Mommy on Fire readers spoke – we DO need good book recommendations that don’t permeate the soul with negativity, ungratefulness, or sadness because we don’t measure up to an unattainable ideal. Not to mention that life is simply too short to read bad books.
Below you’ll find titles I have personally read and love – who’s characters have stayed with me well past the end of the book and who’s plots forced me to think and expand my wee little mind ever-so-slightly. Below you will find a list of my personal favorites that I can endorse because I’ve read them all.
I received so many reader responses from the Mommy on Fire community on Facebook that I will be posting those on Monday – I tried to put them all together but realized over 1,500 words was a bit much for one post – even for this word-lovin’ girl.
Here’s 20 Books To Rock Your World:
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger – An absolutely beautifully written work of art. A must read for sure!
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – This book amazed me! Much of what we know in the medical world is a result of fast-growing, unique cells extracted from this young, African American woman from the south in the 1950’s. Riveting!
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers – You want an alternative to 50 Shades of Grey? Here’s your romance, sisters – Bible-style! I resisted Christian fiction for a long time but after my friend, Katrina, said I must read this, I acquiesced and I’m beyond grateful. This is a page-turner!
Sons of Encouragement by Francine Rivers – A work of historical fiction on the lives of Aaron, Caleb, Jonathan, Amos and Silas.
A Lineage of Grace: Five Stories of Unlikely Women Who Changed Eternity by Francine Rivers – Her female partner to Sons of Encouragement written about Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – Another work of historical fiction based around World War II and the small community of Guernsey Island.
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese – RIVETING. There’s not much else to say about this one. Beautiful book!
Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality by Donald Miller – I love his hilarious, conversational style and his perspective is spot-on.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford – Great read based around a friendship that continued through the Japanese “work camps” in the U.S.
Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader’s Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line (Focus on the Family Books) by Abby Johnson – If you are passionate about crisis pregnancy or are curious to read about the politics of abortion, you’ll want to read this.
This Is a Soul: The Mission of Rick Hodes by Marilyn Berger – I read this while traveling to Ghana last year and it was quite timely – Rick, a Jewish doctor, has selflessly given his life to the people of Ethiopia – his commitment and perspective is inspirational.
The Sacred Echo by Margaret Feinberg – That still small voice? It’s actually an echo. Awesome book about listening to God’s direction in a fresh and contemporary light.
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough – Classic! My book club picked this a while ago and I didn’t think I would like it but I most certainly did! The characters will haunt you – the mark of a well-written novel, eh?
The Used World: A Novel by Haven Kimmel – Author of Zippy (another great read) – Great novel with authentic and real characters.
7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excessby Jen Hatmaker – For seven months, Jen focused on only seven of each category: she ate only seven different kinds of food for a month, wore only seven articles of clothing for another, etc. Her lessons on excess in our society is humbling but not in a condemning way.
Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie Davis – Katie is wise beyond her 22 years – with an innate passion for Uganda, she moved there after high school graduation and has now adopted several girls from Uganda. Very inspiring – scripture throughout!
The Red Tent: A Novel by Anita Diamant – LOVE this historical fiction piece based around Rachel, Leah, Jacob, and their maidservants.
Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist – I adore Shauna’s “straight-up” approach and conversational writing. She’s hilarious yet teaches the reader rich lessons on living in faith through sharing her own human frailties.
Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life by Shauna Niequist – More of Bittersweet!
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand – This author of Seabiscuit shares the truth behind the story of Louis Zamperini, a pilot during World War II, whose plane crashed in the ocean and he survived. His story of survival and endurance will move you!
It’s not too late – I can still add your recommendations to the list posting on Monday! What books have lingered with you?
Have a wonderful weekend, Friends!
Thanks for the ideas, Natalie! I’m always looking for good books. I struggle with finding good reading material because like you, I want quality without the added junk. I dislike reading Christian fiction if it’s too preachy, but I don’t want to fill my mind with things that will hurt me. And I LOVE to read — non-stop. While I’ve read several of these on your list, there are some on here I haven’t. I’ll add them to my “to-read” list!
I hear you, Marlo. There are just a couple Christian fiction books I’ve read and I also watch out for syrupy-sweet and preachy – there’s enough of that going on without having to read about it, eh? I’m going to be posting more about good books along this vein so I would love to partner with you! If you read a good one, will you send me the title? Thanks – think of you often and miss your words.
What is neat about Francine Rivers is she wrote romance novels for years before becoming a Christian and writing stories right out of God’s Word. I love how she sees story.
Oh, fun – I didn’t know that! Yes, I think she’s an anointed writer!
I can’t wait to check some of these books out. There is some rich literature out there, we just have to be willing to look and ask friends for suggestions.
Love you sweet friend :)
Agree, sister! Love you too, my sweet ministry partner!
