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4 Books to Influence Your New Year


The New Year is a time when many of us take stock of where we are in life, make goals, or attempt to make changes in our habits.

It is also a time when some of us make booklists of what we want to read in the upcoming year. Outside of the many wonderful people in my life, I have to say, books have been some of the most influencing forces in my life.

I’ve gathered a few titles that I think are particularly good to consider when starting off with a fresh year in front of me. Books that nourish, provoke, encourage, and inspire.

Something to Nourish the Soul:

The One Year Book of Hope by Nancy Guthrie

This has been one of my favorite devotional books to date. Typically, I don’t use “devotional books” but stick to straight Scripture, but few devotional books have impacted me like this one has. Although specifically written for someone grieving a loss, all of us can benefit from a daily infusion of biblical hope. Each entry is dateless, so no need to ever feel condemned for getting “behind.” Each devotional is a page long and contains encouragement based on approximately one verse of Scripture. If you wish to spend extended time, there’s a Digging Deeper section that contains more passages relevant to the day’s subject.

Practical Help for Intentional Living:

Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider

Oxenreider challenges some preconceived Western ideas about the way life is supposed to be lived. Having lived as an expat in various cultures, upon reentering American life, Oxenreider rethinks her approach to food, education, and work, among other things. This book is good at raising questions about why we do things the way we do, and if there are other ways we’ve not considered.

Encouragement for Parenting:

Hints on Child Training by H. Clay Trumbull

Written in the late 1800s, this book remains amazingly fresh and relevant. With such thought-provoking chapters like “Denying a Child Wisely,” “Will-Training, Rather Than Will-Breaking,” and “Letting Alone as a Means of Child Training” this book inspired me in my parenting. Trumbull is wise and sensitive in his writing style.

Women Who Inspire:

When Others Shuddered: Eight Women Who Refused to Give Up by Jamie Janosz

I love biographies. I realize not everyone may share my enthusiasm for them; however, this little book might be a good place to start if biographies haven’t been your thing. This book gives an engaging overview of the lives of eight lesser-known women in Christian history: Fanny Crosby, Emma Dryer, Nancy McCormick, Sarah Dunn Clarke, Amanda Smith, Virginia Asher, Evangeline Booth, and Mary McLeod Bethune. From responding to natural disasters like the Chicago fire to standing against the ill treatment of women and children in industrial factories, these ordinary women shared God’s salvation message through very tangible service.

I hope a few of these books will influence your year for the better, both spiritually and practically!


Danielle Ayers-Jones

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