Instead of pulling together a predictable "best of 2010" books list, we at Her.meneutics thought our readers would enjoy a list of our favorite books written by women that we read throughout the year. Enjoy our recommendations, and add your own in the comments section.

Embracing Your Second Calling, by Dale Hanson Bourke (2010)
This book doesn't cover every facet of mid-life, but does a terrific job exploring the emotional and spiritual transformation that must happen in our souls at midlife. This meaty book doesn't rely on shopworn Christian cliches; in fact, Bourke's transparency about her own ambitions, losses, bitterness, and stumbling steps into her own third act are a refreshing companion on the journey to surrendering to God's purposes for the rest of our lives.—Michelle Van Loon

The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time
, by Judith Shulevitz (2010)
Sabbath, says Shulevitz, "is not only an idea. It is also something you keep. With other people." After spending my first 30 years keeping Sabbath with Seventh-day Adventists, I read quite a few Protestant books on Sabbath-keeping by people who liked the idea but had little experience of the practice. In Shulevitz, a semi-observant Jew, I finally found a contemporary author who gets it. Her survey, written as a memoir but packed with fascinating information, covers Christian as well as Jewish approaches to Sabbath-keeping.—LaVonne Neff

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, by Isabel Wilkerson (2010)
To tell the story of a generation of African Americans who migrated from the Jim Crow South to northern cities in search of a better life, Wilkerson follows the lives of three people who made the trek. You'll be immersed in their stories even as you gain a rich new perspective on the courageous, difficult, and often-misunderstood journey they made. —Hannah Faith Notess

The Spirit of Food: 34 Writers on Feasting and Fasting Toward God, by Leslie Leyland Fields, ed. (2010)
I don't generally include an edited book among my favorites; this one is an exception, and I've been feasting and savoring it bit by bit for six months. Essays (most written by women) move between personal stories from their kitchens and thoughtful reflections, drawing me into deeper thinking about faith and food. We are invited to remember God's bounty, our dependence on those mostly invisible laborers and processes that provide us with food, and to think about eating in ways that reflect good stewardship of all creation, including humans, animals, soil, plants, water, and air. Fields reminds us that an act so ordinary as eating is also deeply spiritual, and that eating well involves more than balancing nutrients and food groups. Essays end with a favorite recipe from each author; I highly recommend trying the perfect loaf of bread from the Sullivan Street Bakery.—Lisa Graham McMinn

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Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
, by Azar Nafisi (2003)
This book recalls a clandestine book club in which the author and several other women read and discussed classic works of Western literature that had been forbidden by the Islamic revolutionaries during the Iranian Revolution. Nafisi's story is a compelling testament to the power of literature and to the way in which the freedom to read is inextricably tied to political and religious freedom.—Karen Swallow Prior

Every Last One, by Anna Quindlen (2010)
This novel, about a suburban mother of three dealing with family tragedy, breaks some of my normal rules for favorite books. I often avoid novels about mourning parents and threatened children, because I find it too easy to imagine my family in a similar situation. But my ability to identify with this novel's protagonist, Mary Beth Latham, is precisely why I loved this book. Quindlen's descriptions of Mary Beth's state of mind in the months just before tragedy strikes, as she ponders a settled and loving, if not terribly passionate, marriage, along with the joys, heartache, and daily annoyances of being a mother, made me feel that the author had seen right into my own thoughts. Ultimately, Mary Beth must cope with sadness and regret of terrible scope. While she comes apart in all the ways I imagine I would come apart under similar circumstances, the novel is ultimately hopeful, as Mary Beth calls on her deepest reserves of love to continue living after heartbreaking loss.—Ellen Painter Dollar

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (2008)
I read the first book in Suzanne Collins's trilogy this year, and was shocked by the amount of violence in this book written about and marketed to young adults. The content of the book seems worthy of controversy, but the way Collins handles themes of murder, government oppression, rebellion and desperation—interweaving them with concerns of morality and finding a way to balance love with survival—make this book a worthwhile read. Narrated by a teenage girl named Katniss, the book does a fine job prompting questions about the meaning of character and how to sort out priorities. The series merits thoughtful discussion between younger readers and older ones, both of whom will likely find it entertaining and compelling.—Alicia Cohn

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, by Laura Hillenbrand (2010)
The author of Seabiscuit delivers a page-turning story of heroism, suffering, and redemption in the life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic contender who gets lost at sea during World War II.—Sarah Pulliam Bailey

My Ántonia, by Willa Cather (1918)
A Midwestern girl, I read My Ántonia as much for the beautiful language and descriptions of my native landscape as for the story of Ántonia Shimerda, a Nebraska woman. Ántonia's generosity, independence, and resilience inspire me, and I escape into the book every year or two. The novel is presented as Jim Burden's memoir. Jim's recollections of life on the prairie and his friendship with Ántonia are emotionally gripping. Here's one passage that makes me think of twilight in rural Illinois when, driving past farmland and dilapidated barns, I can almost feel the presence of the sedulous pioneers who once worked the land: "As we walked homeward across the fields, the sun dropped and lay like a great golden globe in the low west. While it hung there, the moon rose in the east, as big as a cart-wheel, pale silver and streaked with rose colour, thin as a bubble or a ghost-moon …. In that singular light every little tree and shock of wheat, every sunflower stalk and clump of snow-on-the-mountain, drew itself up high and pointed; the very clods and furrows in the fields seemed to stand up sharply. I felt the old pull of the earth, the solemn magic that comes out of those fields at nightfall."—Jennifer Grant

Lit: A Memoir, by Mary Karr (2010)
After watching Mary Karr crack up a gymnasium full of book lovers at this year's Festival of Faith of Writing, I knew I wanted to read Lit, Karr's third memoir, about her improbable conversion to Catholicism in the wake of divorce and an alcohol addiction. With a writing style one part straight-shooting Texan, one part luminous poet, Karr recounts her topsy-turvy journey to Jesus with a fierce humor that shook me yet kept me enthralled. If you're looking for a spiritual memoir that leaves the harsh edges unrefined, jutting out like an elbow to the gut, I highly recommend this book.—Katelyn Beaty