June 21 is the first day of summer. Americans aged 20-54 spend an average of 11 minutes reading for leisure each day. Why not make it your goal to dive into some great books over the next four months? To help you get started, we've come up with a list of non-fiction titles—some old, some new —that will feed your heart and your mind for at least 11 minutes each day!
Become a mountain mover: Action-oriented nonfiction
1. The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love with the God Jesus Knows by James Bryan Smith (Intervarsity Press, June 2009)
This interactive book acknowledges the power of our thoughts and tests our ideas about God against the realities of the God that Scripture reveals.
Do you genuinely desire to share your faith but struggle with finding the right method? This book collects years of Hybels and Mittelberg's experiences in ministry and contains practical insights that will help you develop your personal evangelistic style.
3. Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (HarperOne, May 2009)
This classic guide to spiritual formation chronicles minister and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer's experiences in an underground seminary in Nazi-controlled Germany in 1945 with enduring potency and sophistication.
4. So Long Insecurity: You've Been a Bad Friend to Us by Beth Moore (Tyndale House Publishers, 2010)
Do you struggle with certain insecurities? Beth Moore shows you how to say goodbye to your insecurities by discovering truths through God that will set you free emotionally and spiritually.
Being a follower of Christ is more than saying a prayer or believing certain things. David Platt reveals what it means to truly be a committed follower of Christ, and emphasizes the importance of going wherever God calls you to.
Relationship tips: Tools for marriage, parenting, and spiritual friendship
1. What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage by Paul David Tripp (Crossway, April 2012)
Tripp shares six practical directives that will help you and your spouse foster the kind of relationship that responds daily to God's grace and reconciliation, preparing you to weather stormy seasons armed with understanding and love.
2. We Are Our Mothers' Daughters by Cokie Roberts (HarperCollins, April 2010)
Roberts celebrates womanhood in her collection of stories about powerful women in all of their roles: as wife, mother, sister, friend, advocate, advisor, colleague, and more. A tribute to individuality and giftedness, this book serves as an encouraging reminder that we all have a unique role to play.
3. Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson (Crossway, May 2011)
Rather than just telling your children to "be good," Give Them Grace offers a revolutionary parenting method that will help you encourage your kids to desire to do good because of the immense goodness their Creator has shown them.
4. Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney (Crossway, June 2012)
This is not another how-to. Drawn from the teachings of Titus 2, Mahaney speaks as a wise and seasoned mentor. Her humble, graceful spirit permeates the pages of this book, and makes for a read that feels like an afternoon over coffee with your wisest friend.
Inspirational reads: Stories of victory over hardship
After years of participating in an underground ministry in Iran, these two women found themselves in one of the most dangerous prisons in the world. Even under constant risk of torture and execution, they boldly continued to witness for Christ. This is the story of how his faithfulness prevailed.
2. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House, November 2010)
From the bestselling author of Seabiscuit, this book follows the story of Louie Zamperini on his journey from juvenile delinquency to the Olympic games to the middle of an ocean where his Air Force bomber left him stranded. His is a story of hope, survival, and the unyielding endurance of the human spirit.
3. A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny by Amy Julia Becker (Bethany House, 2011)
Amy Julia Becker never expected to be the mother of a special needs child, but when her daughter Penny was born with Down syndrome, she learned invaluable lessons about the kind of dependency on God and others that leads to unexpected joy.
Balance and community
It is one of our most basic needs and most frequent sources of anxiety—you may think about what you eat, but do you think about how you eat? Stone covers everything from eating disorders to sustainable agriculture in this thoughtful work.
Are you a young professional? In the middle of the conversation about women in business, Paddison's voice stands out among the crowd as being distinctly Christian. One word for this mother of four, two-time former Fortune 500 executive, and founder of a nonprofit: balance.
3. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain (Crown, January 2012)
Cain explains the phenomenon of what she terms the "extrovert ideal" and uses psychological and biological research to reveal the truth about introverts' unique position in our society of noise. This book is a smart read for introverts and extroverts alike.
4. Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist (Zondervan, April 2013)
This fun read is part-memoir, part-application with recipes and tips on the importance of friendship, humor, and spiritual insights in everyday life.
Faith and psychology
1. Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church's Mission by Amy Simpson (Intervarsity, April 2013).
Troubled Minds delves into the stigma surrounding mental illness and calls the church to break its pervasive silence and respond as the true body of Christ. This book doesn't settle for quaint answers but speaks out of confidence in a God whose truth and love inform everything we see, do, and think.
2. Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander (Simon & Schuster, October 2012)
As a neuroscientist who previously disregarded near-death experiences as fantasies, Alexander was faced with a new reality when he had one of his own. His experience brought him to faith in Christ, and he is now a new voice for the reconciliation of faith and science in a culture of materialism.
1. Embrace Your Worth: Flourising Faith, Devotional Studies to Fit Your Life by Kelli B. Trujillo (Wesleyan Publishing House, January 2013)
Flourishing Faith helps you encounter God through a series of daily exercises that will nourish your sense of curiosity and create excitement in your spiritual walk.
Directed toward mothers, Rivadeneira uses the stories of women like you to explore ten different aspects of womens' identities, and explains how the Psalms speak to our deepest felt needs.
3. Hinds' Feet on High Places: The Original and Complete Allegory with a Devotional for Women by Hannah Hurnard and Darien B. Cooper (Destiny Image, February 2013)
Are you in the midst of a tough season of life? Cooper puts a new spin on this classic allegory with a devotional guide made specifically for women. Find encouragement in the truth of God's purposes for your hardships.
This book synthesizes the timeless work of one of the most graceful, eloquent Christian authors of the 20th century. Glimpses of Grace ranges from personal reflections on family life to intellectual insights on faith, and addresses questions of the heart with whimsical fiction.
What are you reading this summer? What fiction titles would you add to this list? Read TCW's top fiction picks at this link, and share your summer picks in the comments section below.