Recommended Reads

I have a bit of a book obsession.  It started long ago with picture books of princesses and knights in shining armor, evolved into the likes of The Babysitter’s Club, and eventually, books decided my college major.  These days you’ll find my 7-foot bookshelves stocked to capacity, well over three hundred “next-to-read” books stacked next to my bed, and ten boxes full sitting out in the shed.  Like I said: obsession.

I like to think that I’m not the only one who benefits.  I love loaning the perfect book to a friend in need of some encouragement.  I love referring back to my underlining and notes and learning some great truth anew.  I love soaking in beautiful metaphors, creative prose, and every bit of life a book can offer, and then trying them on for size.  A writer’s work can be just as inspiring and artful as the most moving symphony or intricate painting.  Words are a writer’s notes and instruments, paints and brushes.

And so, here are my recommended reads.  It is not a comprehensive list by any means.  Just a little bit from every category.  I’m sure I’ll be adding to it here and there as I remember or read more.

Happy reading.

Picture Books

  • The Giving Tree – Shel Silverstein
  • The Little House – Virginia Lee Burton
  • It’s Time to Sleep, My Love – Eric Metaxas
  • On the Night You Were Born – Nancy Tillman
  • The Spirit of Christmas – Nancy Tillman
  • Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You – Nancy Tillman
  • Imogene’s Antlers – David Small
  • The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear – Don and Audrey Wood
  • Bear Snores On – Karma Wilson
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (and others) – Laura Joffe Numeroff
  • Blueberries For Sal – Robert McCloskey
  • Time of Wonder – Robert McCloskey
  • Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree – Robert Barry
  • There’s An Alligator Under My Bed – Mercer Mayer
  • Just For You – Mercer Mayer
  • The Runaway Bunny – Margaret Wise Brown
  • The Gardener – Sarah Stewart
  • Emily – Michael Bedard

Middle Grade/Young Adult

  • Because of Winn-Dixie – Kate DiCamillo
  • The Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling
  • The Giver– Lois Lowry
  • Gathering Blue – Lois Lowry
  • Messenger – Lois Lowry
  • Number the Stars– Lois Lowry
  • The Hunger Games Trilogy- Suzanne Collins
  • The Fault in Our Stars – John Green


  • Pride and Prejudice (and then every other book she’s ever written) – Jane Austen
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  • The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Gilead– Marilynne Robinson
  • The Shack – William P. Young
  • The Help– Kathryn Stockett


  • Sacred Parenting – Gary L. Thomas
  • Grace Based Parenting – Tim Kimmel

Christian Life

  • The Inspirational Bible – edited by Max Lucado
  • The Key Word Study Bible
  • Matthew Henry Commentary
  • Mere Christianity– C.S. Lewis
  • The Great Divorce– C.S. Lewis
  • The Hungering Dark– Frederick Buechner
  • The Call– Os Guinness
  • One Thousand Gifts – Ann Voskamp
  • Scouting the Divine – Margaret Feinberg
  • Invitation to Solitude and Silence – Ruth Haley Barton
  • The Little Way of Ruthie Leming – Rod Dreher
  • How Now Shall We Live– Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey
  • Socrates in the City: Conversations on “Life, God, and Other Small Topics”– edited by Eric Metaxas
  • In a Pit, With a Lion, On a Snowy Day -Mark Batterson
  • The Circle Maker– Mark Batterson
  • Traveling Light – Max Lucado
  • Beyond Our Selves – Catherine Marshall
  • The Battlefield of the Mind – Joyce Meyer
  • Calm My Anxious Heart – Linda Dillow

Writing- Grammar, Style, and the Writing Life

  • The Elements of Style – William Strunk and E.B White
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • Bird by Bird – Ann Lamott
  • A Million Miles in a Thousand Years – Donald Miller


  • America’s Women – Gail Collins

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