“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”  ~Oscar Wilde

There’s probably nothing more dangerous in your house than a stack full of good books.  More than any other one thing in my life, books have been the most transformative.  And I’m not talking about 50 Shades of Grey, I’m talking about the best books, often classics, that have stood the test of time and place.  Cultivating a serious reading schedule is the best gift you can give yourself.  When I make my reading list, I feel like I’m giving myself the best kind of gift.  Coming up with a reading schedule for the year is one of my favorite things to do in January.  And since y’all made lots of comments about books in your surveys, I thought I’d share what’s on my overflowing nightstand!  I try to do one classic every month and then 3-4 other books (sometimes more) that are easier to get through.  I’m working on a master book list, of all the books I’ve read and love with little snippets of reviews.  Hopefully soon!

I’ve had the bad habit in the past of having 4-5 books going at once and then not finishing them.  I’m trying to do better, and have only 1-2 going at a time until I finish them.  Multitasking books is probably not the best practice.  So, for instance, the last 3 weekends, I’ve read one novel each weekend and tried to finish them either by the end of the weekend or the end of the week, submersing myself fully in the fiction dream land.   I can read nonfiction in parts, a little here and there, but literary fiction is more demanding and needs some dedicated time.  There’s nothing that does my heart better than a weekend with a great book and a clean calendar.

Here’s my working list and I’d love to hear what you’re reading too!   (I reserve the right to add and subtract as I see fit!)

The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis (one of my favorite books of all time!)

Telling the Truth, Frederick Buechner (excellent, maybe the highlight of my summer reading)

The Writing Life, Annie Dillard

Wordsmithy, Douglas Wilson

Gilead, Marilynne Robinson (OH MY WORD.  So good!)

Home, Marilynne Robinson

Bossypants, Tina Fey

Stein on Writing, Sol Stein

The Memoir Project, Marion Roach Smith

Long Man by Amy Greene  (finished, beautiful, rich prose)

The Business of Heaven by C.S. Lewis (short daily readings, great of course!)

God at Work by Gene Veith (finished, must read!)

Flannery O’Connor’s Prayer Journal

Luther on Vocation by Wingren

The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle (finished, HI-Larry-Us)

Broken: 7 Rules that Every Christian Ought to Break by Jonathan Fisk

The Tempest by Shakespeare

Suttree by Cormac McCarthy

What Alice Forgot

The Ongoing Feast: Table Fellowship at Emmaus

Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider (reading now, great so far!)

Middlemarch by George Eliot

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy  (amazing times 10)

The Nesting Place by Myquillin Smith

Working Days: The Journals of Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Call by Os Guiness (finished, very enlightening book about vocation)

Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth Bailey

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a’Kempis (finished, deep but rich!)

Light Years by James Salter

Beloved by Toni Morrison (reading now)

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (book on writing, reading now)

The Warrior Ethos by Steven Pressfield (finished, love his other books, this one not quite as relevant but still good)

Word and Sacrament, Luther’s Works

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Heaven on Earth by Arthur Just

Discipline by Elisabeth Elliott (finished)

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Something Other Than God by Jennifer Fulwiler

Let Me Be Woman by Elisabeth Eliot (finished, good but not as deep as I’d hoped)

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

All New Square Foot Gardening

Stein on Writing by Sol Stein

Escaping Into the Open  by Elizabeth Berg

This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash

Lilith by George MacDonald

Reading has been a large priority in my life for the past ten years.  If you’re just starting out on a quest to read more, be easy on yourself.  Reading is demanding and you get better at it with practice.  Our culture is so accustomed to things that are instant and easy, so cultivating a life-long habit of reading good books will take time.  But, the gift you give yourself and your family by filling your home and minds with good books is immeasurable.  I love this quote from Flannery O’Connor when a reader claimed that her books were dark,  hard to read, and not uplifting enough.  She said,

“There is something in us, as story-tellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least must be offered the chance to be restored.  The reader of today looks for this motion, and rightly so, but what he has forgotten is the cost of it.   His sense of evil is diluted or lacking altogether and so he has forgotten the price of restoration.”

In a larger sense, the stories and essays that we’ve gotten from the greatest authors have come to them at great price.  I live and die by their books—by the hard fought words of someone else.  All day, I hear the drone of culture and the drivel  of my own self-centered voice in my head and I know that I am impoverished.  I don’t have the right words and so I need to borrow them from someone else—–from someone who has read better books, lived in a saner time,  and  paid a steep price for the kernels of truth they so generously share.  The words of my favorite authors color my world and wipe away the fog that our modern, consumerist society has accepted as the new status quo.   I think Flannery O’Connor was right.  We have forgotten the cost of redemption.  Perhaps the masters will help us remember.

