Best books and media I’ve found in 2016 so far

We’re only a few days into 2016 but I have found some AMAZING reads in my first days of 2016, which have also been my last few days of annual leave.

As a writer and editor, my “to read” list is too long for me to ever actually read, if it’s really true that you can only get through about 3,000 in the average lifetime. In my Google Docs “Books” folder, the list of all the books I’ve read in my life (only about 600 that I can remember so far) is far smaller than the list of books I would like to read (about 1 million). So I’ve told you how I chose the books I read last year, and I can definitely say I’m sticking with that strategy in 2016.

If you don’t know what to get yourself in the Boxing Day sales, and you have money left over after purchasing some truly meaningful gifts from Gifts of CompassionTEAR’s Useful Gifts, Christian Blind Mission’s Meaningful Gifts, or some other world-changing charity … then please consider the following reads for belated Christmas gifts to yourself.

Get ready.

They’ll knock your socks off.

Best books made of paper and stuff in January 2016

My January 2016 reads lined up. Image source: My camera.

My January 2016 reads lined up. Image source: My camera.

The above photo includes my Pillow Pet. He’s a pink owl and way too hot for summer but I still love him. ^^^

So I’ve told you how I chose the books I read last year, and now here’s why I’m sticking with that strategy in 2016. My “to read” list is too long to ever read. In my Google Docs “Books” folder, the list of all the books I’ve read in my life (only about 600 that I can remember so far) is far smaller than the list of books I would like to read (about 1 million).

Why these books are knocking my socks off:

7 Women and the Secret of their Greatness by Eric Metaxas:

  • The author of 7 Men returns to tell the stories of 7 women who changed the world not because they did the same things as men but because they used their inherent nature as a woman to live out an incredible faith, care for others, inspire others, and protect human dignity. You’ll love hearing their stories.
  • Joan of Arc was granted an army because her incredible prophecies were proven true, her faith was evident, and her innocence and purity convicted her soldiers to respect her and live better.
  • Susanna Wesley was the “Mother of Methodism”, lived a life of endless poverty and spiritual attack but still managed to raise her 19 children to love God and spread His message to the world.
  • Hannah More helped Wilberforce in the abolition of slavery by being the cultural force – writing and speakign in people’s homes – while he was the political backbone.
  • Saint Maria of Paris was a twice-divorced mother of two who became a nun to help people, and attracted controversy by living as a modern Jesus might, smoking and drinking and inviting sinners into her home.
  • Corrie ten Boom – I read her autobiography in 2015, The Hiding Place about hiding Jews and converting people in concentration camps.
  • Rosa Parks, whose dignity as an older woman was exactly what was needed to bring about one of the many bus boycotts that lasted over a year in Montgomery and helped bring about the de-segregation of America.
  • Mother Teresa was raised in poverty but her mother taught her how to care for the poor and the sick with the little that she had. She ended up starting one of the world’s most amazing missions, to help those dying alone in poverty in the streets.

Lioness Arising by Lisa Bevere:

  • Inspiring – would recommend for any Christian woman. Lisa had a vision of lionesses aligned with the several Bible verses that refer to the Israelites as lions and lionesses, stretched out in rest and arising in power.
  • This book, along the same themes as 7 Women, is all about how we can change the world by being the women God designed us to be.

Wild at Heart by John Eldredge:

  • An explanation of how God designed men. It’s a big task but John Eldredge tackles it impressively. He talks about men needing to be the hero in an adventure, fight bad guys, do daring feats, and rescue the damsel in distress. Eldredge then aligns this with how men can do all of these things in the modern world to honour God and to know their worth as men.
  • Empowering – would recommend to any man, and to any woman who wants to understand her man.

Japanese Textbook by Talk:

  • We’re going to Japan in March so I’m re-learning the language! I know it’s a tourist-friendly country but I love being able to order at a restaurant and ask for directions in the local language. I learned Japanese for 10 years in school and loved it – daisuki! But it’s been a while so I’m enjoying the refresher. Learning is fun. 🙂

Selected Poems by Robert Frost:

  • Frost is one of the “classics” so I’ve avoided him until recently, on principle that if everyone thinks an old book is “good”, that probably just means “literary and not fun” (think Oliver Twist). But then recently I was reflecting back on primary school and I remembered that Mr O’Brien, our principal, took us through an analysis of Frost’s poems in Grade 6 and they had thrilling imagery. So far, I am pleasantly surprised by how much I’m re-liking Frost as an adult.

Best online reads in January 2016 so far

Christmas gifts from my loving husband after he found out I had discovered Pusheen. Image source: My camera.

Christmas gifts from my amazing husband after he found me crying with laughter over Pusheen posts. Image source: My camera.

I discovered Pusheen and Maru!!!, and immediately fell in love.

I’m a catless cat lady, so I have to find cats online to love and adopt. I’ve been a devotee of icanhascheezburger.com for many years, as you’ve probably noticed from all the lolcats that pop up in my posts, like this one and this one. I also love Oskar and Klaus – Oskar is a blind cat and his owners have fun showing how adorable he is and how he gets around without sight and has adapted to his new home.

What about what I’ve found on the interwebs apart from cats?

Haha, good one. There is no world apart from cats.

But seriously, I also re-read many of the posts I love on the blog of one of my favourite authors, Donald Miller: The Storyline Blog. He and his co-writers write about life, creativity, productivity, family, and most importantly, the challenges and blessings of faith in the modern world.

Best creative reads in January 2016 so far

Another perfect Christmas gift I received in 2015 was this grown-up colouring book. It might feel like caving to a faddish trend but you won’t regret it at all, I promise you.

It is a really helpful way to cross-train your usual form of creativity by trying out a different form of creativity (if you’re not an artist). It almost means taking a break – which helps with the incubation stage of the creative process.

This colouring book was an amazing Christmas gift. Image source: My camera.

This colouring book was an amazing Christmas gift. Image source: My camera.

So there you have it. 2016 so far in a nutshell. And in colour!

 

(C) This post is copyright, TJ Withers-Ryan, 2016. Reblogging is permitted as long as you credit me as the author of this work.

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