Monday, March 28, 2016

My Ten Most Recent Five-Star Reads

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for another Top Ten Tuesday.

This week's topic is "Ten of my most recent 5-star reads," but rather than debating what constitutes "recent" and trying to pick the best ones, I'm just going to straight up give you the ten books that most recently got a 5-star rating from me, starting with the most recent. I ended up having to go back about six months in total, as I had a lot of books that I'd rated 4.5 stars but that didn't quite hit the 5-star mark for me.

1. Spark Joy by Marie Kondō
I just finished this follow-up to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It was exactly the "master class" I needed to get my pared-down possessions organized as neatly as possible.

2. George by Alex Gino
I loved this children's book about a transgender 10-year-old girl. It was heartwarming and optimistic while still being relatively realistic.

3. Dear Mister Rogers, Does It Ever Rain in Your Neighborhood? by Fred Rogers
This book of children's and parents' letters answered by Mister Rogers gave me some great insights into answering kids' questions. He is always honest and tries to encourage their own problem-solving wherever possible.

4. The Giver by Lois Lowry
I didn't love this book until I reread it as an adult, but now I understand why it's a favorite for so many. It concisely illustrates how societies can be tempted to stifle freedom/joy/truth in the name of security/peace/stability, and the unforeseen consequences of such a trend.

5. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
I know this book has received a lot of criticism, but I think Sandberg was very upfront about the book's limitations and narrow audience. Within that scope, it's honest, helpful, and practical, for both men and women in the working world.

6. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
This is such a fantastically written story of one man's unbelievable WWII experience. The story itself is alternately horrifying and uplifting, but the storytelling is what makes this a top book for me.

7. Accidental Saints by Nadia Bolz-Weber
I just mentioned this last week as a book I should talk about more. As I said there, it's funny, challenging, honest, and inspiring, and recommended for any Christian who loves God but can't seem to get along with any of God's followers.

8. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
In this brief but passionate work, Coates addresses racial identity (and its social and historical construction), police prejudice, and the ways in which his son's experience in today's world is both hopefully different and painfully similar to his own experience growing up black and male.

9. Positive by Paige Rawl
Another repeat from last week that needs more promotion. This memoir of HIV, bullying, and healing is both heartbreaking and inspiring.

10. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Although much of this book is ridiculous and silly, I enjoyed the read so much I couldn't help but give it 5 stars. I loved the riddles, the ridiculous plays on words, the celebration of the different ways that genius manifests itself, and the good old-fashioned save-the-world plot.

What are the best books you've read recently?

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