After a recent speaking engagement, I was asked for some book recommendations. Having expended a great deal of mental energy into the talks I’d just given, I felt a little brain dead and came up with only a few favorites. I did recall and mention, however, this earlier post that includes a variety of nonfiction related to literature as well as some fiction (both CBA and literary). That earlier post also talks about starting a book club.
Because I wrote that post several years ago, it’s definitely time for an update. I also need to clarify something I said in front of the group. I spoke about finding one of Lynn Austin‘s books particularly meaningful when it described the struggle of Dutch settlers, and I’m pretty sure I gave an incorrect title. The book I was referring to is Waves of Mercy. But if you picked up Wings of Refuge, you’re also enjoy reading about how a woman’s archaeological adventure leads to a new understanding of the Middle East and her marriage. Lynn is a humble, godly woman who reminds me of Elisabeth Elliot.
Another favorite author in the Christian fiction genre is Ann Tatlock. In Every Secret Thing, a teacher learns how to cope with the present when she learns how to deal with the past. I’ll Watch the Moon is about a girl’s growing maturity while her brother is hospitalized with polio.
Jeanette Windle grew up as a missionary kid and spent many adult years in missionary contexts in foreign countries. This real life experience lends verisimilitude to her suspenseful books, and her painstaking research results in such remarkably accurate descriptions that she has been questioned by drug enforcement agencies about how she knew so much about their work.
I haven’t read any of the Amish novels written by Dale Cramer, but I enjoy the blue-collar male protagonists in some of his other books. One of my favorites is his Bad Ground, which is a coming of age novel with a young man who learns about work and relationships. His Summer of Light is a delightful novel about an unemployed husband and father who discovers a lot about himself and his family.
When it comes to literary fiction, the first name that comes to mind is Larry Woiwode. I had the privilege of participating in a week-long fiction workshop under his direction a few years ago (you can find my posts about that here, here, here, here, and here). Larry’s published works include novels, a memoir, and helpful books on writing.
Bret Lott has written many literary novels as well as an excellent book on writing, Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, On Being a Christian.
Charles Martin is a fresh voice who skillfully constructs his plots in a way that keeps the reader guessing. I love When Crickets Cry, and I’m pretty excited to see the movie based on his The Mountain Between Us.
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson is one of my favorite novels. I love its imagery and mystery. I’m not a huge fan of her other fiction, but this one shines with luminous writing.
Island of the World by Michael O’Brien is a beautiful and tragic book about great loss with healing through faith. This is a difficult book to read, but one that shows redemption through Christ.
To Kill a Mickingbird by Harper Lee may be my favorite American novel. I also enjoy several Victorian authors, especially Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Anthony Trollope.
I hope you find these reading recommendations helpful. Feel free to leave a comment. If you’re interested in my work, hop over to my new author page on Facebook and comment there.