I’ve seen several lists floating around Facebook about my favorite topic—books. People have been listing their favorite books, books that have changed their lives, and books that have challenged their ways of thinking. Now, everyone knows I love reading. I almost always have my nose in a book. I have a personal challenge to read 214 books this year. (We won’t talk about how that’s going.) So I decided to compile my own list of books—a hodgepodge of some of my favorites and books that have changed my life.
It took me a long time to write this list. It only has 10 books, but it was a struggle to narrow it down. I kept adding and removing books from the list. I apologize in advance for this post being so long!
(After #1, this list isn’t in any particular order.)
1. The Bible. As a believer and follower of Christ, this is the most important book in my life. I learn something new every time I open it. As a fan of literature, I can appreciate the stories and parables. But as a Christian, I see the Bible as more than a simple story. The entire canon of Scripture is about God and His plan. It’s about His character, mercy, love, and grace. It’s about His plan of salvation and redemption, His Son and sacrifice. It’s about His deep, relentless love for His people—people who have done absolutely nothing to deserve that type of love and grace. I don’t read the Bible to learn how to make my life better. I read the Bible to learn about God.
2. I’ll Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. This will always be one of my favorites. My mom use to read it to me and sing the lines of I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. Even though we don’t plan on having kids for a few more years, I already have a new copy of this book on the shelf.
3. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. This series was the first to challenge my imagination. I remember reading the first book when I was in the fifth grade. J.K. Rowling made me love reading. This was the first series to make me feel like reading was an escape from real life.
4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Jane Austen will always be my favorite author. I’ve read each of her books several times. I own several copies of her books (including that huge compilation book you see in the picture). P&P, however, was the first book I ever read by Austen. It made me fall in love with classic literature. I especially love this article by USA Today.
5. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. Sandberg encourages women to “lean in,” participate, and take on roles in leadership. My favorite quote from the book was this: “Women need to shift from thinking ‘I’m not ready to do that!’ to thinking, ‘I want to do that—and I’ll learn by doing it.'” While I don’t agree with everything Sandberg writes, I found this book to be incredibly helpful and informative for my own career path.
6. Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin. I admire Jen so much. I was fortunate to work as the copy editor of her LifeWay Bible study—Sermon on the Mount. (Yes, that is a link to the Bible study. Forgive me for the shameless plug.) Jen is a gifted Bible teacher, and she teaches women how to study the Bible in Women of the Word. I read this book through the course of my study on the Book of Hosea. It helped shape the way I studied Scripture, and I am extremely grateful to Jen for writing it.
7. Adopted for Life by Russell Moore. God put adoption in my heart and mind when I was 18. I don’t know if Stephen and I will ever adopt, but we will definitely always try to support families who do. This book helped shape my understanding of adoption. It showed me that adoption is a picture of what God did for us—He took us in and adopted us as His children.
8. Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot. Ironic that this book is listed along with Lean In, huh? How can two extremely different books resonate deeply in the heart of one woman? I admire Sheryl Sandberg for writing Lean In. I admire her for her intelligence, success in a male-dominated workplace, and courage. However, I also admire Elisabeth Elliot. I admire her for her writings on marriage and raising children. I’m not saying I agree with everything (just like I don’t agree with everything in Lean In!), but Elliot’s book did teach me more about biblical womanhood and my role as a wife and future mother.
9. When Sinners Say “I Do” by Dave Harvey. My former youth pastor gave Stephen and me a copy of this book when we began premarital counseling, and it has remained on my list of favorite marriage books. This book focuses on the reality of sin and the beauty of grace. Marriage is about two sinners coming together. It reminded me that I’m a sinner … and I married a sinner. We both need to show grace to each other. As Harvey writes, “When sin becomes bitter, marriage becomes sweet.” When we recognize and repent of our own sin, our marriage drastically improves and becomes God-glorifying.
10. Gospel by J.D. Greear. This book taught me the need to preach the gospel to myself daily. It taught me that the gospel is just as relevant in my life now as it was the first day I heard it. I should be saturated in the gospel of Christ.
So there you have it—my ten favorite books. Give me a year or so and this list will surely change. So tell me, what are your favorite books? (I need suggestions to get me closer to my goal of 214!)