Now, tell me the top few books on your list this year.


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121 comments on “2014 Reading List”

  1. Elizabeth Eliott’s books are always good reads. I want to read more C.S. Lewis this year. I read The Great Divorce and reread The Screwtape Letters at the end of last year. I can’t decide which of his books I want to read next, The Four Loves or Till We Have Faces. I’m reading Call the Midwife and Organized Simplicity (again) right now. You’ve got me thinking I’ll read Through Gates of Splendor again. And maybe Christy. I’m not usually one who reads multiple books at once, but I do reread my favorites, over and over and over again. 😉
    (I’ve actually only read four of the books you’ve listed.)

    • I was literally looking at Christy on my daughter’s bookshelf and thinking it was time to re-read it (and maybe blog on it). I watched “Call the Midwife” – how is the book? My older teen girl loved The Four Loves, but Till We Have Faces is lovely, too. I like this reading list since so many titles are new to me. I just posted on To End All Wars, the autobiography of a Scottish soldier who was imprisoned for 3 years by the Japanese during WWII.

      • I never saw this, so I’m answering now. 😉 Call the Midwife is pretty graphic in spots. The series stays true to the books for the most part. Now that they are in season 3 they have exhausted the books and are making it up as they go along.

  2. There is only one book right now that I am placing breast emphasis on, I have never fully read my bible. There I said it out loud, let everyone scream to the rooftops that I am a barbarian. I have a hard time sometimes practicing what I feel is a Christian life and I decided it was time to do something about it. I at first looked at doing a bible study. I saw a few that intrigued me but just did not feel right. It was then that I realized that I was trying to study a material I had never even fully read. So I am starting on an easy path and I bought a bible that is broken down into daily readings. Since January 1 I have been reading faithfully. I have to say I have also been getting so much from it too. I find my Old Testament Pieces to be like reading great literature, my New Testament Piece is bringing me some really surprising insights into who Christ may have been, then there is a passage from Psalms which I have to admit I find a bit boring and then a passage from Proverbs which fills me with such joy and really provokes my thoughts. I know I am so far behind my friends who are by far more educated than I am in theology but I know that I AM LEARNING and I feel less broken. I am not sure what I hope to gain but I know I am happy. That has got to be good for something right?

    • I think I reading exactly what you are! Its fabulous to read a little bit of the Old Testament with the New Testament and a little Psalms and Proverbs all on one day. I’ve done well so far too. I do tend to sometimes have to read 2 days at once. I am however caught up! Enjoy your readings!

    • So happy for you, Heather!
      I have often neglected the scriptures for a host of bad reasons, but I read a book once that talked about the Scriptures being a gift that we can open everyday for peace and help and encouragement. They’re much more than that, too, and I’m so thankful we can so freely read and partake of CHrist’s life by reading His words.
      Sending you much love and encouragement!

    • Great for you Heather!! It took me over twenty five years of being a Christian before I committed to reading the Bible. I can’t express enough how it CHANGED MT LIFE!! I personally believe that is one of the biggest reasons so many Christians struggle. If we aren’t reading His Word which is alive then we truly cannot KNOW Him. Don’t worry about “being behind” other people. It’s about a “personal” relationship. Spending time in the Word and prayer will transform your life. 🙂 I love to read books also, but I personally try to never put reading books that are about Jesus, devotionals, etc. above reading the Bible. There is nothing like God speaking to you personally through His Word!! Keep it up! You will never regret spending time with Him!! 🙂

    • Hi,
      If you don’t mind, may I encourage you as you seek to read through the Bible? We all need to read through the Bible for sure. I think it’s great that with as much to choose from to read today that you are sticking to the Bible. It does pale in comparison to anything else we could ever read. Remember, though that God is most interested in who you are than in what you know. It isn’t our theology or our knowledge of the Bible, even, or anything else that God cares most about. It is our heart. As you are reading through your Bible, pray that God would speak to you, that He would teach you what you need to learn. I find it better to focus in on a small part of Scripture and learn it well, and how it applies than to try to read just to read, if that makes sense. I wouldn’t shy away from Bible Study, it is how we gain a deeper understanding of God’s Word. There are so many great studies that deal specifically with learning and understanding God’s Word. Finally, don’t worry about how much it may seem that people know compared to how little you feel that you know. I tell this to people all the time, it is so easy for us to forget this- God never compares us to other people, we are the ones who do that judging. God doesn’t care who has the most head knowledge. He is always looking for people who’s hearts are His. He is the Teacher after all, May God Bless you as you read through His Word, and be confident that He will, bc He will. God Bless!

