I’ve been a nerd for books my entire life. Want proof? When she scanned the above photo, my mom labeled it, “Mary fell asleep reading…again.”
[In case you’re wondering, yes, I do have an entire file of dorky photos from my youth. It’s labeled “Childhood” and contains such photographic treasures as a picture of me with spelling bee trophies, a snapshot of me when I got a dictionary for my birthday (and loved it) and more. I’m not even kidding about being a nerd.]
One of the great things about being an adult is that it’s no longer embarrassing to be a nerd for books. (And, based on the number of “cool” people wearing those chunky glasses, dork is the new cool.) That’s why I love that (in)courage has created a home for those of us who love reading! Today, I’m excited to tell you about a few of my favorite books.
It was actually hard to pick just a handful of books to call my favorites here. Not because I’ve read so many books, although that certainly was a factor. But because I gravitate toward series of books, and I wasn’t sure if an entire series fit the criteria for a “favorite book.”
Then I decided that this nerd would, for once, just go ahead and break the rules. Of the online book club. Yep, I’m a rebel. So, without further ado, here are a few of my favorite books/series.
The Baxter Series by Karen Kingsbury: I had no idea what an emotional journey I was beginning when I picked up Redemption, the first of several series based on a family (the Baxters) in Indiana. Each of the books was illuminating on at least one family situation or topic, drawing me in and making me care so deeply about these characters. I’m pretty sure I haven’t made it through a single one without crying at least once, and a couple of the books reduced me to the ugly cry on the couch. But even though I finish each book emotionally drained (not my usual goal when reading a novel!), they are so worth it.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett: I’m sure you’ve heard of this one. Book clubs across the nation and internet have read and raved about this novel set in Mississippi in the 1960s. The central theme is civil rights, but the story is told through the unique voices of women both black and white whose lives are intertwined. The book is long – but not long enough. I didn’t want it to end! Whether or not it stands the test of time and stays on my list of faves remains to be seen. But since I read it last year, I haven’t read another novel nearly as moving or captivating.
Maggie Needs An Alibi by Kasey Michaels: Here’s where I admit that my reading tastes are what you might call varied. While I enjoy inspirational fiction and the thick books that make it to a certain talk show host’s book club, I also love indulging in what I call fluff. This book (and, actually, it’s a short series as well) falls firmly in that category – and I love it. This paperback novel features a writer whose main character – a Regency era detective and gentleman – somehow comes to life and moves into her apartment. It’s kind of a romance, kind of a mystery, and a whole lot of fun.
If you like that sort of thing. Which I do.
The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns: I did not want to read this book. It terrified me. I agreed to read and review it, but after hearing so many people rave about how it changed their lives, I put it on my bedside table and let it collect dust for nearly a year. When I finally found the courage to read it, I was deeply affected. I don’t think you can read Stearns’ incredible story or the heartbreaking statistics about world hunger and not be moved. It’s not a quick – or easy – read, but The Hole in Our Gospel is probably the most important book I’ve read outside the Bible.
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum: My favorite genre is the mystery. And if it’s a mystery involving spies? Well, then, that’s even better. I read the Bourne series before the movies came out, and I loved them. (Okay, that’s not true. I didn’t love Bourne Ultimatum, which is why I’m listing the first book here instead of the whole series!) Exciting, complex – both in logistics of the story and the characters’ personalities – and never predictable, Bourne Identity is my favorite spy thriller by far.
Deadline by Randy Alcorn: I read this novel in high school as an idealistic teenager planning an exciting, meaningful career in journalism. It makes sense that a book about a journalist would have caught my attention, but now that nearly 20 years have passed and my life (and career) have taken turns I didn’t expect, it’s even more interesting to think about this book. Amazon even describes it as offering hope “for every reader who longs to feel purpose in life” – something I struggle with today. Now that I think about it, I’m going to find a copy and read this one again!
Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist: Both of these books were filled with essays that I treasured and savored, even as I wondered how the author had gotten inside my head. Together, these books and I walked through some emotions I had stuffed deep inside. And then they taught me to be a better writer.
What are YOUR favorite books? What type of books do YOU enjoy reading most?
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