I'm Not Oprah, but Here's a Book List

8:22 PMHeather

One of the things I loved most about living in Lampasas, Texas, was the sense of community. I guess that is what I loved about my Baylor days, too--when I would walk across campus and bump into someone I knew. Having lived in the area for fourteen years now, I LOVE that I often bump into people I know. In those moments, I can pretend I don't live in the middle of the HUGE metroplex. And, it seems that my chiropractor's office is inevitably an old time reunion. Of course, it might have something to do with the fact that she is a friend from church, and approximately half the congregation also sees her.

So, yesterday, I wasn't too surprised to hear the voice of my friend, Rachel, as she turned the corner into the chiropractor's therapy room. She apologized for interrupting my reading, which sparked a conversation about good books. And, it had me thinking. Not much I love more than a good book. Oh, how I feel like I'm seven-years-old again when I walk out of the library with a stack of good books. Reading is such a great way to spend my time--and it's a habit I'm working to be more intentional about.

So, of course, I thought of you. I mean, if I'm going to share some book recommendations with my friend Rachel, then I should do the same for you, my bloggy friends! First, let me tell you what I don't like to read. I long ago gave up most self-help type of books. Sure, I pored over parenting books as a new mom. But, then I had my second child and my on-the-job training consumed my time. And, honestly, after high school, college, and then grad school in rapid succession--I just don't want to read a textbook, theory spouting type books. Let's face it--I just want to be entertained.

I am also not much on romance novels. I know there are TONS of great romance books out there. The fact that I don't enjoy them now is ironic since I spent most my teen years consumed with Janette Oke books. But, those pioneer romance books have lost their appeal to me. And, for the most part, I just prefer Christian fiction. This is not so much a conviction as a preference. There are countless books with GREAT writing that are not published by Christian publishing houses. And occasionally, I'll really enjoy plugging through one. But, a few years ago, I tried to read a mystery so laced with foul language and other immoralities that I nearly felt violated.

I am also a bit of a snob about the quality of writing. I cannot stand a book with bad dialogue. Even when I read a book with a great plot line, I usually can't stomach finishing it after reading things that real people would actually never say. And, really weak and predictable story lines also throw me off.

So, let me tell you what I DO love reading. As I said, I love Christian fiction--particularly mystery or suspense. I don't mind a touch of romance, but I love action. (Weird--because when it comes to movies, I much prefer romantic comedies over action). Let me introduce you to some of my favorite authors. Because that is usually how I choose books. I find an author I love and then I read everything by them that I can get my hands on.

For something a little more heavy, I love Joel C. Rosenberg. His books are political thrillers and a fictional interpretation of how end time events might play out in the political sphere. To me, they are a bit more intellectual--but then again, maybe too many of my brain cells have been fried through pregnancies and mothering. There is a touch of romance and very intricate and complex plot lines with detailed depictions of a wide assortment of characters. So get to know these people through these books: The Last Jihad, The Last Days, The Ezekiel Option, The Copper Scroll, and Dead Heat.

One of my most favorite authors is James Scott Bell. He is an attorney, so there is a bit of a John Grisham feel to them. They are good mysteries, although they don't involve the complex twists and turns of Joel C. Rosenberg. But, he does a nice job of painting a picture of his characters. Some of his books include Deceived, No Legal Grounds, and Deadlock. For a more meaty Grisham-esque feel, I enjoy Robert Whitlow. Unlike most male authors, Whitlow does dialogue well. In fact, the series I've just read were written first person from the female main character--and they were quite believable! But, Whitlow's books aren't so clearly defined by genre because he is rather diverse. So you may want to pick up one of these: Deeper Water, Higher Hope, Greater Love, The Trial, Life Everlasting, and The List--which was even made into a movie.

And, here is a miscellaneous list of a few other favorite authors:

Terri Blackstock
Dee Henderson
Kathy Herman
Sharon Carter Rogers
Shirlee McCoy
Ted Dekker (although some get a bit weird for me)
Brandilyn Collins
Kristen Heitzmann
Davis Bunn
Colleen Coble

Well, and just to prove that I am a complicated soul, let me offer you those recommendations that break my general rules and interests. For non-fiction, my two favorite reads as of late are the timeless Same Kind of Different As Me by Denver Moore and Ron Hall and The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven by Kevin and Alex Malarkey. And, as far as parenting books--yep, couple of exceptions there. I keep a copy of Lisa Whelchel's Creative Correction in my bedside table. It is definitely one to own because if you're like me, you'll reference it often. And, as I've blogged about before, Dannah Gresh's Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl. OH--and one more exception. As far as that pioneer era romance novel? You gotta read Francine River's Redeeming Love. I dug my heels in for years, but regretted it once I devoured that book last year.

INTENTIONAL challenge: Our youngest, Caris, has recently begun to discover the thrill of diving into a book on her own. She is graduating into shorter chapter books and loving it! Truly, there is nothing like getting lost in a great book. You know--the thrill of a story line that makes it hard to put the book down, even though you know it'll be right at the same point tomorrow exactly where you left your book mark? So, what about your favorites? Don't hold out on us--please comment below. I'll be heading to the library soon for a fresh stack and could use some good recommendations!

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