People ask me for good book recommendations on a regular basis. I love books. I admit, I have too many. I also admit checking books out at the library has never worked for me. For whatever reason, I need to own, to possess, to write in the books that mentor, entertain and form me. I would probably be a millionaire if I could merely check them out at my local library.

When I am asked for a recommendation, I tend to ask questions in order to find out where a particular person is at on their journey; what they are hoping the book will do for them; or what deeper work they sense God is up to in their lives. After I ponder their answers, I have multiple good ‘old friends’ whose clothing of worn, aged pages might be a potential help or new love.

As Fall approaches, and you have visions of entering into the pages of a biblio-journey that will change your life, while savoring a steaming cup of dark roast coffee on a chilly misty morning next to the warmth of your crackling fire, then read on. Here are some offerings that you may not have read.

Here is my disclaimer. I read widely. I read critically. I don’t always read books that I agree with, in fact I generally find ideas that I disagree with in almost every book. So there will be authors in my list that you might think, “Really Monty? I can’t believe you recommended that book!”

It seems we have lost the ability to discern, critique and think for ourselves. We tend to read books exclusively by people we like, or who think exactly as we do. We dislike being stretched, or heaven forbid, challenged in what we think or believe. We need to learn to read, ruminate, ponder, dialog, disagree, stretch and ultimately grow. To that end, we all need some authors who cause us to ask tougher, deeper question freeing us from tribal dominance and the status-quo.

A final disclaimer, the books are not in any order, just some titles you might not have encountered yet.

Having said that, here are some books to consider reading this Fall:

  1. Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. by Eric Metaxas
  2. Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now, by Walter Brueggeman
  3. Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry. by Ruth Haley Barton
  4. The Way of a Pilgrim (Russian Spiritual Classic). by anonymous
  5. The Normal Christian Life. by Watchman Lee
  6. The Complete Stories (FSG Classics). by Flannery O’Connor
  7. The Prodigal God. by Tim Keller
  8. Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart. by Christena Cleveland
  9. Ruthless Trust. by Brennan Manning
  10. The Singer. By Calvin Miller
  11. Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked . by Chris Matthews
  12. The Sparrow. by Mary Doria Russell
  13. The Cure. by Bill Thrall
  14. The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea. by Bob Burg
  15. Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. by Gregory Boyle
  16. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Marshall Goldsmith
  17. How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels. by N. T. Wright
  18. The Alchemist. by Paulo Coelho
  19. The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others. by Scot Mcknight
  20. Wisdom of the Sadhu: Teachings of Sundar Singh. by Sadhu Sundar Singh
  21. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (Harper Perennial Modern Classics). by Annie Dillard
  22. The God of Small Things: A Novel. by Arundhati Roy
  23. Night (Night). by Elie Wiesel
  24. The Shack. by Wm. Paul Young
  25. Bonus book: Sacred Space. by MC Wright 🙂

1 Comment

  1. Thanks Monty,

    I too, love to read a variety of books and only wish I could find a group that is as diverse a reader as I too am. In looking through your list I’ve read only 5 of them. # 1, 10, 18, 24 (I love his second one describing the Holy Spirit-Guess they are going to try to make the Shack into a movie), and of course #25. I see you are not doing Sacred Space this year??? We’ll see if I get to read anymore of your list, the book club’s list, my sister’s 45 books she loaned me on a cozy little town that has a Chapel, an Inn, and the dynamics of who knows everything about everyone in the town, the list for keeping up with my grandchildren who are all avid readers (struggling right now if I should bounce into the Harry Potter’s books or not-I don’t like witchcraft and vampires), my friend’s lists, or the stack of Christian, Mystery, Misc. books on my list…. My stack currently has t1-11 on it and I really enjoyed the others on the list:

