Fiction and Nonfiction Book Recommendations for Christians in their 20’s

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This episode is much more chill- we’re chatting about what books we’ve been reading lately!

To be honest- this was originally supposed to be about the books we’ve been reading in January, but Nathaniel miiiiight be digging into the past for some good reads. I (Xan) have set myself a goal of reading 52 books this year, so it’s fun to talk about our current reading lists. Maybe we’ll make this a regular thing we talk about!

Disclaimer: these are not necessarily endorsements!

Let us know- do you like audiobooks or physical copies? Can you read multiple books at a time or only one at a time? Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? What are you reading now?

Xan’s Current Reading List

I love listening to books on Audible because I can clean or do something else while I listen to them. (Trying to be “double-productive” is a conversation for another day…) Anyways, I’ve decided to only listen to fiction books and only physically read non-fiction this year.

#1: The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

This book was around 16 hours long, but it went by quicker than I was expecting! Fiction is pretty new to me- especially historical WWII fiction. But I heard this book recommended on a podcast, so I thought I would give it a try. It tells the story of a British (bonus points: it was read in a British accent!) friend group that decrypted messages from the Germans and Italians during WWII. It was so interesting and I learned so much!

I definitely would recommend this book! (There are some sex scenes, but they are mostly referenced, not illustrated. More than I would like, but not enough to give a huge word of caution).

#2: Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full by Gloria Furman

I’m in the middle of this one right now. Gloria Furman has written some other great books, like Labor With Hope. Treasuring Christ is about how the Gospel informs every facet of motherhood. It has been so applicable and relatable to this stage in life. What makes it unique is that it is genuinely just about the gospel. It isn’t necessarily written to be practical, but it is because the gospel is practical for everyday life! It has so many good quotes, so I want to see where those quotes are from to add to my “To-Read” list.

Bonus, it was a really, really easy read!

#3: Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris

This is another book I’m in the middle of right now! I posted about the Rose Code on Instagram, and my uncle texted me and gave me a lot of book recommendations that are similar to it. I added them all to my list and this was one of them. It’s kind of funny, because I’ve never really been into historical fiction, but I’m actually enjoying it!

Cilka’s Journey is about a girl who survives Auschwitz and is then sent to a Siberian prison camp post-WWII. It’s horribly sad, but I have heard it’s a story of perseverance and the human desire to survive. It has been so eye-opening because there is an innate desire to live.

It’s heavy, but I would still recommend it! I have grown to be pretty empathetic, so I can’t read a lot of things emotionally, but this book isn’t too bad.

#4: How to Heal Your Metabolism by Kate Deering

This book is in a completely different vein, but this is the last book that I’m currently reading!

It sounds like it would be a “five-steps-to-get-skinny” type of book (the fact that this is what we associate with metabolism is a rant for another day), but it’s not! It’s pretty matter-of-fact/ “textbook-y” and it talks all about food, sleep, exercise, and mental health. It gives a holistic perspective on your thyroid and healing your metabolic processes.

I started reading it because it has been referenced on a lot of podcasts that I listen to about pro-metabolic eating and ancient nutrition and eating for nourishment. Something I have wanted to take some steps toward for our family is eating to nourish our bodies. It’s cool and I am enjoying reading it!

Nathaniel’s Current Reading List

#1: God, Why this Evil? by Bruce Little

This book was written about the problem of evil. If you’ve been around a while, you know this is something that I wrestle with a lot. How could a God is all-powerful and all-loving allow evil and pain and suffering in this world? As Christians, we can just give general platitudes in response to suffering, which can be really difficult for people to listen to. Personally, I have gotten to a place where I feel comfortable with this issue, but it is still something I want to grow in my understanding of!

This book gives a pretty unique perspective, so I can’t fully endorse it, but it has given me a lot of helpful insight. We’ve been able to have some good conversations from it!

#2: What Did You Expect? by Paul David Tripp

This is a marriage book and I really love Tripp- he has so much wisdom and so many resources to offer to Christians, specifically in the area of counseling. He is a phenomenal author- I haven’t read anything by him that I haven’t liked.

I will say, his writing style was a little overdone. There were so many stories (which are great), but it was kind of overdone. Overall, however, there were great takeaways and I would definitely recommend it!

#3: The Lost Letters of Pergamum by Bruce Longenecker

I read this a couple of months ago for a class and I wasn’t really expecting to like it, but it was SO good. It’s a fictional account, but it’s based on as much reality as possible. It contains fictional letters between Luke, the physician (the author of the Gospel account named Luke and Acts), and a Roman civic leader. It takes you into the shoes of what it was like to be a first-century Christian. It’s incredibly powerful, moving, and emotionally stirring. It really increased my gratitude for what Christ has done for us and the difficulty and persecution that first-century Christians faced! You can read the account of Stephen being martyred in the Bible, but this book brings you into what it actually was like.

Another book I would recommend!

#4: Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Tim Keller

This is a pretty short book (more like a big pamphlet), but Keller is another author that I love- top five current theological influences!

It’s only three chapters- the first one was okay, but I loved the last two chapters. It is so helpful, especially in our current social climate where the answer to our issues is to focus on yourself and who you are, and who you want to be. There is freedom in self-forgetfulness and humility!

#5: “Begin Where You Are: How to Renew Your Prayer Life” by Joe Rigney on Desiring God

Technically, this is an article, not a book, but it was something good that I read this month! I found it to be a really helpful breakdown of prayer, specifically a breakdown of a book on prayer written by C.S. Lewis.

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