Who doesn’t love to feel inspired? There is something invigorating about being motivated to act, stimulated to change, and stirred to improve. As a lifelong reader, some of my most ardent moments of inspiration have come from reading great literature.
This past year I signed up for a program to write book reviews in exchange for free books. It was a win-win situation: not only was I blessed with tons of reading material, I was obligated to make time to read once I signed up for a book!
Today I am recommending some of these books to you. Though not all of these are new releases, I feel their material is fresh and relevant. Some are fiction; some are nonfiction; all, in one way or another, are inspiring.
Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World
by Gary Chapman & Arlene Pellicane
Of all the parenting books I’ve read, Growing Up Social is my favorite. Interesting stats, information, and anecdotes made the pages fly by. Not only did this book challenge me to be more responsible with my own technology usage, it was eye-opening for me as a parent. I totally recommend this read for parents and guardians.
by John C. Maxwell
If you have ever felt like you’ve made a mess of things and should just give up, this book is for you. Failing Forward will help you re-evaluate how you think and feel about failure. It’s full of inspirational, compelling stories that drive its points home.
Citizen: Your Role in the Alternative Kingdom
by Rob Peabody
Some people who have read this book feel that the material is too basic to be useful for anyone other than new Christians, but I didn’t see it that way. Citizen helped me think hard about what it really means to be a Christian — beyond going to church, praying, and living clean. If you read this book with a desire to be more like Jesus, I think it will inspire you.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
by Sean Covey
I only picked up The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens because I thought it would help me prepare for a Bible series I was writing. Afterward, I was so glad I read it! Though the book is aimed at teens and young adults, it served as a reminder even to me to make the kinds of choices that accumulate into a healthy, fulfilling life.
The Girl in the Dress
by Lori Wagner with Gwyn Oakes, Mary Loudermilk, and Marjorie Kinnee
Do you ever have questions about modesty? This book is SO good! It covers just about every angle of modesty you can think of. The material is excellent for personal study and for group Bible studies. Even though it’s written specifically toward younger ladies, I think godly women of any age will benefit from reading and mulling over this material.
The Circle Maker
by Mark Batterson
Mark Batterson says, “Drawing prayer circles around our dreams isn’t just a mechanism whereby we accomplish great things for God. It’s a mechanism whereby God accomplishes great things in us.” The Circle Maker is one of those books you know you should probably read more than once. The book’s premise is built around the legend of Honi the Circle Maker, a man bold enough to draw a circle in the sand and refuse to budge until God answered his prayer.
by Brandilyn Collins
This Christian suspense novel is a fascinating look at the reality of what would happen if terrorists hit our electrical grid system. I was hooked from the beginning, and I especially admired the vivid way Brandilyn Collins brought her characters to life.
Havah: The Story of Eve
by Tosca Lee
Havah: The Story of Eve is a dramatized account of the story of Adam and Eve. Though there were a few things I found silly and unrealistic, this book affected me in a way I never expected upon opening its pages. As I finished its final chapters, I was trying not to cry. Afterwards, when the last page closed, I did cry. I cried for the very real relationship with God that was lost when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden. I cried because we are so broken. I cried because though the details were penned from an author’s imagination, the story is true, and it is the story of all of us.
Fireflies in December
by Jennifer Erin Valent
I haven’t read To Kill a Mockingbird since middle school, but if I remember right, it’s safe to say Fireflies in December follows in the same vein. Fireflies in December is the first of a three-book series, and I hope for the chance to read the rest. It’s not hard to see how Jennifer Erin Valent won the Christian Writers Guild’s Operation Novel contest with this great book about love and prejudice.
by Beth Wiseman
I love a book that reminds me that many, many people don’t live the cushy lives that we do as Americans. In The Promise, the main character ends up making a dangerous journey to Pakistan to (possibly) marry a Pakistani man in a desperate attempt to save his leukemia-ridden daughter. I won’t give away the book, but her good intentions backfire drastically.
The funny thing about this book was that as I read, I actually thought it was quite a stretch of a story—until I read the back of the book and realized that it was based on true events. Commentary at the end of the book revealed that a surprisingly high number of women fall prey to these types of schemes. Very eye-opening.
(If you’re interested in reading this book, you may want to check out my full review here first.)
Elephant & Piggie Series
by Mo Willems
I have a two-year-old, so children’s books are part of my daily life. I couldn’t see putting together a list of books without recommending a good children’s book! Mo Willems has written many award-winning books, but his Elephant & Piggie series are my favorite.
Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.
Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.
Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.
Gerald and Piggie are best friends.
Whether you have a toddler or a child learning to read, Elephant and Piggie are loads of fun!
My list of great reads would be lacking without making mention of the Bible. No other book is as life-changing; no other book is as vital; no other book is as inspiring. I hope you read tons of great books this year, but let the Word of God be your most treasured volume of all.
Do you have any favorite reads? We’d love it if you told us about them in the comments!