Gratitude Day 554

Sat., Jan. 9, 2021

Proverbs 16:24 – Kind words are like honey— they cheer you up and make you feel strong.

One of the areas where I thrived in 2020?


I LOVE books. And I love to read all different kinds of books. During the pandemic, I increased my reading game and WOW! It was SO. GOOD. I read a lot more books this year than historically and fully embraced this quote:

“Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people — people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.”

― E.B. White

I try to begin most mornings with a devotion time. I read scripture. I journal. I pray. But honestly, my favorite time of this morning ritual?

Reading. Often, I have a couple books going at a time. I’ll read from one or both books. I also have a “fun read” book that I keep on my nightstand for evenings. I also consume books by listening to them. Historically, I listened to books on tape in the car. Since I spent a lot less time in the car this year, I learned to pop them into my computer, put on headphones and sometimes listen while I worked.

I found some really great books to read this year. I’ve shared some of these previously. If you are looking for a good book to read in 2021, check out this list.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

I ran across this author by accident and have preceded to read several of her books. My favorite? This one. Set during WWII, it’s the novel about how two sisters in France endured the difficulties of the war. I have no clue if it is based on any truth but it’s a fascinating story.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Moore

It was not lost on me that 2020 was the 75th anniversary of concentration camp liberation during World War II. And yep, I read several books from WWII. This was my next favorite after The Nightingale. This story is based on a true story and will make your heart sad. But the lessons from this story are profound.

When Breathe Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

The book is an autobiography of one doctor’s experience of cancer. Diagnosed while in residency, the author speaks openly about faith, his cancer journey, and the tough decisions he made. The book was not quite finished when he died. I am so glad it was published. I listened to this book as an audio book but later purchased the book because it spoke to me so much.

This Tender Land by William Kent Kruger

Historically, I read a lot of self-help books or books that will help me professionally. In 2020, I found myself reading lots of really good novels. This author is from Minnesota which he draws upon in the book. It’s the story of four children who escape an Indian Training School in 1932 … right during the Depression. You may cry while reading this book … and it’s OK.

The Next Step by Al Weber

This tiny little book was given to me years ago. The author is a photographer and it’s marketed as a book to inspire photographers. Everyone will benefit from reading this little gem and all the little nuggets he puts inside its pages.

Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor

I’ve read this book several times. All the post-it notes and scribbling inside the pages confirm it. Barbara Brown Taylor is an episcopalian priest who I adore as an author. I attended a writing conference once specifically because she was the featured speaker. As I read this book once again, I was not disappointed. Her word choices and the way she weaves thoughts together is so inspiring to me. She’s the writer I want to be when I grow up.

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton

As soon as I finished listening to this audio book, I gave it to Hubby Rick. He listened to the book in one night while working. Anthony was unlawfully arrested, convicted and sentenced to capital punishment for a crime he did not commit. He spent 30 years on death row before being released from prison. Initially, he was mad. Eventually, Anthony decided to do what he could in the place where he was and live the faith in which he was raised. I know there are other books that share the story of wrongfully convicted people. Hubby Rick and I really like this one.

The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen

As a pastor, several authors have inspired me. In addition to Barbara Brown Taylor, Henri Nouwen falls into this category. In this book, Nouwen digs deeply into the biblical story of the prodigal son. His interpretations are inspired by Rembrandt’s painting of the prodigal son, which reminded me that inspiring art is such a blessing.

I am so appreciative that our local library has functioned throughout the pandemic. While I would love to have a copy of every one of these books, in the interest of trying to have less in our house, Hubby Rick and I made good use of our local library. Visit your library often and frequent. If there’s a book that really inspires you, there’s still the opportunity to purchase it.

What books inspired you during 2020? I’d love to add your suggestions to my list for 2021!  

For books and words that inspire me, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Dear God – While the words we find in scripture are inspiring, may we see embody the words that others write to inspire us as well. Whether we use books for inspiration, escape, learning or simply to find a really good story, may You speak to us through the words others pen. Amen.

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