Monday, July 13, 2015

A mid-year reading roundup

I thought naming my five favorite books of 2014 was so fun, I decided to check in on my favorites mid-year as well.

Without further ado, I give you my top five favorite books of 2015 thus far, in no particular order and not necessarily published this year:

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. My goodness, this was a heck of a book.  I'd never read anything like this before.  As a fan of all things of the British Isles, being transported into the early eighteenth century Highlands was a wild ride.  This book is heavy on what we Catholics like to call the marital embrace (thank you, JP2 and your Theology of the Body), and that could be a deal breaker for some readers.  However, speaking of, I was pleased to see echoes of JP2's beautiful teachings in the story.  This is not just a romance though; it would be unfair to classify it as such.  It's part romance, fantasy, and historical fiction, all wrapped up in one. Capable, intelligent Claire and loyal, loving Jamie are at the center of this sweeping novel.  You won't be able to put it down.

The Mother Daughter Book Club Series by Heather Vogel Frederick.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy zipping through this bookish and girlish series.  It celebrates the bond between mothers and daughters, families, great books, and fellowship.  We read as creative Megan, writer Emma, athletic Cassidy, and all-around talented Jess grow through the ups and downs of sixth grade all the way to sixteen, one book club pick at a time.  One more book in the series due for publishing. What will be the final book club selection? Any guesses?

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin.  Utterly readable, Better Than Before is a study of everyday habits and a natural extension of her Happiness books.  I liked the Happiness books more than this one, but that didn't stop me from nerding out over Rubin's insightful research into her topic. She uses a self-created Four Tendencies framework to organize the book.  I'm an Obliger.  This would explain why I often try to set up unique ways of gaining accountability when setting life goals, large and small. Take Rubin's quiz to find out what kind of person you are as it relates to habits: an Obliger, a Rebel, an Upholder, or a Questioner.  Also: I'm in the booooooook!

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt.  This top-5-favorite-so-far selection is a scoop on my upcoming What I've been reading post.  I finished this book not too long ago, and it was such a relief to sink into the witty (but not too witty for its own good) writing, likable characters, and glimpse into adolescence during the Vietnam War era.  I don't claim to be a Shakespeare fan, but I very much appreciated how his plays were woven into the narrative of Holling Hoodhood's seventh grade year.  Can you feel fondness for a book right after you read it?  I did.

Geekpriest: Confessions of a New Media Pioneer by Fr. Roderick Vonhögen. I really enjoyed Fr. Roderick's story of coming into the priesthood and his determined and blessed usage of new media to evangelize the world.  His book is a study in how being the person God made you to be is all He wants.  Fans of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, gaming, technology, and comics will enjoy this book.

UPDATE:  I figured out what's missing from this list.

What's in your top five so far this year? 

* Achieve the umlaut over the letter o by:
1) holding down alt + u
2) let go of the keys after you see highlighted quotation marks
3) type the letter o

At least, that's what happened on my MacBook Pro using Blogger.


  1. I can't believe we're already done with half of 2015! I can't choose my fave 5 until the end of the year. I still wanna be blown away by more books!

    1. I can't believe it either! We'll see if this list changes at the end of the year!