Recommended books for you

boy reading by stack of books

Ready for a little winter reading? Here are some of the favorites from my 2021 reading list to get your mind rolling.

Note that these are just recommendations, not reviews.

SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT

Jesus Continued…: Why the Spirit Inside You Is Better than Jesus Beside You by J.D. Greear. This book gave a clear, biblical perspective on the Holy Spirit. It was the best book on the Holy Spirit that I have read so far.

Holy Is the Day: Living in the Gift of the Present by Carolyn Weber. I read this in bite-sized pieces, probably how it is supposed to be read. Sometimes it was hard to find a coherent thread that wove the stories together. Yet, Weber has a way of reverberating understandable messages around inside of me. Messages that make me stop just to breathe in the “now” of life.

Redeeming Money: How God Reveals and Reorients Our Hearts by Paul David Tripp is a fantastic book about money that requires a thorough heart examination. Tripp isn’t afraid to ask hard questions and coax hidden motives into the light. Money can become our god no matter how disciplined or undisciplined we are with it.

Rethinking Sexuality: God’s Design and Why It Matters by Dr. Juli Slattery. This book is a wake-up call to the church. Because the church is so silent on this topic, we are letting ourselves be sexually discipled by our culture rather than by the Word of God. This book gives a picture of God’s redemption of our broken sexuality and encourages the reader to walk in sexual integrity.

MEMOIR / NON-FICTION

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson. A story of a migration that changed our country forever in ways we haven’t stopped to notice. This book is hard to read, not because of the writing style–it’s well-written–but because it reveals the ugly side of our hearts. Don’t let the size of this thing intimidate you; however, you might want to clear other books off of your currently reading list first. I’m looking forward to reading her book Caste in 2022.

Things As They Are: Mission Work in Southern India by Amy Carmichael. Don’t read this book if you would rather cling to your glamorized view of overseas work. Don’t read it if you don’t want to be moved by the work that still needs to be done. Don’t read it if you want a tidy success story. Why? Because this book strips away any pretense and shows “things as they were” while still testifying to God’s worthiness. There is a free kindle version, but note that it doesn’t include the photos Carmichael often references.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain is a close look at introversion. This book is not written from a biblical perspective, so there were some bones I chose to pick out and throw away, but it was a thorough and fascinating read… especially for an introvert.

Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit by Barry Estabrook is an engaging story of the tomato. The book takes you on a journey through South American mountains, slave labor camps, and lush Pennsylvania tomato fields. But it’s thought-provoking rather than an adventure story.

The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman. This WWII story set in occupied Poland gives an unusual perspective of animals, humanity, survival, and hope.

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter. This was another atypical WWII angle of Nazism, art, and unsung heroes. Note: It’s long, but so is winter. 🙂

FICTION

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. The story of a boy on the outside of a Jewish prison camp… until he wasn’t. This book will make your heart ache at the juxtaposition of innocence and injustice.

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell is children’s classic about a girl who spends years alone on an island after her people are taken away. I somehow missed this classic growing up, but it is still worth the read as an adult.

Vinegar Girl: William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew Retold by Anne Tyler. A charming, fluffy romance if you like that kind. Note: there is some language present.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. What can I say about this old favorite? Just that it was even more charming than the last time I read it. For the first time, I noted that the story really is more about Marilla than about Anne. Think about it. And for the first time ever, I read through the entire series. Still, book one is undoubtedly my favorite.

That’s all for now. Let me know some of your good reads!

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