My Favorite Books of 2011

9:15 pm Blog Candy, Book & Curriculum Reviews, Kerry Beck

I read some great books in 2011…and I re-read some of my favorites.
Here are my top picks.
BTW…read to the bottom to find out how you can win my book:
Becoming A Homeschool Pro

wins losses lessons

Although I’m not quite finished with this book (should finish tonight or tomorrow), this may be my favorite of 2011.  Did you know Lou Holtz was 135 pounds, struggled academically and had a speech impediment in high school?  He is currently one of the most sought-after motivational speakers.  He is honest about his life and we can all learn from his story.

Read lessons I learned in Jan 2 post…about prayer

power of positive thinking

FANTASTIC.  I thought this was all about “me” & selfish positive thinking.  However,  it really has alot to do with God, Scripture and following the verses to think on positive things.  Great reminder for all of us.

One Yard Short

Lots of people live life “one yard short”. Les Steckel tells his life story and how God worked in his life to prepare for ministry to others.  Great for sports lovers, but also for men who struggle in feeling like nothing ever goes right.

zig ziglar

Love this book!  Truly rags to riches, but Zig knows who carries him always – Jesus Christ!
Zig is honest with his readers, sharing the good & bad stories of his life.  He willingly shares his weaknesses, but also shows how God uses his strengths.  He is honest about his middle years which tell of his chasing shiny objects.  Zig also shares the importance of his family, both his wife & kids.  Very encouraging to see a man who finds success in the middle of his life.

How Did You do It Truett?

Quick Read…
Quick overview of how Chick fil A began
Great principles to base your life and business. He truly walks the talk!
This would make a great gift for a young person as he addresses young people and how teenagers could use these principles.  I also read his biography which is EXCELLENT!

How to win friends and influence people

Love this book.  You should read this once a year.

Cereal tycoon

Inspirational & Encouraging. Truly a man who ran his business with Christian principles. Biography of founder of Quaker of Oats. I needed a new book to read & found this on my shelf.  So much better than I ever anticipated.

Favorite book series I started re-reading this year

Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind

I read one new book in this series and re-read 2 books.
They are so much fun, an escape from reality. Fun to read & laugh!

At Home in Mitford

Father Tim & Mitford are so much fun to read…and a great encouragement to me.  I have about 3-4 more to finish re-reading the entire series. I read about one each month.

One of my favorite lines is the prayer Father Tim learned from his grandmother:
“Lord, let me be a blessing to someone today.”

What are you favorite books of 2011?

Post your book title as a comment.
I’ll randomly choose one of them to win a copy of my ebook,
Becoming a Homeschool Pro. 
I’ll choose the winner next Tuesday, January 3.

After you post a comment, you can also enter to win by clicking fb like or tweeting this post at the top.
This will give you additional entries to win.

38 Responses
  1. Jennifer Dages :

    Date: December 30, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

    One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

  2. Kerry :

    Date: December 30, 2011 @ 6:05 pm

    My neighbor just told me about Ann’s book & said it was great. I also found her Jesse Tree and look forward to reading it before next Christmas.

  3. Tricia Soderstrom :

    Date: December 30, 2011 @ 6:06 pm

    Crazy Love by Francis Chan

  4. Tricia Soderstrom :

    Date: December 30, 2011 @ 6:06 pm

    also when Life is Hard by James MacDonald

  5. Kay :

    Date: December 30, 2011 @ 6:42 pm

    Just read your list to see if my favorite book this year was on it ~ it wasn’t but then your first commentor listed it ~ Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are… This was by far the best book I’ve read this year and probably my favorite book of all time now! :-) I loved it so much that I gave several friends a copy of it ~ Am re-reading it again now ~ Wonderful book! Blessings, Kay

  6. Laurie :

    Date: December 30, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

    Dave Ramsey’s book “EntreLeadership” is the best book I read in 2011.

  7. Kelly K :

    Date: December 30, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

    One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I am so thankful for The Lord to use this women to speak on behalf of those who don’t want to miss it. For those who struggle and for those who love.

