Monday, May 17, 2010

Beautiful Books

I have been asked multiple times about a reading list. Which books, devotionals, studies, etc., have helped to shape my world-view and inform my theology?

Perhaps because I have so little time or energy to actually read these days, it was fun to compile this extremely partial list for a reader who asked me for some suggestions. When I say it is partial, I mean it is probably about 1% of what I'd like to recommend. I'm west coast now, without most of my books. The next time I'm in Georgia, I want to make a more complete formal "census."

(...which will appear on the new blog!)

Yes, it's still coming. It's almost ready.

But this week it has seemed as if all the evil forces in the universe are trying to prevent its completion.

Soooo...if anyone 'feels an urging' to pray for me, a tiny prayer request might be for the gift of time. And peace. And vision. And direction. And guidance. And peace. And....

Hey, I know you've got other things to do.

In the meantime...

Here's a place to start, if you've never done much reading on faith or theology:

*Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis (or What Christians Believe, a shorter version.)
*The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis
The Business of Heaven, C. S. Lewis (or any compilation of his other works.)
(Actually, anything at all by C.S. Lewis)
The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning
Life of the Beloved, Henri Nouwen
Basic Christianity, John Stott
Hind’s Feet in High Places, Hannah Hurnard Smith (an allegory)
In the Grip of Grace, Max Lucado
Breaking Free, Beth Moore
Where is God When It Hurts? Philip Yancey
Traveling Mercies, Anne Lamott
Girl Meets God, Lauren Winner


*My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers ( but not '101.')
(Excellent, short, accessible readings from the Christian classics, including St. Augustine, St. Theresa, Hannah W. Smith, Amy Carmichael, Julian of Norwich, Thomas a’ Kempis, St. John of the Cross, and more. Some still in print and available on Amazon.)

Talking With God, Francois Fenelon

The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence

Also, I like to read “JAR” (the books of John, Acts, and Romans) straight through, almost as a novel or single narrative. Those 3 seem to represent the essence of the Christian message to me: What happened, the response of the witnesses, and the theology behind the events. Right now, I am really enjoying my NLT (New Living Translation) version of the Bible. It makes it seem fresh and new.


Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby
Any of Beth Moore’s studies
Just ordered N.T. Wright’s study of Romans…will let you know how it is.
So many other good ones…I’ll have to look through stacks when I get back to GA.

 I'd love to hear YOUR suggestions....maybe you can help jog my old memory cells. Which readings have meant the most to you? Been responsible for the most spiritual growth?

Thank you for your faithfulness and prayers during yet another transitional time.



  1. I love Beth Moore and Max Lucado's books as well. The Boundaries series by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. Also, The Secret Things of God (the Christian version of The Secret) by Dr. Henry Cloud.

  2. Till We Have Faces is another Lewis one I loved, although more philosophically Christian than overtly theological.

    Also, FYI, I have a Kindle. I adore it although I'm not a big Amazon fan. I'll look at a Nook if I decide to buy another eReader. Regardless of whether you want to shell out the $ for an eReader, you can download a Kindle or Nook application from Amazon or Barnes and Noble respectively and order any of their eBooks that way to read on your laptop. If you do purchase a reader in the future, those titles you already bought will be available on it.

    I did not think I would cotton to an eReader because I "love books." The smell, the paper, the stacks of them tripping me and collecting dust, the whole book mystique. HOWEVER. Kindle enables me to:

    1. Download public domain books for free (so does Google, but I prefer reading them on Kindle than a computer because it is more "booklike"). Think everything by Jane Scarlet The get the idea.

    2. Carry every eBook I've bought through Amazon anywhere I go. I have seventy five or so titles so far but for space challenged living and travel you can't beat it.

    3. Can't sleep? I can buy a book at 2 am and start reading at 2:01.

    4. If I want to read in the tub or at the pool, I just slide it into a ziploc bag. This makes it in actuality more waterproof than a traditional print book, to which many water ruffled pages in my book collection bear silent witness.

    5. I've also found that it is more comfortable to hold than a book. It's lighter and I don't have to hold it open.

    There are still some kinks, like I can't organize my books by genre, favorites, author, whatever, but I think those things are in the pipe. On the whole, I'd recommend one. They are so easy and convenient I've found that I do have time to read. In the check out at the grocery, stopped behind a wreck on the interstate, in the ten minutes leftover between popping rolls in the oven and putting dinner on the table. I always have my book(s) handy and right on the page where I left off.

  3. GREAT recs, Kim! I totally agree about all the ones that I have read and I am eager to check out those that I have not.

    My most favorite devotional is "Come Away My Beloved" by Frances Roberts. I mean, it is like she opened my journal and decided to write encouraging letters to me. Doesn't get better than that.

    Make sure you check out the updated version though, it is much easier to read.

    also, i love love Andrew Murray and Francis Frangipane.

    grace and peace to you and your family!

