For the past twenty years I have read at least fifty books per year. I think it started when I was just a boy and my mom didn’t discourage me from reading comic books but encouraged the fact that I was interested in reading at all. Over the years I’ve moved on from comics (but occasionally enjoy going back for a little Spider Man) and have become fairly broad-based in my reading.
As Christmas approaches, in my opinion, there’s not a better gift to give than a good book. But only if it really is a good book. So, here are some books I’m recommending this holiday season. But don’t take my word that they are good—read them yourself!
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This was hands down my favorite read of the year. It can actually be found in the young adult section at Borders but it’s a great book for adults of all ages. It is a work of fiction and has a wonderful storyline that you won’t be able to put down.
Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. I actually read this one twice. If I could write my own worldview, this would be it. Rob writes from a Christian perspective but he doesn’t smack you over the head with his faith. This is a tremendous gift for anyone who might want to explore the Christian faith in a very engaging way.
The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman. This one isn’t quite as easy to read but it’s worth working your way through. It explores our global economy, discusses the effects of the superior education of foreign nations and enlightens on how outsourcing is turning the world market upside down.
The Secret by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller. Mark Miller is the Vice President of Leadership Development at Chik-Fil-A. This book contains the secrets of Chick-Fil-A’s amazingly successful leadership development program. Once you read it, it will no longer be secret!
Too Small To Ignore by Wess Stafford. Wess Stafford is the President and CEO of Compassion International. This should be required reading for every person living in the United States. Once you read it you will never look at another child in the same way. It contains a fascinating story based on the truth of growing up both in Africa and North America.
Second Guessing God by Brian Jones. Brian asks some hard questions in this book (questions we’ve probably all asked at one time or another), and gives honest and insightful answers.
Chazown by Craig Groeshel. If you liked The Purpose Driven Life, then you’ll enjoy this new book by Groeshel. Very pragmatic exercises to help you discover why you’re here and what you should be doing.
The Secret Message Of Jesus by Brian McLaren. This one’s a bit deeper read, but well worth the effort. Brian offers a fresh look at the life and teachings of Jesus—a look that shouldn’t be missed.
What It Means To Be A Buckeye by Jim Tressel. Actually, this book is a compilation of stories written by OSU football players over the past several decades. If you want to give a great gift to a sports fan . . . you can’t miss with this!
im impressed with 50 books a year. thats amazing! excellent recommendations. mike.
Greg, Your recommended reading list should be made permanent somewhere on the Rivertree site! Pretty please?
I remember the first book you gave me, Weaveworld by Clive Barker. I wasn’t reading much way back then. After reading so much for school I associated books as chores. You were the one to bring the joy of books back to me. I never forgot that, but I don’t think I ever truly Thanked you. Actually, I ended up devouring most of Barker’s books until there were none left. The vivid pictures he paints with words, both light and dark, captivated me.
The day this blog entry went up, I went and got The Book Thief, which I’m reading now, and a few others. Zusak’s use of language is so concise and creative I catch myself rereading phrases just for the joy of it.
Thanks again, Greg! After seeing your old coat closet filled almost completely with books of all kinds, I trust few other than you to author a recommended reading list.
Thanks for recommendation for “Chazown” by Craig Groeschel. Great book.
Groeschel also wrote “Confessions of A Pastor”–an interesting insight into the struggles and weaknesses of a pastor–a valuable insight to realize that our pastors are just sinful men like the rest of us. A must read!
Pastor Greg – thanks so much for your recommended reading list. I got Joe “Velvet Elvis” for Christmas and he’s almost finished with it. I just finished “The Book Thief” and (other than some of the language) I had so much fun with it!! My mom was born in Germany, and I shared some of the book with her and we had some great laughs. I keep hearing some of the phrases in my mind throughout the day. Very sad story, yet entertaining. Thanks for all your recommendations! You continue to encourage us to grow spiritually and intellectually. Thanks for your leadership!