If you are thinking about getting someone (or yourself) a book this Christmas, here are ten suggestions from Ellie based on books she’s read this year. Have you read any of these?
Click on the title of each book to link to Amazon Smile. We trust you will find this helpful!
1. The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben – for the tree-lovers in your life. Although this book is written from a naturalist perspective, Ellie found herself praising God for his good creation and saying ‘Wow!’ every chapter. This book explores the inner workings, communication and relationships of trees. You will never look at trees the same way again.
2. The Nature Fix by Florence Williams – for those who love the outdoors, or need to learn to do so. Again this is written from a secular perspective, but it is such an affirmation of God’s goodness to us in creation. This book explores how being out in nature restores, nourishes and heals us.
3. The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse by Alexander McCall Smith – for those who appreciate WWII stories and like dogs. Ellie loves reading the various series by Alexander McCall Smith, but this is a one-off recent novel of his. It is a beautiful story about acts of kindness bringing people together in difficult circumstances.
4. Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist – for those who love walking and have contemplated (or done) a pilgrimage. This novel alternates between male and female characters doing the Chemin, the Camino de Santigao, a very old pilgrimage route. This book has one of the best climaxes that Ellie has ever read. It is a book about finding your way in life, those you meet along the way and how you respond to them for better or worse.
5. The Dry by Jane Harper – for those who love a good mystery. This is an engrossing crime novel that is hard to put down. The story is about small towns and their secrets, and finding a path towards forgiveness and resolution.
6. The Story of Arthur Truluv: A Novel – for those who gather ‘strays’ into their family. The girl in this story reminded Ellie of the kids we used to teach when we worked at the jail, so of course she fell in love with the characters. This is a touching story about showing compassion to those who are grieving or troubled, and trying to do the right thing by them.
7. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba – for those who appreciate inventiveness. This is a true and inspiring story about a boy who uses his local library to educate himself when his family can no longer afford school for him. He dreams of ways to provide for his family, and gathers what he can from the local scrapyard to make a windmill, despite his neighbours and friends thinking he’s crazy. There is a children’s version of this book too.
8. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman – for those who loved A Man Called Ove. This is a lovely story about a grandmother using story to protect her granddaughter from future harm. The granddaughter is charged to put the pieces of the story together in a quest to fulfil her grandmother’s wishes.
9. Educated by Tara Westover – for those who believe anyone can learn and don’t mind a tough story. This is an incredibly difficult but worthwhile story based on Westover’s memories of growing up in an abusive religious cult. As she begins to question her family’s actions and beliefs, she embarks on a journey of learning and discernment.
10. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – for those who like stories of transformation. This is a compassionate story of an anti-heroine who is actually a heroine once you get to know her more. A social misfit who has been through ‘the system’ begins to find ways to connect with others and face her tragic past.
What have been your favourite reads this year?
Graham and Ellie