  3. The Prodigal God by Thomas Keller, was awesome. Looks at the story of the Prodigal Son from a very convicting vantage point.
    I loved this book.

  4. I love this post and that you have Jennifer Fulwiler’s book on your list. My mom reads her blog and frequently sends me her posts. And, your menu bar is centered and lookin’ good!

  5. Thank you for your book list. It is always so inspiring! I need to read the great literature on my shelf. Making time and scheduling it is very important. I have a mental list but I think I need to write it down.

  6. I love to read…..but I realize I have become lazy in my choice of reading material. I have read 4 of Edward Rutherfurd’s books back to back (Sarum, London, Ruskka & New York). I love the way he weaves history through generations, but he isn’t deep. After reading this post I know I need to challenge myself again. Thank you Edie for making me want to be better. I love to read your words over and over……this blog is your calling.

  7. Love these…I just re-read Pride and Prejudice, Brennan Manning Ruthless Trust, Brena Brown Daring Greatly, Romans and Esther, and Emily Freeman A Mill Little…all have been excellent reads.

  8. I’m happy to see you liked Veith’s God at Work. 😉 One of my all-time faves.

    I have Os Guiness’s book on my shelf. Perhaps I need to put that on my list for this year. I also want to re-read Bo Giertz’s The Hammer of God.

  9. I have started Susan Wise Bauer’s The Well Educated Mind: a guide to the Classical education you never had. She has a pretty extensive reading list in there that I have high hopes for.

  10. I was glad to see I have read several books in your pile. Nouwen is a challenge to read and often very thought provoking. Oz’s books reveal a great intellect couples with common sense. When teaching church history to high school student, I assigned The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a’Kempis. They whinned of course but in the end most were glad to have been stretched.
    Thanks for sharing your list!

  11. I’m SO glad you posted your reading list for 2014! I love good book recommendations and I have been wanting to recommend one to you for the longest time. It’s called The Hawk and the Dove by Penelope Wilcock and is a fictional account of life in a medieval monastery. The characters are unforgettable and paint the themes of grace, humility, leadership, loyalty, disability and suffering in vivid colors. The description of how the monks care for the aging and infirmed is so compelling and will melt your heart as a doctor. It is published as a trilogy in one volume. I KNOW you will love it! 🙂

  12. I’m waiting on The Antelope to get to my doorstep! And I ordered almost every book that you and Melanie talked about in your interview. Plus, I have a huge stack of books that I’ve purchased that I need to make my way through. If I could read all day, I totally would.

  13. “Cultivating a serious reading schedule is the best gift you can give yourself.” I loved this quote and Flannery O’Connor’s too. Your reading list is terrific. I’m linking this post to my blog. Blessings!

  14. As a working and homeschooling mother I absolutely LOVE to read. My mother has even remarked, “Michele, I’ve never seen anyone with so many books.” The problem is they are a lot of unread books. Why unread? That four-letter word. . . T-I-M-E. I know you’re a mother and once a homeschooler, and you work (your blog). Can you give some helpful hints on finding time to read? When we are all together as a family (which is when my hubby gets home at 5:00), we all spend that time together until bedtime. I’ve tried reading while everyone is watching TV.. . .sitting on the sofa in the same room with them, but my family wants all of me, which includes, putting my book down and watch what they’re watching (although for me, myself, I could never watch TV again and be content). Would you mind maybe doing a post on finding some practical time to read? Thank you. Hugs.

    • During the week, it’s harder, Michele, but I read some early in the mornings all always carry a book with me when I’m out and about, in case there will be pockets of time. We spend the bulk of our weekends at home (our girls don’t have a lot going on that requires running around!) so I get lots done on the weekends, usually. If I’m really busy for 2-3 weekends in a row, I start to miss my books!! And just like anything else, you have to make it a priority. You’re so right to put your family first and read when you can. I try to convince mine to read with me, then we all win. Our lives are much slower now than ever before and that helps!
      Still, NEVER enough time!
      ps. I’m working on a daily schedule type post, because I always find it interesting to see how other moms do it!

