Hi! Iā€™m Rebecca, lover of Jesus, my hubby, good hot tea and great conversations! I claim a little town in western North Carolina as my home, but Texas has stolen my country-girl heart. 


Top 10 Books of 2016

I recently shared the books I read in 2016 and now I want to tell you about my favorite ten from that list! I have talked about this selection of books over and over again, have read snippets of them to friends and hubby, and have recommended them endlessly. I tend to be drawn to writing that maintains an easy rhythm (isn't drudgerous), is well researched, and contains thoughts or ideas that I will walk away mulling over or implementing.  These books are all page-turners in their own right. I found them to be intriguing, thought provoking, life-changing, and challenging. Enjoy!


The Checklist Manifesto

Atul Gawande is the director of an effort by the World Health Organization (WHO) to reduce surgical deaths worldwide. The method that he and his team find to be most effective in diminishing these numbers is the implementation of a checklist. The checklist that his WHO team created, however, was not widely accepted by surgeons. This book appeals to the logical side of those in the medical profession by exploring ways varying professions around the world use checklists to save lives and implores the medical community to introduce checklists in their operating rooms. While this book is addressed to the medical profession, it doesn't dwell on it extensively. Before reading The Checklist Manifesto, I would have considered myself a proficient of checklists. Now, I know that I barely scratch the surface of allowing checklists to work for me. 


Women of the Word 

In this book, Jen Wilkin lays out a method to study the Bible and I LOVE the method. As I read this book, I could see the need to not only read God's Word, but also to study it. I've valued Bible study for the majority of my life, but have not valued it enough to actually set aside the time to make it happen. There are tons of Bible study methods out there, what made this one click for me? Honestly, the Holy Spirit probably used this book to reveal a void in my life - a lack of time actually spent getting to know the Word of God. There was also a simplicity to this method; as I read it, I could actually see myself making this work on a daily basis. So I decided to start using Women of the Word in 2017. I'm thirteen days in and LOVING it! 



After listening to one chapter of this book, I told my husband "I've been waiting for this day all year." He looked at me with that look that husbands give when they aren't sure what's about to happen and said "what day?" I replied, "the day that I would start reading a book and just KNOW that it is a book I want to read together." It was mid-fall and Linchpin was my 78th book. My actions TOTALLY backed my words. So he asked me about the book and I shared with him that it is all about how to be "indispensable" in your work. I said "I feel like Seth Godin has already expressed many things that you and I bring up weekly in our life and work and I just think we would enjoy reading it together." After dinner that night, we listened to Chapter 1 while we did the dishes and sat on the couch surfing the web. It was glorious. We had great discussions about the book and it solidified a lot of our opinions about working in the American culture as well as motivated us to work well within it.  


The Fringe Hours

Jessica Turner is a full time working mom of three. She also runs a very successful blog. How does she have time for all of that?! That's exactly what her book is about. If I am going to listen to anyone talk about using time well, it's probably going to be someone like Jessica who is seemingly spinning 100 plates. Turner explains how to find all the hours we don't realize we have and how to maximize our time in the hours that we already know exist. This book was part of the inspiration behind my decision to read 100 pages a day in 2016. I believe that it also shaped the way I now think and is a part of goals that I set for 2017 - like my earlier wake up time and my reduced commitments. 


Manage Your Day to Day

From the 99U series, a collaboration of 20 different creatives gives tips on achieving maximum output while simultaneously not catering to the constant demands of the 24/7 workplace. I really enjoyed reading this book before bedtime because of its short chapters and soundbite style. This book has shaped the way that I now approach email at work and the way that I use my lunch breaks during the work-week. I think I might even reread it in 2017!


The Power of Habit

Did you know that Febreze was first created and sold without any scent at all? I didn't, and as a side note, I would probably buy scentless Febreze if it were still on the market. How do you always need the products that Target sends you coupons for? Why can an elderly man with dementia go for a daily walk by himself when he can't even remember what day it is? What do all of these things have in common? This book and the science behind habits. Each chapter of this book focuses on a different research study or business method and the way our brains process habits. It's rather intriguing, really. I walked away from this book more aware of how I build habits and how those habits affect my day to day.



Do you - Love the library? Hate the library? Dislike education in America? Care about the underprivileged? BiblioTech talks about it all. This book shares a history of American libraries and free education and talks about their relevancy and necessity in today's American culture. I was already a lover of the library when I picked this book up, but I since reading it, I have become far more vocal about all that the library offers and have been shocked at how little people know about the great resource of the Public Library! (Reading Hint: I struggled with reading this book but ended up loving the audio version. I was interested enough in the topic that I kept trying until I found the right medium!)


Four Seasons in Rome

I read this book a year ago and am still thinking about it. Doerr's memoir of his year in Rome is written in the present tense but is painted with cloudy edges of distant memories. This book is a story told by cumulating the small moments of one year into 224 pages. I adore the small things; the small moments that I want to hold in my memory forever like a smile, a laugh, a conversation, or a feeling. Reading this book helped me to become a better writer as I saw the way that Doerr told a year's story by sharing about the minutes and days. 


Girl Meets God

Lauren F. Winner is my new favorite author. She writes with academic precision, a novelist's ability to tell a story, and a tone that is personal and real. She grew up in a Jewish home in Asheville, NC and became a Christian through reading the At Home in Mitford series. In this book, Winner shares her own quest for truth with a poignancy and openness that left me pondering her book for months. If you want to love non-believers well, are interested in Jewish culture, or just love a well-written, page turning memoir, pick this book up. 


The Knockoff

I would be remiss if I didn't include a fiction book on this list since fiction was 30% of what I read in 2016! This novel was witty, creative, and surprising at every turn. I loved the authors' abilities to accurately weave a story about blending the non-tech generation and the tech-matic generation together in the workplace. I giggled my way through this book because I have seen many of these scenarios play out in my own workplaces. 


Now tell me, what were your favorites in 2016? Did you happen to read any of these titles? I would love to hear!



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