Are you looking for books to give to friends and family? Here’s a list of old and new titles worth considering (and of course I hope Small Talk and A Good and Perfect Gift would still provide hope and encouragement even a few years after publication, so you can consider those a part of this list as well!):
Very Married: Field Notes on Love and Fidelity
by Katherine Willis Pershey
“Very Married is, without question, the very best book on marriage I have ever read—and I have read many.”
—Eugene H. Peterson, author of The Message, from foreword
“Very Married is the book we have all been waiting for: hopeful, inclusive, practical, theological, honest talk about the complex sacrament of marriage as both reality to be lived and metaphor to be embodied. Pershey is a pastor at her core, and on every page of this book, her calling is evident and wholehearted. I’m grateful for her honesty, for her wisdom, for her work in this conversation. Now when I’m asked to recommend a book about marriage, I finally have an answer: Very Married!”
—Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist and Out of Sorts
Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life
by Tish Harrison Warren
“In her debut, Anglican priest Warren shows readers how to turn the mundane and often frustrating aspects of daily life into a reflection on the sacred. Working her way through a typical day—her morning routine, busywork such as checking email, fights with her spouse—Warren seamlessly blends together lived realities with theological reflections. Her writing is lyrical and often humorous, and she has a gift for making theological concepts seem easy to understand and (perhaps most importantly) easy to live. ”
–Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review
Still Life: A Memoir of Living Fully with Depression
by Gillian Marchenko
“In this intimate memoir, Gillian Marchenko exposes her deepest, most painful struggles with humor and grace. More than a story of acceptance, compassion and hope; this book is a celebration of life.”
-Kelley Clink, author of A Different Kind of Same
The Story of Noah’s Ark: A Spark Bible Story (Spark Bible Stories)
by Caryn Rivadeneira
This fun retelling of the classic Bible story makes the characters and wild and wavy events come alive for preschool-age children. A parent guide is included.
The Pug List: A Ridiculous Little Dog, a Family Who Lost Everything, and How They All Found Their Way Home
by Alison Hodgson
“The Pug List is an honest memoir about loss as Hodgson reveals that an arsonist set her family’s house on fire, the struggles they faced, and the journey toward healing they are still on. It’s heartwarming, wry, and hilarious, as well.”
– Grand Rapids Magazine
Moments & Days: How Our Holy Celebrations Shape Our Faith
by Michelle Van Loon
People rarely slow down to experience their days, and so they feel rushed through life even as they begin to suspect that life lacks significance. By introducing (and reintroducing) us to the feasts and festivals of the Bible, as well as the special celebrations of the Christian calendar, Moments and Days restores a sacred sense of time throughout our year, enriching our experience of each “holy day” and enlivening our experience of even the most “ordinary time.”
Michelle Van Loon helps us treasure our time as a gift and a spiritual responsibility, and God as faithfully present in all our moments and days.
So Long Status Quo: What I Learned From the Women Who Changed the World
by Susy Flory
So Long, Status Quo is the powerful story of how nine amazing historical women inspired a suburban mom to abandon her safe, sheltered, vanilla existence for a life of passion, service, and significance. With challenging insight and honesty, Susy Flory shares about her struggles with selfishness and complacency and tells how the lives of these fascinating women challenged her to get up off her couch and embark on a quest for something more. Venturing into unusual and even dangerous places, she followed their example and found herself serving needy children on a secret humanitarian mission to Cuba, feeding the homeless, sharing her faith in pagan communities, and selling her jewelry to fund freshwater wells in Darfur, Sudan
A Beautiful Disaster: Finding Hope in the Midst of Brokenness
by Marlena Graves
Where is God in our living hells and in our lives of quiet desperation–in the friction and difficulties of the mundane? In this book, Marlena Graves reflects on how God uses the desert wildernesses of the soul to form us into the image of Christ.
“A Beautiful Disaster offers up a rich blend of theology, devotional, and memoir–and at times breaks into sheer poetry. Marlena Graves is one of the most gifted thinkers and writers of her generation.”
–Karen Swallow Prior
Teach Us to Want: Longing, Ambition and the Life of Faith
by Jen Pollock Michel
Teach Us to Want: Longing, Ambition and the Life of Faith won Christianity Today’s 2015 Book of the Year. With “breathtakingly beautiful prose, inviting stories, and disarming candor, Michel dives deep into the Scriptures,” writes Bronwyn Lea of Englewood Review of Books. “She traces out how sin has made ruin of all our wants . . .but reminds us that this is not where the story ends.”
Dare Mighty Things: Mapping the Challenges of Leadership for Christian Women
by Halee Gray Scott
What keeps Christian women from fully flourishing as people of influence? It’s not that Christian women cannot or do not want to lead; it’s that their way is fraught with roadblocks. In Dare Mighty Things, Halee unpacks the results of seven years of original research, tackling the top challenges for Christian women, including what prevents Christian women from seeing themselves as leaders and how the myth that only ‘exceptional’ Christian women can lead hurts all Christian women. Dare Mighty Things is a guidebook for women navigating the difficult waters of leadership. Packed with helpful advice and strategies for success, it will challenge you to claim your God-given potential and lead with confidence, poise, and grace.
Wholehearted Living: Five-Minute Reflections for Modern Moms
by Jennifer Grant
Author Jennifer Grant presents a smart, accessible, and inspiring book for moms who don’t have much time, but long to connect deeply with their families, friends, and with God. Designed to be a daily moment of peace and reflection, Wholehearted Living addresses the authentic concerns, fears, and joys that women experience as they strive against the imperfect “have it all” mentality. Every month presents its own practice relating to reflection, risk, or rest, and each page echoes the needs of modern moms. Wholehearted Living doesn’t try to change who you are, it helps you thrive where you are.
Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me
by Karen Swallow Prior
For Karen Swallow Prior, books were her backwards path back to God. Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me draws on classics like Great Expectations, delights such as Charlotte’s Web, the poetry of Hopkins and Donne, and more in a journey both spiritual and literary. This thoughtful, straight-up memoir will be pure pleasure for book-lovers, teachers, and anyone who has struggled to find a way to articulate the inexpressible through a love of story.
Known and Loved: 52 Devotions from the Psalms
by Caryn Rivadeneira
Through short narratives and biblical application, readers explore what the psalms have to say about who God is and who God says we are.
The Missional Mom: Living with Purpose at Home & in the World
by Helen Lee
The Missional Mom gives mothers a more expansive vision for the purpose of their parenting, beyond themselves and their children toward the larger mission to which God has called their family. Its message helps to liberate moms from the cultural traps that can bind their motherhood journeys and to encourage and inspire them through the stories of missional moms all around the world.
Photo Courtesy of StefSince1985