January 31, 2012

My 10 Favorite Books Read in 2011

Looking for books to put on your reading list? These are my top picks out of the books I read last year. All of these titles are nonfiction, which is generally all I read, even though I'm reading The Hobbit right now. I've listed the books in the order in which I read them.

1. Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America's Cheapest Family, by Steve and Annette Economides
This is a great book on saving money since the entire book is dedicated to one category. Some books do not provide much detail because they try to cover too many different aspects, however this is a good, exhaustive resource on saving money on food. Read my full review here.

2. Unplanned, by Abby Johnson
Abby Johnson started working at Planned Parenthood as a volunteer in college and worked her way up in the organization to becoming the director of a clinic. This is the story of why she was passionate about Planned Parenthood and why she is now passionately pro life. While written with a pro life bias, this book gave me a better understanding of both sides.
3. Committed: A Love Story, by Elizabeth Gilbert
In this sequel of sorts to the popular Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Glibert tries to make peace with the idea of marriage after finding herself "sentenced to wed" after her Brazilian boyfriend gets in trouble with Homeland Security. Although this may seem like an odd choice for a happy newlywed, I enjoyed Gilbert's look at the idea of marriage throughout history and across cultures, even though sometimes I wanted to yell at her as I listened to the audiobook.
4. The Other 8 Hours, by Robert Pagliarini
If you work full time and need help managing your time, this is the book to read, whether you want to start a side business or just spend more time with your family. Read my full review here.

5. Organized Simplicity, by Tsh Oxenreider
Even though I'm not ranking this list, I can safely say this was the best book I read last year. I checked it out twice from the library, and when the Kindle version was free last month, I downloaded it on my phone and started reading it again. I was inspired to declutter and organize and think about what really matters.

6. Eat This, Not That! 2012
I had no idea how many unhealthy foods are masquerading as healthy ones, and vice versa. No one has time to read the labels on every box of crackers or the nutrition facts on every dish at every restaurant, but this book gives a good overview. Read more of what I learned here.

7. Evolving in Monkey Town, by Rachel Held Evans
Rachel Held Evans grew up thinking she had all the answers about her Christian faith, but than she began asking questions. I don't entirely agree that faith needs to evolve to fit the postmodern world, but I still appreciate how though-provoking this book is, which is why it's in my top ten. 

8. In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan
This was another book that challenged my thinking, this time in the area of nutrition. How is it that with all of this nutrition "advice" of the last few decades we don't seem to be getting healthier? A lot of the information in this book seems like common sense, but clearly it's not so common anymore.

9. Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman's Guide to Finding Contentment, by Linda Dillow
I was expecting this to be about dealing with anxiety (a struggle for me), but the broader "finding contentment" of the subtitle is really what it's about. The different chapters focus on finding contentment with your circumstances, yourself, your role, etc. Linda Dillow gives practical advice and encouragement, not just a "pray and get over it" kind of message.

10. The Money Saving Mom's Budget, by Crystal Paine
While I wouldn't call this book life changing for me, I learned a lot about saving money and goal setting, even after reading MoneySavingMom.com for quite a while. Read my full review here.

What are some of the best books you've ready lately? Any books you look forward to reading this year?

Shared at Top Ten Tuesday at Oh Amanda.


  1. Great list and I have Organized Simplicity in the stack of books to read. Now I am even more excited!

  2. I have read Calm My Anxious Heart and really enjoyed it!! Organized Simplicity sounds great!! It's fun to see what other people have spent their time reading and thought was worth reading!! Thanks for the list!!

  3. I read Committed as a fresh newlywed and it left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. She just couldn't seem to justify marriage at all. Don't really remember much about it now though...I'm going to check out that first book you recommended, I def need help in the grocery department!

  4. Thank you for sharing this list! I'm adding a few of these to my own to-read list. My friends and I recently read Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety by Elyse Fitzpatrick and found it very practical and helpful, while always pointing us back to the Truth. You might enjoy it if you haven't read it already!


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