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Books

What I Read in 2023

1.1.2024 • 1 Comment

Welcome to Val’s annual goal series! We’re releasing a new goals-related blog post each day. 

If you desire more focus and consistency and less distractions and distance from the Lord, now is the perfect time to grab our yearly prayer journal for 2024. Grab one here. And don’t miss Val’s class on how to use our prayer journals and overcome common obstacles. Find it here

What I Read in 2023 by Valerie Woerner, new year, book list, 2024 reads, favorites, books on prayer, faith filled books, how to read more Let’s talk books!! So I read less this year, 26ish instead of 40 like the previous year, and I won’t cry about it because it’s books and that’s silly to get bent out of shape about. BUT, it does have me going back to this post and thinking through how I will plan to read more in 2024 and what the heck happened to cause me to read almost half of previous years. There were some busy seasons. I know I chose time with the girls or sleep honestly rather than reading so I think that’s all good. But I never had a set time to read which is rather unlike me. 

I’m curious how you make time to read. Feel free to share in the comments. Ok, now below is everything I read in 2023, who I’d recommend them for or even if I would recommend them! (A) means I listened to on Audible and * are my favorite reads of the year! 

If you love book recs, here’s two things you might like:

  1. Each month I share what I’m currently reading in my Monthly Digest. Get that here
  2. On Friday, I’m sharing my insanely long list of what I hope to read in 2024! Sign up here to get a notification when it goes live!

FAITH

What I Read in 2023 by Valerie Woerner, new year, book list, 2024 reads, favorites, books on prayer, faith filled books, how to read more

30 Days to Understanding the Bible by Max Anders *

If you want to have a better understanding of the arc of Scripture, this book was so good! It’s written in 15 minute chapters and includes space to write and really commit to memory the info  you’re reading.

A Praying Church – Paul E Miller

Miller’s book a A Praying Life is a book I have recommended for years as a great foundational book on prayer. This latest book from Miller specifically about the church was wonderful and challenging and different than expected. 

The Art of Lent – Wendy Beckett

If you stress a bit thinking of doing a Lent plan, this might be a way to think about the season for 40 days no matter how busy the season. If you’re an artlover, this is a must. This book has 40 days of paintings and shares a short passage about how it points to Easter for the author. 

What I Read in 2023 by Valerie Woerner, new year, book list, 2024 reads, favorites, books on prayer, faith filled books, how to read more

Rejoice and Tremble– Michael Reeves *

If you’re used to Insta-sermons and fluffy books, this will be a challenging read but it is so worth it. It’s dense but I had several aha moments through the book where God deepened my faith. 

Respectable Sins – Jerry Bridges

This book was about all those sins we accept as normal. After several chapters, it started to feel a bit rote but if you feel blinded to the sins in your life because you’ve managed to avoid the big ones, it might be worth the read.  

A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty – Joni Eareckson Tada

For anyone suffering chronic pain, this is a must-read. I found so much comfort in her perspective and challenged to see my pain in a different light. 

What I Read in 2023 by Valerie Woerner, new year, book list, 2024 reads, favorites, books on prayer, faith filled books, how to read more

5 Love Languages of Children– Gary Chapman and Rose Campbell

If you have toddlers or older kids, I’d read this book now. I had wished I read it sooner. It opened my eyes to ways I had been depriving my girls of the way they felt loved most in an effort to discipline. Like acts of service is Vivi’s and I had been leaning hard in the “teach her to be independent and do herself” way and that meant so many missed opportunities to show her love. Obviously teaching independence is still crucial but I am more aware of ways to serve her. 

Afraid of All the Things: Tornadoes, Cancer, Adoption, and Other Stuff You Need the Gospel For – Scarlet Hiltibidal 

This was an enjoyable read. Hiltibidal is a funny writer and it was funny the number of specific things she has feared that I have feared too. If you worry, you’ll feel not so alone (or crazy!) reading this book.  

