In the middle of this gift giving season, I thought I would take a break from providing information on how to write, publish, and market a book to recommend a few books that I believe are worth reading and giving. I believe that great books are the best gifts since they can transform the reader’s life and provide several hours of inspiration. Here are a few books worthy to be given:

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

I’ve given this one to my kids. As the front flap says:

In 1941 England, when all hope was threatened by the inhumanity of war, C.S. Lewis was invited to give a series of radio lectures addressing the central issues of Christianity. More than half a century later, these talks continue to retain their poignancy. First heard as informal radio broadcasts on the BBC, the lectures were published as three books and subsequently combined as Mere Christianity. C.S. Lewis proves that “at the center of each (denomination) there is something, or a Someone, who against all divergences of belief, all differences of temperament, all memories of mutual persecution, speaks with the same voice,” rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity’s many denominations. This twentieth century masterpiece provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear a powerful, rational case for the Christian faith.

Start by John Acuff

All my kids that are out of school or graduating from college are getting this one this year. Start would be great for anybody on your list that needs practical insights on how to live a life worth living rather than just getting by. The author points out that life proceeds through predictable stages that he calls learning, editing, mastering, harvesting, and guiding. As the back cover of the Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) says:

While none of the stages can be skipped, they can be shortened and accelerated. There are only two paths in life: average and awesome. The average path is easy because all you have to do is nothing. The awesome path is more challenging, because things like fear only bother you when you do work that matters. The good news is Start gives readers practical, actionable insights to be more awesome, more often.

Wild at Heart by John Eldredge

I gave this book to my sons. As the back cover says:

Every man was once a boy. And every little has dreams, big dreams: dreams of being the hero, of beating the bad guys, of doing daring feats and rescuing the damsel in distress. Every little girl has dreams, too: of being rescued by her prince and swept up into a great adventure, knowing that she is the beauty.
But what happens to those dreams when we grow up? Walk into most churches, have a look around, and ask yourself: What is a Christian man? Without listening to what is said, look at what you find there. Most Christian men are . . . bored.
In Wild at Heart, John Eldredge invites men to recover their masculine heart, defined in the image of a passionate God. And he invites women to discover the secret of a man’s soul and to delight in the strength and wildness men were created to offer.

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

I’ve given this one to couples who are have gotten engaged and recommend it for any couple on your list. Chapman says each of us feel most loved when love is expressed to us in the way or ways that we are oriented to receive it. Some of us prefer quality time, while others prefer words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, or physical touch. As the back cover says:

As you discover your own love language—and that of your spouse—you will understand yourself better and hold a priceless advantage in the quest for love that lasts a lifetime. By helping each other feel truly and deeply loved, you will be giving a gift that never fades away.


I’ve saved the best for last… As C.S. Lewis said, “It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.” Books that are recognized as classics have stood the test of time and should be read by anybody that wants to do likewise. I recently finished Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and recommend it highly. Search the internet for “100 best books” and you will find a variety of lists. I don’t consider any title published in the last few decades a classic yet as it has not stood the test of time. Here are a few I plan on reading or reading again soon and giving too:

Moby Dick by Melville
Gulliver’s Travels by Swift
War and Peace by Tolstoy
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Twain
Fairy Tales (or this) by Andersen
Pride and Prejudice by Austen
Wuthering Heights by Bronte
Last of the Mohicans by Cooper
Red Badge of Courage by Crane
Great Expectations by Dickens
Sound and the Fury by Faulkner

What book have you received as a gift that had the biggest impact on your life?

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