Hmmm…this is a really tough one. Books have shaped and changed my views on pretty much everything. It would be impossible to pick just one.

One that helped me clarify what I believe and why is Crunchy Cons, which I wrote about here. I still think about it frequently…I should probably own a copy. It is technically about politics but is really more about how a truly conservative way of life is the intersection of faith and politics – conserving the earth & its inhabitants because they matter to the Creator, conserving the family because it’s important to God, restraining consumerism because that’s just an economist’s word for greed, patronizing local businesses because personal interaction is more meaningful than saving a few cents at a soulless discount store. I wouldn’t say this changed my views as much as helped me realize, “Oh, THAT’S why I like to recycle!” and so forth.

Spirituality – Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, Mere Christianity by CS Lewis, The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer have all shaped my faith. Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren Winner too; in particular that one changed my views on liturgy. Also A Long Obedience in the Same Direction and The Wisdom of Each Other by Eugene Peterson.

Marriage – Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas (I don’t actually know that I ever finished it, but just the subtitle is thought-provoking: what if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?), Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs, Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot, Real Sex: the Naked Truth About Chastity by Lauren Winner, The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. This is not technically a book, but Tommy Nelson’s video series on Song of Solomon was influential too; he does have a book on it, I just haven’t read it.

Parenthood – Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp, The Most Important Place on Earth by Robert Wolgemuth, The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer (which isn’t strictly about parenting but about how to see yourself as an artist in everyday things including parenthood; one thing that really stuck out to me was “illustrating” a sermon for the children sitting with you in church, so they understand what’s going on too). Obviously I am just getting started in this arena.

Fiction – The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, The Magician’s Nephew, and Till We Have Faces, all by C.S. Lewis. Screwtape Letters changed how I think about temptation, sin, and satan; Great Divorce changed how I think about heaven and eternity; Magician’s Nephew changed how I think about creation; Till We Have Faces changed how I think about love. I can’t point to specific changes they have made in my life but I love, love, love the Harry Potter series and have read them numerous times. Oh! and The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, too.

Edit to add: I can’t believe I forgot to list The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I have to admit, I’ve never been very interested in Islam or Middle Eastern life but I read them based on a recommendation from a trusted book source and am glad and thankful I did.

That’s all I can think of right now…so – pipe up. Let me know what books have changed you so I can add them to my reading list!