LIFE

What I Read in 2023 by Valerie Woerner, new year, book list, 2024 reads, favorites, books on prayer, faith filled books, how to read more

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything – BJ Fogg (A)

My friend Diana has been trying to get me to read this book for years and I finally get it! I know Atomic Habits is the favorite for habits but I think Tiny Habits brings a new perspective that was super practical and actionable. Planning to put what I learned into practice this year. 

One Word That Will Change Your Life – Jon Gordon, Jimmy Page, and Dan Britton (A)

This was a short book that I listened to on the origins of Word of the Year, and to be honest, no big takeaways. I’m sure it was groundbreaking 2 decades ago but with all the info out there now, it was pretty basic. I’ll be sharing my word for the year in a few days as well as tips I’ve used for years on how to pick them on Instagram

The Cost of Control: Why We Crave It, the Anxiety It Gives Us, and the Real Power God Promises – Sharon Hodde Miller

Miller offers such a different perspective as a writer than I’m used to so this book was a refreshing look on control and how it’s affecting us. 

BUSINESS

How to Grow Your Small Business – Donald Miller

I think if you’re a business owner not sure how to focus your business, this is a good book to give you a framework and direction to go. The book is an easy and enjoyable read. 

The Kingdom of Prep: The Inside Story of the Rise and (Near) Fall of J.Crew – Maggie Bullock (A) 

As I “prepped” for our new brand and photoshoot, I wanted to get inspired. Our new look was very much inspired by library, Ivy league and prep. This book was fascinating as it shared the history of J.Crew from the humble beginnings to now. 

What I Read in 2023 by Valerie Woerner, new year, book list, 2024 reads, favorites, books on prayer, faith filled books, how to read more

The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace – Gary Chapman & Paul White

I struggle with communication so after I read the love languages for kids, I knew I needed to read this one so I could do a better job with my team. And I’m so glad I did! The majority of my team has the exact opposite needs as I do so it’s been helpful to learn what doesn’t come natural to me. 

Shoe Dog – Phil Knight (A)

I have the fondest memories of listening to the biography of Nike’s founder while packaging journals. I was acting shipping manager for 4 months and felt defeated facing team setbacks so listening to Knights story was fascinating. To be honest, he’s a terrible model for how to do business character-wise but seeing the ins and outs was still intriguing.

What I Read in 2023 by Valerie Woerner, new year, book list, 2024 reads, favorites, books on prayer, faith filled books, how to read more

Write and Grow Rich – Alinka Rutkowska

I have been yearning to spend more time as an actual writer. I picked this book up hoping to be inspired. It was a series of authors answering the same set of questions and getting a behind the scenes look at what authors do to have a successful writing career was inspiring.

Eat That Frog – Brian Tracy *

This book is a classic and super short. If you need a swift kick in the pants to get moving, this is great!

FAMILY

Giving Your Words: The Lifegiving Power of a Verbal Home for Family Formation – Sally and Clay Clarkson

Speaking words of life is something I’m constantly working on. My inner critic is loud and that means it shouts a good bit to my family too. 

What I Read in 2023 by Valerie Woerner, new year, book list, 2024 reads, favorites, books on prayer, faith filled books, how to read more

Family Revision – Jeremy Pryor *

If you enjoyed Take Back Your Family, you will love this one! Pryor was actually Bethke’s mentor so some of the content Bethke distilled down from Pryor is expanded on in this book.

31 Creative Ways to Build Your Family Team – Jeremy and Kelsey Pryor

This was a book (workbook?) of practical actions to take if you read Family Revision and need action steps.

Resilient Kids – Kathy Koch *

If you have sensitive kids, I think this book is a must-read. In our culture today, I think it’s really easy to swing in the opposite direction of previous generations that seemed to be really tough or avoid emotions but resilience is important and I know I want to raise kids who can bounce back from hard situations instead of make excuses for why they can’t.

What I Read in 2023 by Valerie Woerner, new year, book list, 2024 reads, favorites, books on prayer, faith filled books, how to read more

The 4 Habits of Raising Joy-Filled Kids – Marcus Warner and Chris Coursey

Another short read but great! They address how to raise joy-filled kids based on season, infants (which I skipped) children and adult kids. 