  15. I have seen *Notes From A Blue Bike* on several blogs. Is that what made you simplify your closet???? I am looking forward to reading it. These are the books I am looking forward to reading:
    The Wednesday Letters by: Jason Wright
    What Alice Forgot by: Liane Moriarty
    Rena’s Promise:Two Sisters in Auschwitz
    Coming Home by: Karen Kingsbury (reading now)
    Unbroken by: Laura Hillenbrand
    Killing Jesus by: Bill O’Reilly


    • I just started Tsh’s book, but it’s great. I’ve needed to simplify my closet since the fire. We were given lots of clothes, some that never really fit right, but you keep them because it’s sentimental and they were gifts. Probably not a great reason to keep them all, but it was time to purge!!
      Love your list, Angela, and thanks for sharing!

  16. Ok, ok, ok. I am one of those annoying people who can go on and on about books and such. So, I’m really going to try not to write a novella here. I love! peeking at other people’s lists so thank you for sharing yours here!

    I like to read one non-fiction and one fiction at the same time. I’ve just started re-reading Mere Christianity. I’ve also read Building the Christian Family You Never Had by Mary DeMuth this year and was impacted most by her writing about healing and forgiveness.

    On my docket: Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas, The War of Art, Bittersweet (re-read), Cold Tangerines and several of the others you listed. Fiction wise, I’m working my way through The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Petersen and I’m loving it. We gave the first three to our oldest for Christmas and he’s already finished all of them. If you like Tolkien, Narnia, Rowling, fantasy type of stuff you might enjoy them! Plus, Andrew Petersen is a beautiful musician and so very thoughtful. I think you would love him if you don’t already.

    I know you’re probably working from a larger list of classics. I’m going to be pushy and list a few of my favorites. Bleak House by Dickens (I was burnt out on him and not a fan of Great Expectations but this novel is just wonderful), The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy (this is one I re-read often), Tess of D’Urbervilles also by Hardy, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (some of that dark, gothic Southern fiction like O’Connor) and anything Faulkner (some more gritty Southern lit).

    I wrote a novella anyway.

    • LOVE your novella, sweet Ellen!!
      I’ve read and loved several on your list. Bonhoeffer is long but awesome!
      I’ve never read Andrew Petersen, but I have listened to his music!
      Haven’t read Bleak House, so I’m definitely adding that to my list.
      And Southern gothic lit is always a fave of mine!

  17. Hi Edie! Can’t wait to read from your list…thank you for sharing! I recently finished A Shephard Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller (awesome! A must read!) and Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley ( awesome as well!).

  18. Edie, thank you for this post. I’m embarrassed to say that my priority this last year has been watching various TV’s show that contribute nothing to my life (I don’t even want to know how many hours of Bravo TV I’ve watched). I’m heading out today to pick up a couple of the books you have recommended. And I’m posting these words from your post in my bathroom to look hold me accountable each day: “All day, I hear the drone of culture and the drivel of my own self-centered voice in my head and I know that I am impoverished. I don’t have the right words and so I need to borrow them from someone else—–from someone who has read better books, lived in a saner time, and paid a steep price for the kernels of truth they so generously share. The words of my favorite authors color my world and wipe away the fog that our modern, consumerist society has accepted as the new status quo”.

    Thanks for taking the time and energy to write this post and to be such an encouragement to all of us!!!

    • As a follow up to my post above, I am in the middle of one book, Bread and Wine. I highly recommend it. She writes beautifully of the joys of friendship and life groups. Some of her stories break my heart one minute and then I am soon laughing. AND she includes some great recipes. I bought it electronically but asked my husband for a hard copy for my birthday because it’s a keeper. This morning I purchased The Antelope in the Living Room and started reading it. I love it! Thanks again!

  19. Oh, I love books! I have stacks of them everywhere. Just a couple of comments from your list–many I’ve read and many I haven’t. Kelly Corrigan (The Middle Place) is one of my all-time favorite writers. She has a new book out this week called “Glitter and Glue” that is about motherhood–can’t wait to read that one! And Elizabeth Berg’s book on writing that you noted last has been really helpful to me. Very practical and accessible.

    My problem is that I start books, get about halfway through, then lose interest and move on to the next. Can I count that as actually having read the book? 😉

  20. i love reading your list…and finding that we have several that overlap for this year! 🙂 and a confession. i have been “reading” Anna Karenina for years now. i pick it up each year and get a little further before i stall and start something else. maybe 2014 can be the year i finish it.

