I’ve been a nerd for books my entire life. Want proof? When she scanned the above photo, my mom labeled it, “Mary fell asleep reading…again.”
[In case you’re wondering, yes, I do have an entire file of dorky photos from my youth. It’s labeled “Childhood” and contains such photographic treasures as a picture of me with spelling bee trophies, a snapshot of me when I got a dictionary for my birthday (and loved it) and more. I’m not even kidding about being a nerd.]
One of the great things about being an adult is that it’s no longer embarrassing to be a nerd for books. (And, based on the number of “cool” people wearing those chunky glasses, dork is the new cool.) That’s why I love that (in)courage has created a home for those of us who love reading! Today, I’m excited to tell you about a few of my favorite books.
It was actually hard to pick just a handful of books to call my favorites here. Not because I’ve read so many books, although that certainly was a factor. But because I gravitate toward series of books, and I wasn’t sure if an entire series fit the criteria for a “favorite book.”
Then I decided that this nerd would, for once, just go ahead and break the rules. Of the online book club. Yep, I’m a rebel. So, without further ado, here are a few of my favorite books/series.
The Baxter Series by Karen Kingsbury: I had no idea what an emotional journey I was beginning when I picked up Redemption, the first of several series based on a family (the Baxters) in Indiana. Each of the books was illuminating on at least one family situation or topic, drawing me in and making me care so deeply about these characters. I’m pretty sure I haven’t made it through a single one without crying at least once, and a couple of the books reduced me to the ugly cry on the couch. But even though I finish each book emotionally drained (not my usual goal when reading a novel!), they are so worth it.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett: I’m sure you’ve heard of this one. Book clubs across the nation and internet have read and raved about this novel set in Mississippi in the 1960s. The central theme is civil rights, but the story is told through the unique voices of women both black and white whose lives are intertwined. The book is long – but not long enough. I didn’t want it to end! Whether or not it stands the test of time and stays on my list of faves remains to be seen. But since I read it last year, I haven’t read another novel nearly as moving or captivating.
Maggie Needs An Alibi by Kasey Michaels: Here’s where I admit that my reading tastes are what you might call varied. While I enjoy inspirational fiction and the thick books that make it to a certain talk show host’s book club, I also love indulging in what I call fluff. This book (and, actually, it’s a short series as well) falls firmly in that category – and I love it. This paperback novel features a writer whose main character – a Regency era detective and gentleman – somehow comes to life and moves into her apartment. It’s kind of a romance, kind of a mystery, and a whole lot of fun.
If you like that sort of thing. Which I do.
The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns: I did not want to read this book. It terrified me. I agreed to read and review it, but after hearing so many people rave about how it changed their lives, I put it on my bedside table and let it collect dust for nearly a year. When I finally found the courage to read it, I was deeply affected. I don’t think you can read Stearns’ incredible story or the heartbreaking statistics about world hunger and not be moved. It’s not a quick – or easy – read, but The Hole in Our Gospel is probably the most important book I’ve read outside the Bible.
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum: My favorite genre is the mystery. And if it’s a mystery involving spies? Well, then, that’s even better. I read the Bourne series before the movies came out, and I loved them. (Okay, that’s not true. I didn’t love Bourne Ultimatum, which is why I’m listing the first book here instead of the whole series!) Exciting, complex – both in logistics of the story and the characters’ personalities – and never predictable, Bourne Identity is my favorite spy thriller by far.
Deadline by Randy Alcorn: I read this novel in high school as an idealistic teenager planning an exciting, meaningful career in journalism. It makes sense that a book about a journalist would have caught my attention, but now that nearly 20 years have passed and my life (and career) have taken turns I didn’t expect, it’s even more interesting to think about this book. Amazon even describes it as offering hope “for every reader who longs to feel purpose in life” – something I struggle with today. Now that I think about it, I’m going to find a copy and read this one again!
Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist: Both of these books were filled with essays that I treasured and savored, even as I wondered how the author had gotten inside my head. Together, these books and I walked through some emotions I had stuffed deep inside. And then they taught me to be a better writer.
What are YOUR favorite books? What type of books do YOU enjoy reading most?
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By Mary @ Giving Up on PerfectLeave a Comment
I Live in an Antbed says
Oh my, how much space to I have here? (snicker, snicker)
I love C. S. Lewis: The Space Trilogy, Screwtape Letters, Till We Have Faces, etc.
Just finished “The Knowledge of the Holy” by A. W. Tozer–my brain exploded–it’s amazing.
