Sacred Marriage--This is my favorite book about marriage. So much so that Jared and I give it as a wedding gift to every couple we know. Rather than focus each person in a relationship on how to get his or her needs met more effectively, it makes grace a huge priority in the relationship. And it emphasizes the purpose of marriage as a relationship designed to draw each of us closer to Christ and make us more like Christ rather than setting it up as a vending machine designed to give us what we want if we just press all the right buttons.
The Phantom Tollbooth--One of my childhood favorites that I have re-read several times as an adult and enjoyed sharing with my children as well. It is so smart, so clever, so interesting, and so creative. (And the movie is really good too. But don't skip the book.)
The Prodigal God--This book is so excellent, as are pretty much all of Tim Keller's writings. And it could be just me, but there is something about the perspective of this book that caused almost a complete shift in my thinking. I grew up "in the church," and for the most part it never occurred to me to question what I learned at church early in life. But this book caused me to re-visit so many of those old familiar stories with fresh eyes and realize that Jesus is the common thread in EVERY story of the Bible whether or not they were taught to me that way when I was young. The prodigal son isn't just about a younger brother learning a lesson about responsibility and a Father's love and grace. It's about Jesus being the truer, better older brother rather than the Pharisee in this story. Such a seemingly simple truth, but one that I'm not sure ever would have occurred to me until I read this book. Really good stuff.
What to Expect When You're Expecting--This probably seems like a weird one to include on a list like this, but I have to say it really is an excellent book. It is packed with helpful information in a very organized and accessible format. Pretty much a must own for any Mommy-to-be, and I know several right now, so I'm throwing it in there! :-D
The Hobbit--I "had to" read this book for the first time when I was in 5th grade. I remember rolling my eyes and having a bad attitude at first. But WOW--what a FANTASTIC adventure! I had no idea what a treat I would experience in the pages of that book. I need to read it (and the Lord of the Rings trilogy) again soon.
Gospel Wakefulness--Yes, I'm probably a bit partial about this one. Maybe. I don't know. You'll have to let me know after you read it. ;-) But in all honesty, this is the best book I've ever read that fully focuses on the POWER of Christ and states very clearly that there is nothing we can do to control it. It is not a self-help book. There is no checklist of things to do in order to achieve Gospel Wakefulness. But there is astonishment and glorious celebration in the power of the Gospel. It is such a fresh (and in my opinion needed) perspective.
The Chronicles of Narnia series--I mean, duh, right? Shouldn't this be on any respectable list of favorite books? :-D
The Jesus Storybook Bible--I cannot say enough about this book. Every household in the world should own at least one copy. We have 3. One that we use regularly, and one stored away in each of Macy and Grace's keepsake boxes to be used with their own kids someday. And that's probably not enough. I just hope it never goes out of print. This book is exceptional. It makes me weep almost every time I read it--in a good and healthy and How-could-this-Jesus-love-me-so-much? kind of way. If you have kids, get one for each of them and one for the family to share. If you don't have kids, get one anyway. The perspective is one that even adults will benefit from. I promise. This book might just change your life at any age. It is that good.
The Oak Inside the Acorn--I think of this as sort of a Godly spin on Dr. Seuss's "Oh the Places You'll Go" (which is also a great book, btw). This is my favorite Max Lucado book by far (and he has written some excellent stuff for sure). Gentle and sweet, it nevertheless strongly emphasizes the presence of a mighty oak inside each little acorn and the need for those acorns to eventually venture out of the protective shade of the tree they fell from and find their place to grow. Poignant for parents. Inspiring for kids. Precious for any age.
NOW--What are yours? I'm always looking for recommendations!