Natalie! Thank you!!!! I post each book I read onmy blog with my thoughts at the time and many of these suggestions are new to me! Am heaing to the library today to read some of these. I just finished 13 Reasons Why and think it will stay with me for a long time. Also the Invisible Wall. Have a great weekend!
Oh how fun – I’ll check them out. Thanks for the suggestions – I’ll post the reader recommendations on Monday!
Anything by Francine Rivers has my vote. You did not list The Last Sin Eater also by Francine River, so I’ll add it. It is great! And on the secular side, The Help. Great book. The movie not so much but the book was awesome!
Yes, The Help is a great read and it will be posted on Monday. I’ll add The Last Sin Eater to the post on Monday. Thanks, Gaby!
love that you’ve offered alternative reads! francine rivers has quite a life story … and actually her series her mother’s hope and daughter’s dream are based off her life experiences. thanks for this list!!
Yes, I’m becoming very interested in her – I would love to read those and learn more about her. Thanks, Tracie!
I like Pride & Prejudice myself! ;) Great list – thanks for doing things better here. Love your heart.
I hear that about you, girl – my dear friend, Katrina, and you now have urged me to read it so I’ve put it on my Bucket List. Thanks, sweet friend!
Thank you Natalie! I’ve been looking for some good reads for vacation next week!
YAY! Happy Reading and HAVE A BALL! Hope you are going somewhere fun!
Thanks for the list, Natalie! Can’t wait to read some of these. I actually read a lot of non-fiction, but am trying to choose more fiction (long story), here are a few of my favs from both fiction and non:
The Help – Stocket, Heaven is for Real – Burpo, Same Kind of Different as Me – Hall & Moore, LEAD…for God’s Sake! – Gongwer (also a great read for men), Next Generation Leader – Andy Stanley (I love everything by him!), The God Pocket – Wilkinson, Holy Disconnect – Hybels
Thanks for the suggestions, Alyssa! I’ll include them on Monday. I have a feeling you and I could talk books for quite a while, girl.
Thanks for reading and commenting!!!
This is a wonderful list!! I agree with most everyone else that Francine Rivers is a wonderfully talented writer. However, I have yet to read Redeeming Love. It has been sitting on my shelf for far too long. Think I will go and pull it off now and get to reading it today!!
I have read many on your list and couldn’t agree more that they are thought-provoking, powerful reads. I LOVED Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet as well as Unbroken and Kisses from Katie really had me re-evaluating my own life!!
Some other authors I have enjoyed are Lynn Austin and Sarah Sundin! Both are Christian writers, but their writing isn’t preachy. Lynn Austin reminds me of Francine Rivers a bit! :)
Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!
Awesome – thanks for the tips! They are both new authors to me so I’ll check them out.
Thanks for reading and commenting, Amy!
i am so glad that you have taken this on! i am always searching for new books to read….and sometimes i find myself reading things that aren’t exactly what i need to be reading (nothing quite like 50 shades….but i did read the entire “girl with the dragon tattoo” series. although it was a highly intriguing plot….alot of the series was graphic and disturbing). i have read a ton of francine rivers….and i humbly submit to you the mark of the lion trilogy by her. i go back to that one time and time again! i can’t wait to see your list on monday so i can add them to what i’ve written down from today’s post :)
Alison, thank you so much! I have been told of that series quite a bit lately and it will be on Monday’s post. Thank you for being such a loyal reader, too, girl. You are such a blessing!
Oooh! I’ve read 5 of these, am in the process of two more of them, and will add most of the others to my (very long) list! Thanks for the recommendations!
You’re welcome, Tiffani! I hear you – my reading list is unending…BUT – there could be worse problems, eh? Thank you for reading and commenting!
wow girl! Thanks for all these wonderful suggestions! Love, Traci Michele @Ordinary Inspirations
Thanks, I’ll be reading great new (to me) titles for a while now. I love Feathers from my Nest by Beth Moore, if you like her bible studies, you’ll love her beautiful memoir of raising her girls. I felt really connected having girls myself.
Reading is often one of the first fundamental building blocks that teach kids about a life unlike their own. In fact, those are often the books most popular with children! Whether they deal directly with stories of race and gender, like Huck Finn, or simply chronicle an unusual or zany lifestyle, like Eloise, who lived in a hotel, books teach kids to imagine a life beyond their own and embrace a more accepting, curious worldview.
If you’ve fully resigned yourself into God’s hands, then you’re able to endure any and all hardships. Your Father’s desire is for you to be able to go about your daily business without fear or anxiety, totally trusting in his care. And your resignation to him has a very practical effect in your life.
All of my thoughts and actions must be brought into submission to the Word of God. In the end, all truth is God’s truth, so faith and science must lead us to their author. For the time being, both my understanding of science and of God’s word are imperfect, so I must default to an inherent trust in the infallible Word of God.