  8. dana :

    Date: December 30, 2011 @ 10:00 pm

    1000 gifrs

  9. MelissaG :

    Date: December 30, 2011 @ 10:42 pm

    Here are a few of my favorites
    The Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney
    What Women Fear by Angie Smith
    just started reading this classic author/pastor
    The Attributes of God Volume 2 by A.W. Tozer I think everyone that claims faith in Christ should read Tozer

    I tried reading 1000 Gifts earlier this year and just could NOT get into it. I almost read the whole thing but just couldn’t finish. Everyone else loves it, I just didn’t get along well with the way it was written.

  10. Pam :

    Date: December 30, 2011 @ 11:18 pm

    Brock & Brodie Thoene’s A.D. Chronicles series (follows The Zion Chronicles & The Zion Legacy series. I am often uncomfortable with fictionalized stories from the Bible, but these are wonderful.

  11. Anne C. :

    Date: December 31, 2011 @ 12:02 am

    Created to be his Help Meet by Debi Pearl ~~~ Every wife should read this one. I learned soo much from it – how to be a godly wife.

  12. Mariah Keyrouz :

    Date: December 31, 2011 @ 5:41 am

    What’s So Great About Christianity, by Dinesh D’Souza. Also What’s So Great About America. I discovered this gent in 2011, and he’s now one of my heroes. President of The King’s College in NYC, training young people to fortify the pillars of our society.

  13. Grace :

    Date: December 31, 2011 @ 6:39 am

    I have favorites in different categories. Most transformed my thinking about marriage, “Have a New Husband By Friday.” Fiction: Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell. Fun read: Murder in the Vicarage (I don’t know why I laughed so much?”) Historical fiction: Killer Angels. I have heard so much about the 1,000 Gifts, I think that will be my first Kindle buy of the year.

  14. Dana :

    Date: December 31, 2011 @ 7:43 am

    Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen

    I am also a loyal Miss Julia fan! Her new book each year makes me smile!

  15. Patti Strout :

    Date: December 31, 2011 @ 2:10 pm

    This year I have revisited some old favorites, but with a more adult perspective. Amazing how books grow as we do! “The Education of Little Tree” by Forest Carter has become more beautifully written and more subtle and insightful with passing years. Read it with your children, however, since it brings up issues you will want to address. An advanced reading would be good preparation to gear you as to age appropriateness with your own family.
    A movie was made, but please don’t do yourself the disservice of seeing it first. Even my children were saddened at what was left out or twisted out of proportion in the film.

  16. Liesbet Patrick :

    Date: December 31, 2011 @ 2:32 pm

    Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

  17. Kerry :

    Date: December 31, 2011 @ 9:02 pm


    I’m excited about all the titles being shared. So far, the overall pick is 1000 Gifts which I will be ordering this week. I’ve read some of the other books listed, but plan to investigate the other titles to read in 2012.

    Thanks for the suggestions. Keep them coming!

  18. Kimberly :

    Date: December 31, 2011 @ 10:46 pm

    The Help – I couldn’t put it down, it was a great read!

  19. Dana Wilson :

    Date: January 1, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

    Thanks for your post, Kerry! I have a list I will be publishing on my blog soon, too, about what I am planning on reading and re-reading in 2012. Tops on that list is C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.

  20. Judy :

    Date: January 2, 2012 @ 4:18 am

    I would have to say that the devotional book “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young has been the best book I have read the past year.

  21. Terri :

    Date: January 2, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

    ‘Things Unseen’ by Mark Buchanan
    and ‘When You Rise Up’ by R.C. Sproul, Jr.

  22. Tori :

    Date: January 2, 2012 @ 7:16 pm

    “Ten Second Rule” by Clare De Graaf

    The author describes the book as “obedience for dummies” also very inspiring to think of the possibilities god can creat with our 10 seconds of obedience.

