the time to write this book and that he’s doing the very hard work he’s doing.
  • On Writing by Steven King. Oh my goodness! I don’t read Stephen King because I don’t like to be scared. It took about all I had in me just to watch the movie Misery 🙂 But this book on writing made me want to read his scary books and deal with the nightmares they would surely inspire because he is amazingly talented. I read the book to learn more about writing, but I was entertained from page one til the end.
  • On Writing Well by William Zinsser. This book took me a long time to read, and I plan to read it again. There is so much practical information on the craft of writing packed into a couple hundred pages that my brain nearly exploded. I have so much to learn, and Zinsser is a great teacher.
  • Strength Renewed by Shirley Corder. I feel like I know Corder after reading this book. In fact, we corresponded a couple times this spring. This was just what I needed to read as I was going through some hard stuff. Her cancer road was more challenging and took longer to pass over than mine, but I felt a kinship with her as I read. This book is real, open and Christ-centered. Don’t know what to do for your friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer? Buy her this book.

By KimHarms

Kim Harms is an author, speaker, and part-time library assistant with two decades of freelance writing experience. She has a degree in English from Iowa State University. She and her husband Corey have three super-awesome sons and one crazy dog. A two-time breast cancer survivor, her first book, Life Reconstructed: Navigating the World of Mastectomies and Breast Reconstruction (Familius), is a guide for women walking the breast cancer road. She is currently working on her second book, a devotional for women going through breast cancer.

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