What Are You Reading, and Why?

photo courtesy of Peter Mazurek at www.sxc.hu

Someone’s always asking on facebook, “What are you reading right now?” So in today’s blog, I’m answering that question and giving you an opportunity to do the same.

Why? No one’s paying me to promote their books. I’m not trying to get you to read certain author’s books. I just love to read, I enjoy learning, and I believe that books, through the power of God’s Spirit, do have power to inspire, change and encourage lives. Through the years, books have not only encouraged me; they’ve helped to mentor me and keep me grounded in my faith and Christian walk.  And as a writer, the things I read always enrich my writing.

Why Read?

Sometimes I read for inspiration; sometimes for pleasure. Other books I read for instruction, to broaden my world, to increase my skills, or to strengthen my spiritual life. Why do you read?

I’d like to share with you some of the 100 + books I’ve read in the last year or so. At least that’s how many I remembered to write down. These are not in any order of importance, urgency, favorites, or recommendation. Some are older, some newer books. Some may interest you; others won’t.

There is no book like the Book–God’s Word. That’s a given. But accept today’s post in the spirit in which I write it: to offer you some sources that might encourage you in whatever area you need. And at the end of this blog, be ready to offer your own suggestions about what you’re reading so we can learn from each other.


1. Books by Bodie and Brock Thoene

I first fell in love with the Thoene’s books years ago as they wrote historical fiction involving World II and Jewish history. I’ve read almost all of their books and recently completed their 12-book series: the A.D. Chronicles. Again, these involve Jewish history, but also rich, biblical fiction involving Jesus’ life and the ones He touched. I just read The Gathering Storm, a fascinating story of a woman’s journey and survival during the Holocaust. The Thoene’s books never cease to amaze and inspire me, and always draw me closer to God.

2. Books by Dee Henderson

I discovered Dee’s romantic suspense novels last year, and loved every one I read–all 11 of them. Just a few to mention: True Valor, True Honor, The Rescuer, The Witness, The Negotiator, Before I Wake. Page turners with solid Christian message.

3. Books by Karen Kingsbury

I’ve read most of Karen’s books–about 20+ last year. Great relationship, inspirational fiction with flawed characters who find God’s answers, even in the most difficult places. You’ll get attached to her characters and their families as she draws you into their world. Too many books to list. Her books will take you to 9-1-1, to Hollywood, or to a typical family’s living room. You’ll find her character’s problems may hit close to your own home, but you’ll always leave with fresh hope for your journey.

4. Books by Joel C. Rosenberg

I found Joel’s political thrillers last year. Literal page turners that left me coming back for more. I’ve never read anyone’s fiction that took me into the future with such reality. Some even questioned Joel about  his inside source–because some of the world and Mid-East events that actually happen after the realease of each book seem too close to what he actually wrote about. Once I started his books, I couldn’t put them down. A few to name: The Last Days, the Ezekiel Option, The Copper Scroll, Dead Heat, The 12th Imam.

5. Books by Teri Blackstock

Great writer. Great Christian fiction. Three I read this past year: Cape Refuge, Southern Storm, and Intervention.

6. Books by James Scott Bell

I read some of his books for the first time this past year. A best-selling writer of historical suspense and  contemporary thrillers with heady issues, he’ll definitely keep you turning pages. A few I read: Deadlocked, Deceived, and The Whole Truth.

7.  Books by Ray Blackston

I found a couple of Ray’s books by accident, but really enjoyed the humorous, quirky characters in two of his first books: Flabbergasted and A Delirious Summer. Singles will especially enjoy some of his books.


1. Choosing to See, by Mary Beth Chapman.

I had to grab a tissue to complete this one, as Mary Beth, wife of Steven Curtis Chapman, told of their family’s journey through the death of their precious, adopted, Chinese daughter. Mary Beth is down-to-earth and funny, but you will definitely walk with her through this painful experience. But you’ll also see God’s faithfulness and goodness at work and sense hope and purpose throughout her book.

2. Rachel’s Tears, Rachel Smiles, and Journals of Rachel Scott  by Beth Nimmo and Darrell Scott)

You don’t have to read these books to see the profound impact of Columbine martyr and teenager Rachel Scott. Her death is literally changing lives–and schools– as her written principles of living with compassion and forgiveness are being implemented in schools around the country. These books will not only inspire you; they will move you to action.

3. Facing Terror by Carrie McDonnell

The story of a young missionary wife’s survival from the hands of mideastern terrorists brought both tears and gratitude to my heart.