  4. My hubby loved The Great Divorce. I just bought Traveling Mercies. Thanks for sharing a list!

  5. I have "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young and it has been such a sweet blessing in my life:)

    "Man Overboard" by Sinclair Ferguson. It is about Jonah and this book is AWESOME! He is also our pastor:)

    Loved "Breaking Free" by Beth Moore. "Inside Out" by Larry Crabb......tough read but oh so good. "Waking the Dead" by John Eldridge was life transforming for me as well.

  6. Kim,

    This is unrelated to your blog, but I couldn't seem to find a way to post on Katherine's. She said someone had again told her that after 2 years, there would be no more gains. I just finished Jill Taylor's "My Stroke of Insight". I'm teaching Biological Psychology next quarter, and over half the text is devoted to the brain, so this is one way I have begun to prepare myself. I mentioned to my neurosurgeon Sunday School teacher Don Kendrick that I was listening to the audio-book and he commented that she was the one who was such an advocate of brain plasticity. Then he told me an amazing story. I don't recall how long ago he said this had happened, maybe months maybe 2 years. He was approached by a woman who looked vaguely familiar who gave him a big hug. She said he had operated on her twin sister 10 years before and when told her name, he remembered the case. She had a massive cerebellar hemorrhage, and he said he operated with no sense of hope just because he couldn't tell her parents there was no chance. Well, she lived, and he gave them the same prognosis that he gives all such cases, "What you have at 18-24 months is what you get." Ten years later she is a teacher,, and when he met with her, she told him that she still feels like she makes almost daily small gains. One doesn't want to live in denial and refuse to accept that one has to live with where they are now, but also one needs to know that there is always hope and that one should never quit striving. Please pass this story along. Kim Hamblin in Montgomery

  7. Kim,
    I love to read any biography out there - and am currently reading J.R. Tolkiens biography. I am also reading (as a morning devotional), "Experiencing the depths of Jesus Christ" by Jeanne Guyon (written in the 17th century). This is currently my favorite book on prayer and resting in Christ alone. I also read (and re-read) C.S. Lewis's books and Jane Austen's books.

  8. Hello Kim!
    Thanks for this, I've only got Mere Christianity of the lot, but think I should go and read it again. Also enjoyed C.S. Lewis' Screw Tape Letters. My grandmother told me about that one. :)
    Grateful that you made this list, will make it easier when I am in the bookstore and looking.
    We are back in Johannesburg, been meaning to write you, sorry that you have to 'settle' for a comment on your blog: not quite the same thing! :/
    Will pray for you re. your 'time' request. As an architecture student I can TESTIFY that God can stretch time as needed so that miracles can happen...:)
    Was wonderful to meet you. You must hear it a lot, but you can easily pass as Katherine's sister... :) You are all soooo pretty!

  9. I am not sure if someone already mentioned this, but "streams in the desert" by L.B. Cowman has literally changed my life. It's a daily devotional, and really has transformed my view of God in the midst of suffering, or hardship.. <3

  10. Kim,
    I've read so many books over the last six years, but these are the ones I've read over and over again. Many lines are underlined, highlighted and circled. Notes and prayers are written in the margins. They have become prayer journals. God has used them to reveal His love and grace, and for my healing.

    Ragamuffin Gospel
    Ruthless Trust
    Abba's Child
    by Brennan Manning

    Disappointment With God
    The Jesus I Never Knew
    by Philip Yancey

    The Life of the Beloved
    Turn My Mourning Into Dancing
    by Henri Nouwen

    The Grip of Grace*
    by Max Lucado
    (I read this while sitting in Ethan's hospital room. When I finished it, I knew I would never have to doubt my salvation again.)

    The Pursuit of God
    by A.W.Tozer

    The God of All Comfort
    by Hannah Whithall Smith

    Hinds Feet On High Places
    by Hannah Hurnard

    Shattered Dreams
    by Larry Crabb

    Morning and Evening Devotions
    by Charles Spurgeon
    (I can't tell you how God has used this in my life. Grace on every page.)

    Old and New Testament Application Commentaries
    by Jon Courson

    I have several books written by Jeanne Guyon. They are on my re-reading list for this summer.
    I'm in the middle of the most amazing Bible study, One in a Million by Priscilla Shirer. I can't recommend it enough.

    I am always so amazed at how desperate He is to show Himself to us. What a God!

    Much love and many prayers,

  11. Hi Kim,

    My suggestion:

    The Shack
    By:William P. Young

    It's a fictional story about a man whose daughter was tragically murdered and his journey to re-turn to God after turning away from him. In the book, he is able to confront God and get the answers he needs to help him heal. It's about overcoming "the great sadness" associated with losing someone you love and it answers the question: "Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?". It's one of the most remarkable books I've ever read.


  12. Thanks for the wonderful suggestions Kim!



Thank you so much for taking the time to write.

It helps to know we're not alone.