Big books, little books, kindle books—I love books, and I love reading. Last year I shared with you some of the books I’d been reading, and why. There’s nothing like God’s word to read for our growth, our encouragement, and to know God deeper. But God has also used Christian authors to both inspire and encourage us. I’ve read about 50 more books in the last twelve months. Here are some of the ones I recommend for your reading pleasure.
1. Books by Susan Meissner
I discovered this author last year and quickly tried to find everything she had penned. I’ve missed a few, but these are some of my favorites:
- Why the Sky is Blue
- Windows to the World
- The Shape of Mercy
- In All Deep Places
- The Remedy for Regret
- A Seahorse in the Thames
- Sound Among the Trees
- Girl in the Glass
Susan’s characters are believable and memorable, and I love how she blends the past with the present in a contemporary, yet literary style. Her Christian themes include love and loss, redemption and grace, sacrifice and mercy–all hidden within the pages of well-written, lyrical prose. She’s a great story-teller. I met Susan this year at the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference, and found this award-winning author is as warm and authentic as her books, as good a teacher, as she is an author. I’ll be watching for more of her books.
2. Books by Deborah Raney – I also discovered Deborah’s books this year and was captivated by her stories. I immediately tried to catch up on as many as I could find.
- A Vow to Cherish
- A Scarlet Cord
- After the Rains
- Beneath a Southern Sky
- Almost Forever
- After All
Deborah’s books are filled with real, family relationships–and the struggles they face. Love and betrayal, faithfulness and forgiveness, romance and mystery–and so much more weave through these strong Christian fiction books. Another great story-teller, I love her tender, yet compelling style that draws you in to every character. I also met this award-winning author this year at ACFW and loved her easy smile and bubbly personality. One of her books, A Vow to Cherish, was made into a motion picture movie. Grab your kleenex for that one! I’ll be reading more of hers!
3. Books by Karen Kingsbury – Another of my favorite authors, I’ve almost caught up with the rest of Karen’s books that I’ve been reading the last few years.
- Coming Home
I’ve enjoyed Karen’s easy style and believable characters, but especially her themes of family relationship struggles. Always filled with romance and adventure, her bestselling stories are quick reads with lingering messages. I especially liked Unlocked, which dealt with issues concerning an autistic teen.
4. Books by Susan Mae Warren – I found one of Susan’s books this year and quickly fell in love with her amazing writing style and compelling romantic adventures. I’ve just started reading this award-winning novelist’s books and plan to read more.
- My Foolish Heart
- The Shadow of Your Smile
- Flee the Night
Her stories are hard to put down, and her characters will linger long after you’ve read her books. I love the suspense and strong Christian themes of her fiction. She is a master story-teller, and her stories include real and challenging conflicts.
5. Books by Joel Rosenberg – I’ve mentioned his books before, but they are absolute must reads if you want to get a heartbeat on what’s coming soon in current events. A communications advisor and New York Times bestselling author, Joel has the uncanny ability to write about things even before they happen. In fact, after you read them, you’ll wonder if it’s really fiction. I’ve caught up with most of his books now and finished reading these last two:
- The Tehran Initiative
- Implosion – a non-fiction book that gives a sobering picture of what America might expect to happen in the future.
5. Jerry Jenkins – I read a couple of this author’s older books recently and thoroughly enjoyed both of them. In fact, Riven was one of the most powerful books I’ve read in a long time. Jerry is a great, versatile writer.
- The Youngest Hero
6. Terri Blackstock – Terri continues to be one of my favorite authors, and I need to catch up on many more of hers. I only read two last year.
- Evidence of Mercy
- Last Light
7. Josiah for President by Martha Bolton – A delightful, humorous, and sobering story about an Amish man and his run for the presidency–at first without his knowledge. Martha is a talented writer of several genres, but I loved her first novel debut. I hope she writes more!
8. The Reunion by Dan Walsh – A powerful story of redemption, forgiveness, and grace involving a couple of Viet Nam veterans. A great read.
9. Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers. I’ve read several of Francine’s books, and she remains a favorite. I thought I had already read this powerful book–a “modern” Hosea story about God’s overpowering love and forgiveness. However, as I sifted through the pages, I realized I had somehow overlooked this classic. If you haven’t read it, you need to.
10. Waiting for Sunrise, by Eva Everson – The first of Eva’s novels I’ve read, though I’ve enjoyed several of her non-fiction titles. This Southern story deals honestly with hard issues involving family dysfunction and mental confusion, but weaves a strong theme of love and forgiveness through its pages.
11. Arms of Deliverance by Tricia Goyer – I like Tricia’s writing, especially her books set in World War II era. This is a poignant story of love and forgiveness and God’s amazing grace. I’ll be reading more of Tricia’s books. She’s a prolific writer.
12. James Scott Bell – I read a couple of his older books this past year. Powerful and compelling, his books are suspenseful page-turners, and he is a skilled writer. I’ll probably read more.
- No Legal Grounds
- Nephilium Seed
Time or space won’t allow me to list all of the books I’ve read, but those are among the many that kept me intrigued in the last year. I read more fiction than non-fiction, but here are a few of the non-fiction books I read, without lengthy comment.
1. Beyond Belief: Finding the Strength to Come Back, by Josh Hamilton and Tim Keown – A powerful and sometimes painful biography about the life of Josh Hamilton–and his struggle to the the pit of despair and his journey to find hope and joy. A must read.
2. Through My Eyes, by Tim Tebow and Nathan Whitaker – I enjoyed this biography covering Tim’s brief life so far and grew to admire this young man’s strong faith in a faithful God. I bogged down a little with all the football plays–even though I enjoy sports, but it’s an inspirational read.
3. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp – If you were to pick one book to read this year, this would be my pick. I love Ann’s gift with words, her love of family, and her simple faith in God. She’s an extremely talented writer, yet down-to-earth and dedicated.
What Are You Reading?
Not included in this list are the books I’ve reviewed on my blogs this year. I’ll try to keep you posted through the year on some good reads. What are you reading?