Woke up this morning to a twitter comment from @timberebersole wanting to know my ‘must-read’ list. I started to message her back and then realized I only had 140 characters… and that it was me…talking about books… So instead of sending her 20 or so messages on twitter, I just figured I’d post some a list of some of the books that have impacted my life.
Just as with my new bookshelf, I will be organizing this first by genre and then by the good ole alphabet 🙂
1.) The Barbarian Way by Erwin McManus:
I read this little book cover to cover while on elliptical machine at a gym in Seattle. I must’ve looked silly wiping tears and reading while exercising, but I couldn’t stop. McManus will light a fire in your heart to live without compromise.
2.) Changes that Heal by Henry Cloud:
In college I read this book from cover to cover and then gave copies to everyone I knew and just now I realized I must’ve lent my last copy (if I lent it to you, send it back *grin*). This is an amazing book for every young person and young adult about what it takes to become a grown up and for every adult who needs a little tune up 🙂
3.) Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Williard:
This is the single best book about Christianity (in my opinion). Comprehensive and deep, it will take you awhile to consume. I have read it only twice clear through since Aunt Deb gave it to me years ago… if that gives you an idea about the depth.
4.) Every Woman’s Battle by Shannon Ethridge:
I read this book some years ago and I think its a must-read for every Christian woman. I was convicted, encouraged and spurred on to do right. Ethridge fearlessly covers topics others might shy away from.
5.) Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer:
One of my favorite books of all time. This tiny composition will make you think bigger thoughts about God than you can imagine. Check out the “Sunday Sessions” tag to read more on this one
6.) Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis:
This is another all time favorite. Lewis makes an air tight case for Christianity. Even if you’re already know Jesus, it is an insightful read and will give you good food for thought.
7.) Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterson:
If you’ve not taken the time to dig into this book, do yourself a favor and get on with it.
8.) The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer:
Tozer is one of my favorites- one whole shelf at my house is dedicated to his writings. This one in particular has helped me to consider what it means to follow hard after God.
9.) The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges:
I discovered Bridges and this thin little book in college, but have been through several copies since then! Don’t read this book if you don’t want to be convicted- Bridges covers topics like submission, obedience and the command to be holy.
10.) The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning:
This book was another one that gutted me. Manning has a connection with God that you can hear in his words…
Memoirs: [My absolute favorite genre!]
1.) Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller:
Probably a lot of you have read this one, but I remember reading it years ago and being so refreshed by Miller’s candor and honesty.
2.) Divine Nobodies by Jim Palmer:
My Mom gave me this book and laughed and cried along with the writer as he shares about having been a pastor, falling from grace and rediscovering God in powerful and unexpected ways.
3.) Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby:
My dear friend Abigail gave me a copy of this book when Cohen was born. I read the tale of this overcomer (who lost all but his left eye to a stroke) and it gave me courage and inspired me to really live.
4.) Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller:
This is a woman’s reflections on her childhood in Africa. Her stories completely captivated me!
5.) The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom:
Mom made me read this book when I was in middle school and I have read it many more times without coercion. Corrie ten Boom’s story about living through WWII and surviving a concentration camp will bring courage to your heart.
6.) Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi:
The writer uses a comic book style to tell about her life growing up in Iran. Some of the material is definitely adult but I had to mention it as the style is so unique. It won’t be like any other book you’ve encountered.
7.) Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore:
The tale of two very unlikely friends from two totally different cultures, the telling of this story from both perspectives will not leave you unchanged.
8.) Telling Secrets by Fredrick Buechner:
My friend Elizabeth introduced me to this book and I devoured it in less than a week and have read and reread it now several times. Beuchner tells about his life so unflinchingly that you cannot help but be moved.
9.) Thin Places by Mary E. DeMuth:
I first heard about this memoir on Annie’s blog and she raved about it so much that I went and purchased it that very evening. It arrived a day or so later and I read it in less than 24 hours. DeMuth is honest as she explores the (sometimes) unusual places she has met God.
10.) Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott:
I cannot stress enough that this is an adult book about adult issues and that some of the language (at times) is offensive. Still, for those of us who want to read a beautiful story about an unlikely candidate coming to faith, I cannot recommend it more highly.
1.) Crime and Punishment by Theodore Dostoyevsky:
Growing up, I heard people tease about this super long book. As an adult, I decided to tackle it and ending up falling in love with Dostoyevsky’s writing. It is a difficult read but worth it.
3.) Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard:
My sister read this book years ago and I finally got around to reading it myself earlier this year. It gutted me… in the best of ways. Its an allegory about what it means to overcome. I dare you to read it and try not to highlight nearly every word.
4.) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini:
I read this book straight through- for just over 16 hours because I could not put it down! It is one of the best stories of redemption I have ever read. Set right in the middle of tumultuous Afghani desert, you might just learn some history too.
5.) The Red Tent by Anita Diamant:
This is a Biblical fiction novel based on the lives of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah as told by Leah’s daughter Tamar… fascinating.
6.) The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis:
This classic of Lewis’ is short but insightful read for every believer. Screwtape, a demon, writes back and forth with his protege Wormwood about how to deal with humans. Its an interesting read on the surface, but will make you think more deeply about your life too.
7.) The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd:
Definitely not one to hang your theology on, but a great read that will draw you in… you will love the character development.
8.) The Shack by William P. Young:
Admittedly a hard read for parents, this story about what God is like in tragedy is gripping and beautiful in the rawest sense.
9.) The Singer Triology by Calvin Miller:
This is an allegory told in poetic rhythm… its the story of the New Testament told like you’ve never read it before!
10.) A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini:
A lot of authors have an amazing first novel and then the ‘amazingness’ starts to taper off which each subsequent work. Not so with Hosseini! This story of the unlikely friendship between two wives (married to the same abusive man) in Afghanistan is just as stunning as Hosseini’s first novel (that also made this list 🙂 )