Books,  Entertainment,  Faith,  Music,  Reading

Favorite Books & Music of 2019

Don’t you just love a good list that you don’t have to come up with yourself? I’ve compiled my favorites for ya, fat-free and full of flavor, so all you have to do is click the pics and join me.

Great books are the gifts that keep on giving through this new month, year and decade.

Feliz Año Nuevo, Amigos!


1. Braving the Wilderness, by Brené Brown

The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

I mostly feel like I belong, and I feel fairly courageous, so I didn’t think I needed this book. #wrong  So. Many. Great. Points.

2. The President is Missing, by James Patterson & Bill Clinton

I don’t read much fiction, but the unexpected twists and turns kept me reading. Patterson brings the gripping writing style and Clinton brings the behind-the-scenes presidential expertise. 

3. Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson

A bit of a slow read in parts, but powerful. Think you’re not racist in any way? Ever? This is a story all of humanity could stand to check themselves against. It made me think about what I truly believe, and I can’t wait to see the small book about justice unfold on the big screen.

4. Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown

How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead

The v-word is one of my least favorites and one of my most favorites. I’m usually torn as a result of pride, but this book got dog-eared more than any other. Be brave and read it.

5. The Road Back to You, by Ian Morgan Cron & Suzanne Stabile

An Enneagram Journey

Sooo eye-opening. Reading about myself and then my husband had me tilting my head and wondering how the authors knew us. Our strengths, weaknesses, fears, motivators… all of it. 

If you’re leery about learning from this ancient guide, remember it’s just that. It’s not the bible—it’s a guide. The most helpful one I’ve ever used. 

Self awareness and emotional intelligence are two things I’m choosing not to ignore. What might have worked in 1994 doesn’t translate to where we all stand today, so make 2020 a year of productive rediscovery by starting with this book. Your friends and family will thank you. 

Well, they probably won’t, but they should. 

6. Jesus Every Day, by Mary DeMuth

Prayers to Awaken Your Soul: A Journey Through the Bible in One Year

I met Mary at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference a few years ago. She has a crazy powerful story of abuse and forgiveness, and is making a huge cultural impact through her writing and speaking. 

I’m jumping into this new devotional and realizing it will most likely last longer than a year, but I love that fact that she didn’t date the pages! Start late, pick up where you left off, whatever. It’s about spending time with Hay-soos, not how perfectly you go through the book. #noguilt

7. Adorning the Dark, by Andrew Peterson

Thoughts on Community, Calling and the Mystery of Making

This came highly recommended through a podcast and I love the premise behind Andrew’s message. He’s also a phenomenal singer and songwriter. #community

8. Doing Life With Your Adult Children, by Jim Burns

Keep Your Mouth Shut & the Welcome Mat Out

Our oldest is old for his grade. So even though he turned 18 last summer, he’s a senior in high school. We still have an active voice in his life, but I know the day is soon coming when we won’t. 

Thought I’d get a jumpstart on this whole, it’s-time-to-hold-your-tongue thing. (insert eye roll) Apparently his poor choices shouldn’t be a reflection of me or my parenting? Awesome. But unsolicited advice? It’s usually taken as criticism. Hmm….

La Musica

I liked a few slower worship songs last year too, but this list is for those of us who like to move and need some inspiration to get going. Pulling weeds? Washing windows? Scrubbing grout? These hits will kick you into gear and keep you there. No caffeine needed. 

1. La Luz (Live) – Crowder, feat. Social Club Misfits

A bit of Español mixed into a fun beat is never a bad thing. 

2. Rescue (Chill Mix) – Lauren Daigle

The Chill Mix makes the original a little edgier and pop-y, but have you seen the music video? Yowza. Singing from an iceberg in Alaska with a chopper flying overhead can’t be cozy, but watching it is definitely mesmerizing. 

3. I’m Gonna Let It Go – Jason Gray

The perfect happy song for a kitchen dance party or kitchen scrub fest. Choose wisely, grasshopper.

4. 21 Years – Toby Mac

A tribute to his recently deceased son, Truett, this brand new song dropped a couple days ago. Heart-wrenching from a parenting perspective, but I love Toby’s vulnerable honesty.

5. Never Walk Away – Elevation Rhythm

Legit lyrics, sweet beat. Got this one on repeat. 

6. Revival Anthem – Rend Collective

High energy to say the least, the drums drive this anthem right into my soul. The arial shots in their music video rival Lauren Daigle’s, but since the band’s in Ireland on top of a castle(!) they get bonus points.

7. Fight For Me – GAWVI, feat. Lacrae

What are you fighting for? Justice? Babies? Anti-racism? Marriage? Besides letting Jesus fight our battles, having a human fight for you on this earth is life-giving. Raise ‘em high. 

Alrighty… I told you mine, now share yours!

Gripping book? Catchy song? Tell me in the comments!

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  • Karri

    Love this! Excited for all that God has in store for my brain and my growth in 2020 thanks to this list. Im totally going to check a bunch of these out. ????????
    And I enthusiastically second all of your song recommendations. Great list!????????

  • Shelley Fields

    It took me all year to read one book, mostly because I spend my book time buried with the kids in Pete the Cat, Captain Underpants (God just HAD to give me boys), Skippyjon Jones, etc. I finally finished the book this week thanks to a renewed commitment to give myself permission to enjoy some non-Bible study reading.
    “A Hobbit, a wardrobe and a Great War” by Loconte was a heavily intellectual way to dive back into personal reading, but I recommend it. The relationship between the famous authors has been discussed elsewhere. This book touched on that but was more about the philosophies, beliefs and worldviews before and after the War on a personal level and on the world stage. I came away with a better understanding of how that era shaped literature, culture and our present-day attitudes.
    Now, back to fiction. The book you recommend by Andrew Peterson intrigues me. I’ll put it on my list for later in the year. I have enjoyed his music for years.

    • Carrie Talbott

      I love your honesty, Shelley! Aren’t boys fun? Haha. I have never been a voracious or quick reader, but I started enjoying it more in the past few years. I think most of my problem was giving myself permission (you get it!) to stop working, emailing, cleaning, etc. and just sit. It always seemed like a luxury I didn’t have time for. But it’s imperative that writers are readers, so here I am. The book you recommended sounds heavy for sure. My husband would probably love it though, being a history teacher and all. I’ve loved Andrew Peterson’s music too! I had “Be Kind To Yourself” on repeat for months! Read on, amiga.

  • Corinne Bonynge

    These are great, I’ll check them all out. ! I love Brene Brown and Ian Cron. I’m curious what your enneagram number is. Have you heard his podcast? Thanks for these favorites!

    • Carrie Talbott

      Thanks, Corinne. I’m loving them and their wisdom too. I took the Enneagram test before I read “The Road Back to You.” (Didn’t know you weren’t supposed to do that.) And it literally said I was hard to diagnose. Ha! I was split between a 1 and a 2. Yes, I subscribed to Typology today, but haven’t listened to one yet. Thanks for mentioning it!