    1.. The Places in Between Rory Stewart-Rory’s walk across Afghanistan following the footsteps of Afghanistan’s first Mughal emperor 2.. The Year China Discovered America Gavin Menzies 3.. Sitting At the Feet of Rabbi Jesus Ann Spangler/Lois Tverberg 4.. A Healing Word-A Reflective Journey Towards Inner Peace John A. Flanagan a priest of the Diocese of Clogher 5.. Holy Silence The Gift of Quaker Spirituality J. Brent Bill 6.. The Founders’ Bible 7.. Ungifted Gordon Korman 8.. The Light in the Forest –Conrad Richter 9.. The Ranger’s Apprentice Series and the Brotherband Chronicles by John Flanagan (Love these) 10.. The Lost Books Series by Ted Dekker (Again I enjoy and have all of Ted’s books) 11.. AD 30 Ted Dekker 12.. The Cat Mysteries by Lilian Jackson Braun 13.. The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax Series Dorothy Gilman 14.. Caleb’s Crossing Geraldine Brooks First Black man from Martha’s Vineyard to go to Harvard 15.. Wonder R.J. Palacio 16.. The Noticer Andy Andrews 17.. All the Light We Cannot See Anthony Doerr Germans occupy Paris, father and blind daughter flee…. Excellent 18.. Endurance Sir Ernest Shackelton 19.. The Boys in the Boat Daniel James Brown 20.. The Bell Messenger Robert Arnabe 21.. People of the Book Geraldine Brooks 22.. Refiner’s Fire-Lynn Austin 23.. Lost Child Torrey Hayden –powerful 24.. Little Princes Connor Grennan One man’s promise to bring home the lost children of Nepal 25.. Smiling at the World Joyce Major Seattle Real Estate Sales traveled around world volunteering 26.. River Town, 2 Years on Yanzte River-Peter Hessler 27.. Undaunted Courage Stephan Ambrose-Lewis and Clark story 28.. Jesus Wept: how wide/long/deep is the love of Christ-Bruce Marchiano 29.. Isaac’s storm, a man, a time and the deadliest hurricane in history Erik Larson 30.. The River Michael Neale Learning how to raft on a river and what happens to your soul. 31.. Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: an entrepreneur’s odyssey to educate the world’s children John Wood 32.. The Far Pavilions M. M. Kaye long but worth it. 33.. The Christmas Train David Baldacci 34.. Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving conflict by Donna Hicks 35.. 7 an Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker 36.. Tear Soup Story-A Recipe for Healing After Loss by Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen 37.. The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe 38.. The Kitchen Boy (Last Tsar) Robert Alexander 39.. Her Mother’s Hope and Her Daughter’s Dream both by Francine Rivers 40.. The Treasure Box; The Wishing Jar; The Memory Book; -Penelope Stokes 41.. The Edge of Eternity-Randy Alcorn 42.. All of Joel C. Rosenberg . Again read in order-Thrillers on middle East. 43.. The Music Box; The Book of Hours; Elixir; Imposter; Drummer in the Dark; and many more by this T. Davis Bunn 44.. The Welcoming Door-Kenny Kemp 45.. All of Dee Henderson, My favorites are the O’Malley series-read in order 46.. All of Brodie and Brock Thoene Read any of the series in order 47.. Terri Blackstock –Read series in order 48.. A Tendering in the Storm Jane Kirkpatrick 49.. Michael Phillips Series: The Rose; Celtic; 50.. Lessons from a Sheep Dog: Philip Keller 51.. R. J. Larson Prophet; Judge; King 3 books, read in order 52.. Sharon Hinck: The Restorer; The Restorer’s Son; Restorer’s Journey 53.. Foundation Series Issac Asmov Monty, One of the churches we were in had everyone in the church fill out what their major interests were. The leadership then broke the categories down into interest groups: Short Bible Study, Hiking, Fishing, Politics, Crafts, Books, Missions, Cooking, Powder Puff (women needing help with their cars, and the men who wanted to help them out) etc. etc. I went to the one on Books and came to love Winnie the Pooh even more from an adult’s viewpoint and a Christian outlook. Facilitators were selected from those who the staff felt could lead the group and keep them on track. I think the groups were for 6-8 week sessions, then we were able to switch to another topic. Each group had like interests, came to know each other because of those interest and always welcomed others in who wanted to know more about that groups topics. Each group ended with a potluck within the group and were encouragement to either stay in that group or try out another one. We all loved the positive fun and growth that came out of each group as well as getting to know many people in the church. The Pastor kept us on track for our Biblical training, outreach, and other opportunities for service to each other and in that particular community.

    I, like you Monty, love to find others that have read similar books and are willing to share what they’ve gleaned and grown from the books. A point of reference: I’m finding that the older we get, many my age and older, love to read but they forget immediately what they’ve read and have a hard time sharing. I take notes on my favorite parts and have those to share if anyone is interested in hearing them. Alas, just another challenge of getting older.

    Several moms have started book clubs for they and their pre-teen daughters.

    I’ve always shared with my grandkids and students that once you learn to read, the entire world is open to you and you can go anywhere you like. Destination Imagination….

    Thanks for you list. Now you know a bit more about me and mine. Are there any on your list that you would recommend after having seen the books on my list? Always open for good suggestions.

    Always His, Shirley

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