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My Top Ten Books of 2023

Inside: I’m back with updates on my favorite reads from 2023, including reviews of my top ten picks. I’ve also included my reading list for 2024!

A look at my favorite reads from 2023 and my reading list for 2024.

Another year has passed, and I’m back to update my list of favorite reads. Although I didn’t manage to read all the books I planned to at the start of the year, I did finish quite a few. I even added some new ones that weren’t initially on my list.

I keep track of the books I read in Notion. Last year, I had difficulty finding a manageable system, but since I use Notion daily for all my blog writing, it’s convenient for updating my reading progress. Additionally, my Notion account syncs with Readwise, keeping track of all my book highlights, including those from physical books. This is a Readwise feature I’m aiming to utilize more efficiently.

Recently, I’ve established a pretty good reading routine. I aim to read for at least 15 minutes each morning after studying the Word and again in the afternoon. I also read before going to bed. On some evenings, I manage to squeeze in some reading time after dinner.

I typically read 3-4 books simultaneously and always carry one with me. My Kindle has become a trusted companion, especially during travel or when I’m in a waiting room.

Audible remains a steadfast companion that transforms mundane tasks and drive time into captivating storytelling, often making me lose track of time. I may even find myself cleaning longer just to finish a chapter. I typically listen to fiction, particularly historical fiction. Please share your favorites with me in the comments – I’m always on the lookout for my next read, and I love recommendations! I lean towards fiction when it comes to audiobooks, as they demand less mental gymnastics. Note-taking and highlighting, which I love to do with my non-fiction reads, aren’t as straightforward with audiobooks!

If you’re interested in my past favorite reads, you can browse my online bookshop, which features my personal favorites.

If you’re interested in exploring my past favorite reads, you can browse through them in my online bookshop. Additionally, all my past book recommendations can be found in a dedicated section on my website here.

For additional book suggestions, consider checking out G3 Ministries and Tim Challies. They offer a variety of helpful book recommendations and reading categories.

While I am an eclectic reader, not all my choices are Christian books. The first book mentioned is my favorite of the year, with the remaining titles presented in no particular order. Here’s to another year of diverse reading adventures!

As you scroll down, you’ll come across a link to my reading list for the next year. It’s a diverse collection, including physical books, Kindle versions, and Audible. My hope is to focus on at least ten of these books and see how the rest fit into my year. I’m trying initially to stick to reading books I already own (that often doesn’t last too long), and the G3 Ministries 2024 list was a helpful source for some of my picks (there are also great recommendations from their High School Homeschool Curriculum, too).

My Top Ten Books for 2023:

Studies in the Sermon on the Mount Books 2023

Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by Martyn Lloyd Jones

This book, which I spent three years in while working through the Sermon on the Mount series on the podcast, is my top recommendation for any believer studying Jesus’ sermon in Matthew 5-7. There is so much I can say here, but what stood out to me the most is that this compilation of Dr. Lloyd Jones’ sermons, delivered at Westminster Chapel in London between 1955 and 1958, is deep in theological truth and filled with practical wisdom for Christian living. 

Persuasion by Jane Austen 2023 Books

Persuasion by Jane Austen

I’ve been gradually working through Jane Austen’s works these past few years. I read or listen to the book, then persuade my dear husband to watch usually the BBC version of the movie or series based on the book. Persuasion started off slow for me, but once it picked up, I couldn’t stop listening. I experienced this book through an audiobook. This movie adaptation has become one of my favorites. Who doesn’t love a beautifully written romance story about second chances?

The Holiness of God books 2023

The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul

I’ve read this book twice, and it’s one I feel the need to revisit often. Dr. Sproul explores a biblical understanding of God’s absolute holiness, encouraging us to consider the awe-inspiring nature of God’s holiness and its impact on our understanding of sin, salvation, and the Christian life. We read this together in our Friends of Thankful Homemaker group and found it beneficial to discuss it as a group.

Sproul’s easy-to-understand writing style and theological depth make this book a compelling and thought-provoking read for those seeking a better understanding of God’s holiness and its transformative power in our lives.

Dark Clouds Deep Mercy Books 2023

Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament by Mark Vroegop

I am late to the game on this book, and it was another audiobook listen for me, but one that I’m so glad I delved into. Mark Vroegop does such a lovely job of emphasizing the power of lament and showing how it can lead to a deeper understanding of God’s mercy and grace. He encourages spending time in the Psalms of lament, where the psalmists pour out their hearts before God in times of distress, grief, or injustice. It is a resource I will probably turn to again and again as it can be hard to navigate times of sorrow, and this book helps us to seek a biblically grounded approach to processing pain.

Little women by Louisa May Alcott books 2023

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women is a book I didn’t want to end. I read it as a teenager and didn’t appreciate all the themes it entailed, from family to love and pursuing one’s dreams. The story is engaging and shares such a heartwarming portrayal of the bonds of family and their love for one another. I can see why it has endured as such a beloved classic.