  23. Dianna Peters :

    Date: January 2, 2012 @ 7:52 pm

    It All Goes Back in the Box by John Ortberg. It changed the way I live my life, my priorities totally changed!!

  24. Nicole :

    Date: January 2, 2012 @ 8:00 pm

    Building Children’s Ministry by Tina Houser.

  25. Gail :

    Date: January 2, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

    “Sisterchicks Do the Hula” by Robin Gunn
    All the Sisterchick books are great but this was my favorite. Reading it was like my “Calgon take me away” moment.

  26. Rose :

    Date: January 2, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

    My favorite book was Left to Tell.

  27. Darla :

    Date: January 2, 2012 @ 10:06 pm

    Large Family Logistics was just what I needed this year. It has been great to go through it with a group of other mothers.

    Have a blessed year!

  28. Charise :

    Date: January 2, 2012 @ 10:12 pm

    Crazy Love by Francis Chan

  29. Kerry :

    Date: January 2, 2012 @ 10:16 pm

    Just saw Large Family Logistics at my neighbor’s home. Looks great.

    So many good & interesting books that I’ll have to check out.

  30. Kerry :

    Date: January 2, 2012 @ 10:17 pm

    Sounds like a good series for me this coming year. I’ve been looking for a new series after reading Mitford & Miss Julia books

  31. Dawn :

    Date: January 3, 2012 @ 12:42 am

    Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher
    The Artist’s Way

  32. Carol :

    Date: January 3, 2012 @ 8:34 am

    Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe by Todd Wilson. For those that posted about the Mitford series, I heartily agree—it’s a great series–I’ve read them all!

  33. Ann :

    Date: January 3, 2012 @ 9:12 am

    I left this comment on a previous post and didn’t know if I put it in the wrong place. Here it is again.

    I love your goal and I think a goal we should all have. A book I started and haven’t finished yet is Magnificent Desolation, the long journey home from the moon, By Buzz Aldrin. My son and I had the pleasure of meeting him and his writing is good. I recommend it.

  34. Val :

    Date: January 3, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

    A great book that I’m nearly finished and have benefited from is Tim Chester’s “The Busy Christian’s Guide To Busyness”. Lots of practical advice including some very insightful reflections from the Psalms. Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony was also a helpful read – full of helpful principles with personal stories to illustrate.

  35. Ronda :

    Date: January 4, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

    I noticed at least one person mentioned One Thousand Gifts–that one was awesome and life-changing! I bought several copies to give away. Another non-fiction that I think everyone should read was Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax. It is just excellent! Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project was very thought-provoking, as was Room by Emma Donoghue. In fiction, I discovered Charles Martin–ALL of his books are wonderful! (yes, I really read them all this year!) And for YA Fiction fans, Jenny B. Jones is hysterically funny. I also read several by Francine Rivers, my favorite Christian novelist–The Last Sin Eater and the Mark of the Lion series. I could go on, but this is making me realize that I read an AWFUL LOT! :)

  36. Ronda :

    Date: January 4, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

    And thanks for the rec on the Miss Julia series! I’ve never heard of it, and my library has six of them, so guess what I’ll be reading the next couple of months? :)

  37. Bea Lovejoy :

    Date: January 4, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

    Oh so many great books! Here are a few I read: “Heaven is for REAL” super read, get the audio book,too; “The Treasure Principle” by Randy Alcorn helped put $$ in perspective; “The GateKeepers” Nate Wolf; “Secret Keeper The Delicate Power of Modesty” Dannah Gresh. She has a great way to putting things; “Unfair Advantage” Robert Kiyosaki; “the Blessing” Gary Smalley; “the Power of a Praying Parent” Stormie Omartian – every Mom should read this!!! It has really encouraged me to pray more often and more specifically for each area of their lives!!! Enjoy!!

  38. Jennifer :

    Date: January 10, 2012 @ 5:50 pm

    My two favorites this year: “Heaven is for REAL” by Todd Burpo and “The Friendly Persuasion” by Jessamyn West

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