Boundaries with Kids – Henry Cloud

I really enjoyed this book and had planned to basically focus on teaching the girls a different boundary (there are 10) for a different month through the year with a little flexibility. It didn’t work out for the second half of the year but it’s still something I’d love to do. 

Habits of the Household – Justin Whitmel Earley (A)

If you are looking to create a more rhythmic pattern of healthy boundaries and you have small kids, I think you’ll enjoy this book. 

I Can’t Believe You Just Said That – Ginger Hubbard

If your kids say things and you aren’t sure how to respond, this book is for you and gives almost like scripts to help you as you face all the issues with their words. There are chapters on whining, complaining, tattling, bragging, bickering, blaming and more. I bought this short cheatsheet that’s helpful too. 

Currently reading:

The Way Out – Alan Gordon  

The Grace Awakening – Chuck Swindoll (inspired my word for the year, coming Wednesday!)

(A) All it Takes is a Goal – Jon Acuff (the perfect get-hype book while I’ve been decluttering this week)

(A) Every Woman a Theologian – Phylicia Masonheimer (getting ready for Phy’s Bible in a Year group)

My books:

In case you didn’t know, I love to write as much as I love to read! 

The Finishing School  (2016) 

Consider this your guide to taking your Pinterest board to real life. Ok, it’s bigger than that. I had engulfed so much information on ways I wanted to change but didn’t know how to actually change. This book is about those areas of life we long to change (discipline, distractions, margin friendships, rest, etc.) and sharing Biblical wisdom that leads to practical application. It’s the perfect book to take you into the New Year! 

What I Read in 2023 by Valerie Woerner, new year, book list, 2024 reads, favorites, books on prayer, faith filled books, how to read more

Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday (2019) 

What if I could help you take those grumpy mom moments to less intense, less often and less time stuck in it? In Grumpy Mom, we look at the stereotypes the world has about motherhood and identify how it’s actually one cause for our grumpiness. As a natural melancholy mom, this content revived my joy in motherhood!

Fresh Start for Moms  (2019) 

This is the 31-day devotional that’s a companion to Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday. It includes morning and evening questions to help train your mind with a different perspective. If you know a weary momma, this is the perfect gift!

Springboard Prayers (2020) 

It’s a coffee table book meets written prayers conversation starter book. Y’all have asked for a book of prayers for a while but I only wanted to do it if it could help you start the conversation and allow you to keep it going instead of just being a prayer read. In the book are 125 prayers based on emotions, circumstances and places and more that include a prayer as well as followup questions that can guided a continued prayer. 

What I Read in 2023 by Valerie Woerner, new year, book list, 2024 reads, favorites, books on prayer, faith filled books, how to read more

Pray Confidently and Consistently (2021) 

After thousands of conversations with our audience about their greatest prayer struggles, I wrote the book that would address those obstacles so you can run unencumbered (Hebrews 12:1) in your relationship with God. If you feel discouraged with where you prayer life is, this book will give you the foundational truths about prayer to help you gain confidence and the practical steps so you can build consistency. 

Led, Not Driven (2022)

In 2018, I chose Led, Not Driven as my word(s) for the year. I really wanted to learn how to not run ahead of God and live an ambitious but empty life so I kept a journal and this book is the result. It’s a memoir-ish, short read of those entries and the perfect book to challenge our thinking about a life of hurry and how to be led by the Spirit instead. 

Now I want to hear from you, what books have you read this year and loved? Share in the comments!

Also note that if you choose to shop through the links in this post, I may receive a small commission!

What I Read in 2023 by Valerie Woerner, new year, book list, 2024 reads, favorites, books on prayer, faith filled books, how to read more

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Comments (2)

Habits of the Household, The Maid, and The Lincoln Highway were a few of my favorites from 2023!

Thanks for sharing Em! I just looked up The Lincoln Highway and I know I've seen it but didn't know the plot. Super intriguing!