Let Not Your Heart be Troubled books 2023

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled by Martyn Lloyd Jones

I think my overwhelm with finishing “Studies in the Sermon on the Mount” made me want to spend a bit more time with “The Doctor“. I got to delve into John 14:1-12 with him (he wrote and preached this series of sermons soon after the Second World War). This small book reminded me of the importance of anchoring my faith in God’s promises and trusting in His sovereignty – something my heart can never be reminded of enough.

George muller books 2023

The Autobiography of George Müller by George Müller

This is already the third second read on my list. I read this book as a new believer and wanted to revisit it, especially since continuing to desire to grow in my prayer life has been on my spiritual priorities list for the past few years. What did I draw from it? So many powerful testaments to the principles of faith, prayer, and dependence on God. It’s one I will revisit again. 

Busy by Ian Carmichael books 2023

Busy: Tackling the Problem of an Overloaded Christian Life by Ian Carmichael

When someone responds to the question, “How are you?” with “I’m busy,” my first thought is, “We’re all busy.” I try to avoid giving this response when asked the same question. Busyness has become a significant issue in our society, and I appreciate that this little book explores busyness from a biblical viewpoint. Carmichael explains that being busy is good when it’s for God’s work. However, he also emphasizes the need for rest and “God rest.” He challenges us to surrender our lives to Jesus’ agenda and make thoughtful choices. This book is a must-read and will likely be a book club selection this year in our Friends of Thankful Homemaker group.

Overcoming Bitterness books 2023

Overcoming Bitterness: Moving from Life’s Greatest Hurts to a Life Filled with Joy by Stephen Viars

We all know how destructive bitterness can be, yet often we don’t address it when we see it in our lives. We will all deal with bitterness in our lives (hand raised here – why I picked up this book), but we don’t have to let it settle in our hearts and take root. I really appreciated the walk through the book of Ruth and his sections called “Pull Over and Park” to work through personal application and reflection questions. I’m not always good at taking advantage of these sections in books, but these sections were so helpful to me to take the time to pray and get honest with the Lord about the sin in my heart that I needed to deal with. This would be a great book to go through with a friend or two.

Practicing thankfulness books 2023

Practicing Thankfulness: Cultivating a Grateful Heart in All Circumstances by Sam Crabtree

I am a grumbler. If you’ve listened to the podcast, this won’t surprise you. I’ve had this book by Sam Crabtree on my shelf for a while, and during the past Thanksgiving season, it made my reading list for 2023. I’m so glad it did. The book initially acknowledges two types of readers: those who question God’s goodness and often feel ungrateful and those who recognize God’s goodness but seek to deepen their appreciation of it. The book does a good job of combining these two intentions and helps us understand our lack of gratitude, suggesting ways to become more thankful.

What’s the Next Read for 2024?

You can see all my selections for 2024 in my bookshop here. I’ve put all my physical books in one pile, organized my Kindle 2024 reads into a collection, and arranged my Audible listens too, so everything is easy to find when I’m ready to make my next selection. I keep track of the books I read in Notion, and it syncs with my Readwise app, which holds all the quotes I’ve highlighted in Kindle. I’ve been better at adding quotes into Readwise from my physical books using their photo add option.


  1. I love love love Elizabeth Prentiss’ Stepping Heavenward… can’t wait to hear your thoughts! A great historical fiction series is Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion Series.. you should check it out!

    1. Marci Ferrell says:

      It is my third time through it lol. It really is such a timeless gem – I so appreciate Katy’s candidness with her struggles. Just a realistic story of our lives as believers. Meshea – I did read the Mark of the Lion series awhile back. I so enjoyed it. Have you ever read Lynn Austin? Her series on the Kings is so good (Chronicles of the Kings) and The Restoration Chronicles series was so good too. Keep the recommendations coming friend xoxo.

  2. We’re planning an extended road trip this summer, so I will be adding several of these titles to my Kindle. Thank you for the recommendations, particularly the ones that dive a little deeper into Scripture and God’s promises, provision, and sovereignty. I like your idea of having several reading times each day. I tend to read mostly before bed, and it’s hard to read non-fiction then because my mind starts running with all that I’m learning. I think I will choose a book from your list to read in bits through the day. My recommendation is a fiction choice: The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese. Easily in my top 5 fiction list. I read the hardcover but also listened to the audio version read by the author. The book is set in India, and I enjoyed listening to him pronounce all the words I didn’t know!

    1. Marci Ferrell says:

      Stefanie – checking out The Covenant of Water – I’m always looking for good fiction recommendations – thank you! I do love audiobooks, they make my chores to faster and I do so get the prononunciation of those challenging words. The Wingfeather series is one I listened to on audiobook and so appreciated hearing them pronounce all those names. Enjoy your road trip and I love that your taking advantage of all that car time to read. Sometimes if I get an easier out loud read and we’re traveling, I’ll read aloud to my hubby. He loves it – makes me a bit tired but we take it a chapter at a time.

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