4. Torn Veil by Gulshan Esther

An older book still selling copies is the amazing story of a young Muslim woman who left everything to follow Jesus. After I read this book, my thoughts were, “God forgive me if I ever complain about anything again.”

5. Tozer on the Almighty God, compiled by Ron Eggert

I’ve enjoyed this book of A. W. Tozer‘s compiled writings so much that I’m reading it for the third time this year–only this time, my husband is reading one chapter a day with me at breakfast. I love all of Tozer’s writings, but these meditations on the character of God keep helping me see God greater each time I read them. Powerful devotional thoughts that lead me straight to God’s presence!

Okay, there are so many more books I want to “share” with you. So let’s make this a two or three part blog. If I can, (in between reading–and writing) I’ll blog earlier than next week. :-)More fiction, more non-fiction, including some “issue” books that might be helpful to you.

It’s Your Turn: What Are You Reading?

Now, it’s your turn. What have you been reading…and why do you read? Would you share with us in the comments below?

Don’t Forget About the Book Giveaway/Contest

And don’t forget about the book giveaway/contest and Scripture paraphrase I told you about in last week’s blog. You have one more week to enter before I choose the winner!

Share your comments! Your words might encourage someone today! You will not be hounded, prodded, or automatically added to my mailing list if you do so. Feel free to email this blog to someone or to re-post on social media, using the buttons below. If you’re reading this via newsletter you can always “share” my blogs from the large buttons at the end of each blog on my website here: If you want to re-post any of my blogs on your own blog or website, please contact me for permission first. And if you’d like to, you can sign up for my blog/newsletter and updates at the top of this website page/sidebar. Your e-mail address will never be sold or given to anyone!

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    7 Responses to “What Are You Reading, and Why?”

    1. Darlene Chiasson on January 23rd, 2012 8:40 am

      One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp is the book that started off my year. In the daily care of my 97 year old mother I found myself drained of joy. Caring for someone who doesn’t express gratitude left me empty of my own. The book invited me to look for things to be grateful for in the things I would normally overlook and my joy returned.

    2. Sharon Smith on January 23rd, 2012 10:34 am

      Now that I’m retired, I’m starting on the stacks of books I couldn’t resist buying over the years. Currently reading The God Who Speaks by Ben Campbell Johnson. It is a bit of a history of how God has related to His people over the years.

      Next up is the classic, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson.

      Thanks for the opportunity to share and be shared to!

    3. Coralie - Queensland, Australia on January 23rd, 2012 5:12 pm

      We owned a Christian Bookshop for eleven years and we ate, slept, walked and talked Christian books and authors. We saw lives changed by the books they read. The changes in lives were the fruit of the hours of the author’s writing. Having such a feast of books to take home (and then become second hand to pass on) I was always reminded that the greatest Book in all the world was The Word – the inspired Word of God that is as current today as the day it was written. If every book was taken from us, including the Bible, all we would have left is what we have absorbved from the Word. “His Word I have hid in my heart so that I will not sin against Him” – His Word does not return empty/void to Him. Thank God for His inspired writers who bring a fresh, yet old voice into today’s uncertain climate to remind us of our ultimate journey back to HIm.

    4. Miriam on January 24th, 2012 10:31 am

      Last year I started reading from my library of books I couldnot read while working. I read THE REASON FOR GOD by Timothy Keller, WHAT’S SO AMAZING ABOUT GRACE by Philip Yancey and WHERE IS GOD WHEN IT HURTS by Philip Yancey and Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey. The Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Remen MD…and 40 DAYS IN HIS PRESENCE devotional- this devotional I have done over the past 8 yrs 3X with great results to my prayers… I have been part of our church bible study and studied the life of Paul and now the book of Acts ….God’s word is lamp onto my feet and a path to my way each and every day..Praise the Lord

    5. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on January 26th, 2012 8:30 pm

      Thanks, Sharon, Darlene, Coralie, and Miriam! All your reading suggestions sound great!

    6. Amy on January 28th, 2012 11:24 pm

      I’m currently reading 2 books: 1 non-fiction book called “Safe People,” which discusses how to recognize and develop relationships with people who are emotionally healthy and available. The second book I’m reading is the fictional “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I chose this book because it was recommended by the She Reads book club. I also enjoy flowers and learning about the different meanings that they represent.

    7. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on January 29th, 2012 2:59 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Amy. These sound interesting!

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