  21. This post comes at such a great time for me. I am challenging myself with reading more and your blog has provided SO many references for me. Thank you! And thank you for encouraging us to start slow. I won’t be an Edie reader overnight 😉

  22. I am reading Bird by Bird as well. It helps me on the days [I’ve had too many recently] that I feel uninspired or unable to collect my thoughts. Great choice!

  23. Well, I was so excited yesterday because my package arrived from Amazon (what did we ever do before Amazon, yes???) and in it was, Peace Like a River (Leif Enger), A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving), Me Before You (JoJo Moyes), The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Rachel Joyce), and A Practical Wedding (Meg Keene – hopefully a tool to help my clients stay SANE while planning their weddings!) This is the first time in my entire life that I have actually had a reading PLAN! Included in my plan are 3 more books as well, all nonfiction – Bird by Bird (Anne Lamott), Dakota, A Spiritual Geography (Kathleen Norris — this will be the second time reading it. LOVE her writing) and What We Talk About When We Talk About God (Rob Bell).

    I’m hoping I can get through these in 2014. For me, the problem is time management. But, it has dawned on me recently, that the ONLY reason I can never find the time to read (the only exception is the Bible, which is read daily) is because reading has been treated like a low priority in my life. I’d really like to change that.

    Thanks for your encouragement, Edie. You’re a marvel!

  24. The Shallows – What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas G Carr.
    Just finished and thought you would enjoy it immensely. Really. I thought of you AS I read it.
    Gone With the Wind, Mitchell – reading now
    Bleak House, Dickens – finished in January (love love love)
    Thinking Fast and Slow by Kahneman (two different ways we process in our brains, tend to rely on one more than the other and to our detriment) – still reading.
    More later. Just wanted to be sure and recommend HIGHLY The Shallows. You will appreciate it and it will help you as a blogger grapple with your medium.

  25. I’ll be homeschooling my kids next year. I’ll have a 2nd grader and a 6th grader. Do you know of a great site that has classics for kids these ages?

  26. I had not read a fiction book in I don’t how long! But “Calling Me Home” by Julie Kibler was recommended to me and I couldn’t put it down. It’s said to be a mix between “The Help” and “To Kill a Mockingbird”. But it holds it’s own, IMO.

  27. *So* jealous that you’ve been able to read Long Man already. I fell in love with Amy Greene’s writing style and story telling in Bloodroot and am looking forward to getting another fix! On another note, since the Olympics are taking place in Russia, I feel the need to read a Russian classic. Looking forward to studying your list a little bit more!

  28. Thank you for this post! In 2013 I rediscovered my love of reading, and am excited to expand it this year. As a mother of preschoolers, I’ve found audio books to be a huge help in this effort. If you haven’t read Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss, I highly recommend it. It’s a classic fictional work that has greatly encouraged my spiritual life.

  29. I love this post! I am homeschooling my 3 young boys, and though I love to read, I have found myself not having time to sit and read as much as I’d like to. So I have discovered the joy of audiobooks, and have been able to “read” many books while doing housework or while driving – it has been awesome! I know that the time will come where I can devote more time to flipping pages and sitting with a cup of tea and reading, but in the meantime, audiobooks are helping me to get information from books without having to have a sit-down, quiet chunk of time to read. And my most favorite book of late is Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. What an amazing story! Anyway, thank you for reminding me that it is important to make reading a priority. I have always said that the foundation for any decent education is reading, and if I can instill a love of reading in my children, then they are well on their way to life-long learning. Love all of the recommendations! And I also love the comment about reading the Bible – I am also guilty of not having read it all the way through,and God has definitely been speaking to me about this. So that is my priority for this year (and hopefully forevermore).

  30. I write book reviews and other stuff at 2 blogs. I read Shakespeare, Arthurian books, am in a Classics Club. This year I’ve read Great Expectations, Troilus and Cressida, Othello, Idylls of the King, Morte d’Arthur. I love to read books on British history, have a recent penchant for the medieval era. In the Christian spectrum of books I read more non-fiction, some fiction. Recently read Jonathan Edwards from the Essentials Collection.
    Thank you for your timely and much needed post on reading.