The two volume biography of Hudson Taylor, written by his grandson: The Growth of a Soul, and the Growth of a Work of God–next to the Bible, probably the book that caused me to hunger for personal holiness more than any other.
As homeschoolers, we love great historical fiction–Rosemary Sutcliff, Eloise Jarvis McGraw, R. M. Ballantyne, G. A. Henty are some of our favorite authors.
Of course, Tolkien’s Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Simarillion
George MacDonald’s “The Light Princess” is wonderful.
There is a challenge I saw on a blog I read called 52 in 52, where we try to read 52 books in 52 weeks and then write little reviews. I just did number 17 on George MacDonald’s “Lilith.” Wow!
Okay, I’ll stop now.
Holley Gerth says
I love that you’re a book nerd. I spent much of my childhood perched in a backyard tree, book in hand. If I’d known you then, I would have invited you over and offered you a branch!
In my family, we are all book nerds except for my husband. We are trying to convert him. A recent read I’ve enjoyed is Still Alice. It’s about a Harvard professor who discovers she has early onset alzheimer’s.
Gretchen Wright says
Hi from a fellow book nerd!! I loved Randy Alcorn’s Deadline too and read it in high school as well. What a book!! This was a super post and I’m taking note of your favs that I’ve not yet read. I’m especially intrigued by the essay collection. I just finished Anne Fadiman’s collections of essays recently and have been looking for more. Thanks for your post!!
Usually my favorite books are the ones I am currently devouring. I have been reading everything available in our church library by Francine Rivers. She creates characters that make me want to shake them and wake them up, but they are so like people I meet every day. “Her Mother’s Hope” and “Her Daughter’s Dream” were two that left a definite impression on me. It is hard for me to allow myself to just sit and read during the day. I usually read at night before going to sleep.
I also liked what I think is called And the Shofar Blew by Francine Rivers about how power of self can overtake what God calls us to do. I, too, read before bed.
I would have to say that my favorite book is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. But I love to read all kinds of books, especially good Christian mysteries or books by Ted Dekker, etc.
Thanks for sharing your favs! I’m going to look up those Karen Kinsbury books & the “fluff” book looks like fun as well!
Angela Alderman says
One of the best books I have ever read was Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. She is an amazing author.
I am with you Mary! When I packed to move I had an embarrassing number of boxes filled with books (even when I sorted through them to give away the ones I could bear to part with). I love mysteries. I’m so glad you do too. Have you read the Alexander McCall Smith series? Wonderful!!
Thanks for sharing your favorites. I’ll add them to my list. 🙂
Oh I am so with you on reading – so many wonderful books. I like all Lynn Austin’s books and Bodie Thoene.
Some very different books are: Talking to the Dead by Bonnie Grove (don’t be deterred by the title, this book is an interesting look into a the soul of woman who has lost her husband); One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (I am leading a women’s Bible study based on this book); Vengeance by Donna Dawson; If Only You Knew by Mags Storey.
Too many more to tell you about. Have lots of fun reading … that’s what’s important. Blessings,
Amanda D says
I loved The Help as well. My favorite book is a YA Fiction by Michelle Magorian. It’s called Good Night, Mr. Tom and if you read it you need tissues. I love, love, love to read and am always on the lookout for new suggestions so thanks for sharing some of your favorites!
The Baxter Series was the first books I ever read by Karen Kingsbury – she is such a talented woman!
I put ‘Deadline’ on my wish list…….I am still floundering around for a concrete “purpose” in my life/career.
The picture you posted could have been me because my hair looked like that when I was little and I loved books. I actually used to get in trouble for reading too much. 🙂
Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy says
Thanks for the new ideas! I am a huge reader but most of these are new to me. I loved Money, Possessions and Eternity by Randy Alcorn, but had no idea he’d written novels. Definitely going to check that one out!
Great recommendations! I agree with what you said about The Help. I read it last year, too and haven’t read a novel as compelling since then. One day I’m going to bite the bullet and read The Hole In Our Gospel.
I love books too! Thanks for sharing these titles. I am always adding to my To Be Read list!
Kathy C. @ In Quiet Places says
My 3 favorite Christian nonfiction books are Waking the Dead by John Eldredge, I love his passion in his writing, and Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson, and Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado, these last two really speak to the purpose God has for our lives and the dreams He gives us that are tied to our God given destiny.
I have always been a huge fan of Janette Oke, her Love Comes Softly Series is far better than the movies, which are good, but not as good as the characters written as Janette Oke writes them.