I owe my dear friend, Lisa (you know who you are!), an apology. I promised her I would get this to her AGES ago. I got started on it, but never got it to her. I hope she’s reading the blog and sees this. She asked me for a list of good books to read. Books that weren’t just entertaining or clean, but books that would be good for her soul to read. A lot of people ask me for recommendations, actually, so I wanted to put some on paper.
A few disclaimers of sorts: These are not in any particular order. This list is generated with adults in mind, though many of these books I read early in life (high school and/or sooner). There are a million great books out there, but these are ones that made a more lasting impact, books whose stories stayed with me in a way that inspired and impacted my faith and/or my thinking. Some are fiction, some are collections of short stories, some are non-fiction, autobiographies, etc. Some are recent and by well-known authors (those are generally easy to read), some are old by authors long forgotten—those are often more difficult to read, but rich in content. Some impacted me because of their faithful lives/examples (i.e. George Mueller, and Alcott’s Old Fashioned Girl), some because of the encouragement of what God did (i.e. Sam Childers, Jim Cymbala), some because the authors were refreshingly honest (i.e. Donald Miller), some because they challenged my thinking (i.e. CS Lewis,) and some did those various things but did so in creative and beautiful ways (i.e. Calvin Miller’s Singer trilogy and Divine Symphony).
I am tempted to comment on every one and tell you why I loved it, but you can find information about them on Amazon readily enough. If it’s on this list, it’s one of my favorites, but I’ve also highlighted in bold the best of the best for you. If you have questions about any of the books, feel free to ask…I’m happy to discuss further.
Another Man’s War, Sam Childers
Pretty much anything by CS Lewis but in particular: The Great Divorce, Mere Christianity, and The Screwtape Letters. (My favorite is Till We Have Faces, but it’s not as instructive to the Christian life as the others.)
A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken
Francine Rivers: Redeeming Love, and the Mark of the Lion trilogy (A Voice in the Wind, An Echo in the Darkness, As Sure as the Dawn)
Hinds Feet on High Places, Hannah Hurnard
The Path of Loneliness, Elisabeth Elliot (anything by her is fantastic, but this is my favorite)
Wild at Heart and Captivating by John Eldredge
Calvin Miller: (A little-known author, but one of my favorites. He reminds me of CS Lewis in his scope and depth.) Life is Mostly Edges: A Memoir, The Singer trilogy (The Singer, The Song, The Finale), The Philippian Fragment, Walking with the Angels: the Valiant Papers, The Divine Symphony: A Requiem for Love, A Symphony in Sand
Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller
Kim Meeder: A Bridge Called Hope, and Hope Rising
Catherine Marshall: A Man Called Peter, To Live Again, Christy
Harold Bell Wright—anything of his, but my favorites are: When a Man’s a Man, The Eyes of the World, The Calling of Dan Matthews (reprinted as A Higher Call), Their Yesterdays, (Secondary favorites are Shepherd of the Hills, Helen of the Old House, and that Printer of Udell’s). His works are, I believe, free on Kindle now because they are “public domain”. He was reportedly “the first American writer to sell a million copies of a novel and the first to make $1 million from writing fiction”. His books are great action, adventure, westerns, mysteries…but deceptively full of truth and meaning and wisdom. It might take you a little while to get into the story (they are old books, after all), but once you do, you’ll fall in love.
Revolution in World Missions, K.P. Yohannan (see Gospel for Asia website for a free copy)
George Mueller’s autobiography (or anything about his life)
Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, Jim Cymbala
The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson
Kisses from Katie, Katie Davis
Jesus Calling, Sarah Young
Lies Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets them Free, Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-Day Slave, An International Art Dealer and the Unlikely Woman who Bound them Together, Ron Hall and Denver Moore
An Old Fashioned Girl, by Louisa May Alcott (Oh, and also A Long Fatal Love Chase, Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom)
7: An Experimental Mutiny against Excess, Jen Hatmaker
Stepping Heavenward, Elizabeth Prentiss
George MacDonald—He wrote fantasy, history, poetry and fiction—prolifically. CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien (and countless others) considered him their master, though they never met him. The only book I’ve read of his so far that I didn’t love was Lilith (which was fantasy). I did, however, enjoy At the Back of the North Wind and The Princess and Curdie, both fantasy as well. But my favorites so far have been his works of fiction. I’m ashamed to say I cannot give many titles however, off hand. Many have been reprinted and edited for modern readers and the names have changed so that I can’t keep track. (I do know I read the Curate of Glaston.) I believe you should be able to find his works free on Kindle (they’re now public domain). They are slower reading and many times he writes with a Scottish brogue—a little challenging at first, but then it’s really fun, you can hear the accents as you read. If you’re not much of a reader though, you might not want to start this list with George. If you are a reader… read about him on Wikipedia and see how many famous authors were influenced by his writings and see if you aren’t a little curious! If you’re looking for something deep but a little easier to read, try Harold Bell Wright first. He is AMAZING.
One more that I have been told (by several reliable sources) belongs on this list…(I haven’t read it yet, but it’s in the queue…) The Rest of the Gospel: When the Partial Gospel has Worn you Out, Dan Stone.
P.S…. I love you, Lisa! Movie list to follow!