  31. Hi Edie! I really enjoy your blog. I too absolutely LOVE reading, so I always enjoy hearing what others are finding enjoyable. \You mentioned this…” I’m working on a master book list, of all the books I’ve read and love with little snippets of reviews”. Have you ever checked out http://www.goodreads.com ? A wonderful reading site where you can group books you have read, want to read or are currently reading. You can group your lists by genre, leave reviews, read reviews, read summaries of each book, etc. And you can have friends on the site so you can view each others reading lists. Anyway…it’s a great site I’ve used for about 5 years now to keep my lists organized! As far as a great plot accompanied by great writing, the “Cemetery of Forgotten Books” series by Spain’s Carlos Ruiz Zafon are wonderful!! Enjoy your weekend!

  32. I love reading Reading Lists. = ) On mine this year is What Jesus Demands from the World, John Piper; The Hidden Art of Homemaking, Edith Schaeffer (already done – hooray!); Robert Frost’s Poems; The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains, Nicholas Carr; The Well-Trained Mind, Susan Wise Bauer…

    I’m definitely in the category of trying to become more of a reader so my goal is to finish twelve this year.

    I’ve never left a link in a comment before, but here is the rest of my still-being-made list. = ) http://smallstepsbigpicture.com/2014/01/22/reading-list-2014/

    Thanks for being a source of encouragment about reading!

  33. I spent many hours listening to the wisdom of Elisabeth Elliot on her radio program when my kids were small. I was always a voracious reader, but I fell away from reading because I was so exhausted by my job. This is the year when I get back to it–I retired!

  34. I love your reading list Edie. It’s always so inspiring to see what you’re reading. I’m looking forward to getting into some meatier books this year after having only read lighter ones since my boy was born three years ago. I’m reading “The Middle Place” right now. Other books on my list this year are “Apologia Pro Vita Sua” and “Meditations and Devotions” by John Henry Newman, “Surprised by motherhood” by Lisa Jo Baker, Antigone, “The Gift of An Ordinary Day” by Katrina Kenison, Plato’s Republic (yes, I’m going back to the bookclub list!) and many more. And most of the books you’ve mentioned here have ended up in my Amazon basket for a later day.

  35. thanks, edie and commenters, for all the great suggestions for future reading! my list is sooo long now!

    i read very, very little fiction (five or maybe six fiction books in 17 years) and many, many more non-fiction books. i am not at home right now or i could offer a much longer list, but can think now of two very favorite books (the kind i keep instead of donating, after my family reads them). i highly recommend:

    “under the banner of Heaven” by jon krakauer (alternating chapters about the history of mormonism and a real-life family murder done in the name of a radical off-shoot of mormonism) and

    “bayou farewell” by mike tidwell (life on louisiana’s gulf coast, how efforts made to tame and re-route the mississippi river made hurricane katrina even worse).

    learned a lot from both books. they are well-written, with great “voices”, too.

    i am also reading the Bible from cover to cover this year, from genesis to revelation (and am ashamed that it’s taken me until now to start doing so). am only in leviticus right now, but am happy to be doing this – and am so grateful for this gift and my parents (who gave me a Bible). the best book of all and the best parents!

    happy reading, everyone!


  36. List of great books to read: “Family Vocation” by Veith, “Christ Have Mercy” by Harrison, “Mere Christianity” by Lewis, “Why I Am A Lutheran” by Preus, “A Theology to Live By” by Preus, “They Will See His Face” by Eyer, “A Little Book on Joy” by Harrison, “Martin Luther’s Christmas Book” by Bainton, “Martin Luther’s Easter Book” by Bainton, “How Christianity Changed the World” by Schmidt, “The Spirituality of the Cross” by Veith, “Grace Upon Grace” by Kleinig, “The Fire and the Staff” by Preus, “The Hammer of God” by Giertz

  37. Wow, what a varied list! And ambitious, too =) Reading {both more and deeper} is always on my list of self-improvement projects. And always difficult to accomplish, because it feels so much like a guilty pleasure.

  38. Pingback: Fave Reads
  39. Hi Edie, I recently found your blog and love everything I read. You are an inspiration. I particularly like your book list as I love to read. My reading consists of mostly art books. One of my favorites that I reread is Vincent Van Gogh’s “Dear Theo”, letters to his brother. I am interested in reading the C.S. Lewis work you recommended. I am at present reading Re-enchantment of Everyday Life by Thomas Moore. I am the wife of a retired Lutheran pastor. I work as an artist and enjoy participating in art shows and illustrating children’s books. I am on Facebook and have an art blog, which at this time is not the greatest, but I do try.
    Keep up the good work with your blog for I look forward to reading many more amazing ideas that you post.

