Sharing books is a sort of unique, personal, love language. I'm always a little intimidated to make recommendations - especially to friends - because what if they don't like what I like?? I wrote a whole post on how I pick books and even made some recommendations for how others can cultivate their To Be Read list here. I still get asked a lot for favorite books or ideas on what to pick up, so I'm compiling some of my favorites for perusal.
A book recommendation can come in many ways. Consider these in this light: I liked the book. I liked the author's style. I am relatively certain that I disagreed with or didn't like parts of each book and/or same for personal opinions authors may have. It's okay if we don't have the same taste or perspective. :)
ALSO (final aside) - that this was HARD and I wanted to add so many more books. Just click on any title to view the Amazon link, it's not an affiliate link.
Each of these writers composes beautiful reflections and life lessons. If I had to pick a fave from this list it would be Roots & Sky, hands down. Christie Purifoy is thoughtful and reflective and poetic. I want to sit on her porch and observe quietly around Maplehurst. Tsh Oxenreider writes Notes from a Blue Bike like a friend you want to have Turkish tea with (and her most recent book is out and TOTALLY a great read), and Bread & Wine is basically Shauna Niequist inviting you to adore (and even emulate) her thoughts on life around the table. (Shauna's first two memoirs hit me at a good time, too, and are worth checking out.) Anne Bogel (Modern Mrs. Darcy) invites you into the cozy “delights and dilemmas of the reading life” — a practically perfect read!
These are unique from one another, but happy reads, one and all.
For Taking a Deep Breath
Some books I revisit over and again, because they slow me down. They are the dog-earned books I read seasonally or when my heart is tired or when things are too frantic and I remember that I need to breathe. Below are a few of these. Baillie and Pennington, for quieting my heart and prayer. Lindbergh, because sometimes I need the ocean even when I'm landlocked. Warren, because she reminds me that even my quotidian messes can be worship. L'Engle because L'ENGLE. Last year the Rabbit Room published Every Moment Holy — it’s the beautiful book of everyday liturgies that has beautified my prayer times.
To Remember Who I Am
The following is a collection from Christian writers whose work is thoughtful and compelling, often inspiring. Though they are in different styles (essays, daily readings, etc), each in its own way has served to drive me to consider further the faith I adhere to and to rejoice and to work and to pray and to be still and to believe God's Word to me. (And I know it may seem odd to include a catechism...but something that simply and straightforwardly sends me directly to the Scriptures for renewal can be a beautiful thing.)
Those who write online can be found here:
Sara Hagerty - if you visit her online, be sure to check out her Adoration page
Timothy Willard - also at the Edges Collective
Emily P. Freeman - also her podcast, The Next Right Thing, is awesome!
Jen Wilkin - check out her other books and commentaries while you're there
For Specific Seasons
These reads have been helpful, encouraging, or challenging to me during seasons of want, waiting, hurt, or regrowth. Sacred Marriage for hope in our covenant. (And we always recommend it when we do premarital counseling for young couples!) Women Are Scary for courage to make friends in new places. The Confident Woman for understanding and submitting my emotions to God. The one on unanswered prayer - just about anytime. Treasuring Christ when my hands are feeling really full of His good little gifts. And Stacey's? When I am just… fresh.out. of amazing. Lastly is a collection of essays on grief and the problem of suffering, Be Still My Soul. These authors and styles are wildly divergent from one another - that's my warning. :)
fiction you may enjoy reading at the beach or in the hammock...
I can hardly account for my taste in fiction. And this doesn't begin to cover it, as I painfully chose to exclude classic literature and poetry here. But here are a few anyway, listed in order:
A.J. Fikry has my heart. I read it at least once a year. Tender and funny and surprising, features books and adoption. Still Life, because Louise Penny is thrilling and frightening in cozy ways. The Beach Street Bakery is a favorite summer reading title, what with its independent-woman-starting-over-through-baking-her-heart-out motif. Saint Silvanus? I just couldn't get over my surprise at Beth Moore having written a fiction book...and one with such intrigue and character. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - before Netflix made a film, which was fineitwasfine. I am a sucker for epistolary novels - novels written in letters between characters. (Which is interesting, given that I don't typically like first person narration.) The love story of Mary and Joseph - also historical fiction - read it literally every Christmas. Ruth Reichl’s novel Delicious is mystery and foodie and epistolary at times. And lastly, to just round it out with my quirky preferences: Miss Prim. Your guess is as good as mine as to era, but "independent, intellectual single woman takes position as private librarian in eccentric village" is a win.