Hey friends, today for real talk I’d like to share about reading and specifically the books that have helped shape who I am. I admit – I am a reader for the soul! Many people read simply to educate themselves, look smarter, sound smarter in conversations… but I read because it truly enriches my life. We all know reading is “important” and we even say it out loud and teach our children this. We know it’s educational and improves our grammar and vocabulary… or something like that! However, so many of us never actual commit to a life of reading! There are few things that can transport us to another world, enlighten us, inspire us, encourage us, and fill our world when it seems so empty. Reading can do all that. It is ACTUALLY important. Because reading is powerful we must be careful what books we choose. I always look for books that have four qualities that are important to me. I also really love reading a series of books rather than one novel, although I’ll read both. I just LOVE novels!
Inspirational Women: I want to read about women who are empowered and work to help others. One of my favorite authors is Tracie Peterson because she continuously writes about girls in cultures that are oppressive to women’s rights or where it’s socially unacceptable for women to stand up and do what men do. Her leading ladies often fight social injustices, break cultural norms, and help revolutions of worthy causes!
Worthy Relationships: I want to read books about relationships that are actually attainable. I want to read about men who are REAL – not perfect but still aiming to be good person and lover of the Lord. Men who are great husbands but still make mistakes. So many “romance” novels leave women and girls who read them with a false perspective on relationships and men. However, there are also ladies out there who have forgotten or never known that good Godly men exists. I love books that represent men well. You may read my posts (and the above quality on empowering women) and think I’m just a feminist and the role of men is of lesser importance than of women. Not true… I am for men as much as I am for women. Good men are just a whole lot harder to find.
God at the Center: Yeah, some of you might not like this quality, oh well. There’s so much negativity, grossness, media related crap out there on tv and radio… my reading time must remain sacred. I don’t have any room for filth in my reading life because it truly seeps into my soul. I can’t imagine NOT having read some of these amazing fiction novels that just so happen to feature a character who loves God. I don’t read ANY books that shove God down anyone’s throat, let’s be clear! Simply, faith is an element in the story telling and the characters written struggle with their faith just like I have. It makes me feel like I’m not alone and I even grow from it. This element of reading for me has been the most transformational. Even if you are not a believer in God – I still recommend all the books mentioned in this post for you! You will find them filled with a kind of hope that you cannot find anywhere else.
Recommendations: The Alaskan Quest series by Tracie Peterson
Challenging: Similar to what I just said above about “growth” sometimes I need to challenge myself. This can be done by some awesome fiction novels like Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers that totally rocked my view on marriage (in a GREAT way!)… or with books related to my field which is helping teenagers. If you are a parent or work with young people you simply MUST read Help! My Kids Are Hurting by Marv Penner. I try to balance one “growth” book for every fiction novel.
Other Recommendations: Hope and Healing for Kids Who Cut by Marv Penner, The Teaming Church by Robert C. Crosby, The Youth Worker’s Guide to Helping Teenagers in Crisis by Rich Van Pelt and Jim Hancock
I encourage you to start reading one of the books I recommend! I hope that after sharing some of these books you can read to find them as life changing as they were for me. I actually surprised myself when I started to read “Christian” novels… especially ones about amish people and women from another century. I NEVER EVER thought I’d like anything related to those topics! Now I literarily cannot get enough. I beg you to give these books a chance! You can pick up these books at CBD – my favorite place to buy! Like me, you may want to buy the digital version and save a tree. Also, you can follow me on Goodreads here.
What are qualities that are important to you when choosing YOUR next book?
Any recommendations for me? I’d love to hear what you’re reading. Leave a comment below!