  40. Hi Edie,

    I read 2-3 fiction books a week and have for many years. I lean toward literary fiction and have recently read Wallace Stegner’s “Crossing to Safety,”
    Roddy Doyle’s “The Woman Who Walked into Doors,” Donna Tartt’s “Goldfinch,” and Richard Ford’s “Canada.” All were terrific and I highly recommend them to you.

    But ranking right up there are books from lesser known authors like David Rhode’s “Driftess,” Robert Cohen’s, “The Organ Builder, Tristan Egolf’s, “The Lord of the Barnyard and Patrick Ness’s, “The Crane Wife.” Check ’em out. They’re well worth the read.

  41. Anna Karenina and Middlemarch are two of my ALL TIME favorite novels. I think Anna Karenina is one of the best novels of a Christian world-view ever written. Especially when you understand the WHY behind it. The author was actually combatting the view of “free love” with this novel, interestingly, as well as the theme of the fear of death. Amazing work!

  42. Just “joined” Pinterest, & loving books, your blog on the stack of books you’re reading caught my eye, in particular C.S. Lewis. Anyhow some of my favorites this year have been, All of Erica Bauermeister, start w/The Fine Art of Mixing. The newest biographies of Erich Bonhoeffer, & A Spiritual Life: Harriet Beecher Stowe. Just started Francine Rivers’ newest, Bridge to Haven. (If u haven’t yet read her, Redeeming Love is a classic!) Love all that Phillip Yancey writes, a fave being, What’s So Amazing About Grace? Enjoyed Joan Anderson’s A Year By the Sea, & An Unfinished Marriage.

  43. Very late to the discussion but I noticed that no one has mentioned my favorite book, Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset. Nobel prize winner and a true jewel. Please do not be deterred by the foreign sounding title. Here is the link. . . even though Im a total stranger, I hope you will trust me!

    Its one of the books that might make you choose cereal for dinner for your family so that you can read more! Enjoy!

      • Cant wait for you read! I know someone else asked (I didnt see an answer) but are you on Goodreads?I love using it so that I dont waste my precious reading time looking for something good to read. It is a great way to keep track of what you have read so that we can benefit from like minded readers and their great finds. Our family consists of lots of readers and I people frequently asked me what good books would be for certain age kids/ interests and I could never remember. This site has been a HUGE blessing and saved me hours of scouring lists, previewing books, etc. Ive been keeping track of our reads for a few years and most importantly, getting excellent recommendations from others! Love to see your lists! My user name is Leslie H.

  44. I stumbled across your blog in search of a recipe, but soon found my merry way to your book list. It’s grand. I found quite a few favorites and a couple I’ll be adding to my own ongoing literary quests.

    I have to ask though, have you ever encountered the novels of Elizabeth Goudge? She’s not well known (though J.K. Rowling lists her children’s novel, The Little White Horse, as a childhood favorite), but the few who discover her almost always turn into ardent collectors and readers of her work. I found her when a professor that mentored me in literature assigned me her novel, Gentian Hill. “My dear,” he said, “this one’s special. Savor it.” He was right. Her novels are set mostly in England, usually circling around some particular aspect of English history/legend/folktale. Her grasp of human motivation and her crisp English voice remind me of George Eliot, but her joy in the earth and its beauty are more akin to Lucy Maud Montgomery, and she has some Dickensian plot lines. Her stories are just beautiful. I leave them feeling richer, livened to the glory hidden in every aspect of the ordinary. Pilgrim’s Inn, Gentian Hill, and Scent of Water are all excellent places to begin.

    Sorry that ran on so long, I just couldn’t resist recommending her.

  45. Hi Edie! I recently enjoyed and was convicted by your words at the Ladies Brunch at Arrowhead Church. I loved hearing your heart! I noticed your reading list and wanted to encourage you to add Mark Batterson to your 2015 reading list. 😉

  46. Dear 宥緁:Thank you for purchasing my book and shairng my book with your friends whom you think are ready.English is the easiest language. All you need is to practice more and put yourself in an English environment. This is one of the purposes of this blog. We need to learn English so we can get the info from the source and not to be screened or interpreted by some gatekeeper. You will feel empowered by engaging with the world’s best minds. Taiwan is really behind on advanced thinking, intellectual contents and diversity. We shall meet again,Ping

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