Summer time is reading time! We want to continue to bring you alumni-curated list as a part of our value to Bring the Spark. Each of these books has sparked something in the reader. So if you’re going on a trip or you just need a bit of inspiration, sift through this list and pick up something you might like as recommended by our very own alumni community. Check out our June picks here.
1. Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth
Submitted by Julia Buckingham (’16): “Building on the core principles of Amish life, Nancy Sleeth explains how making conscious choices to limit (and in some cases, eliminate) technology’s hold on our lives and get back to the basics can help us lead calmer, more focused, less harried lives, resulting in stronger, deeper relationships with our families, friends, and God.”
2. Courage and Calling by Gordon T. Smith
Submitted by Candace Howard (’14): “I was given this book upon my graduation and found this to be a very encouraging read and one that I often go back to in times of wrestling with the question of vocation and how to live out my calling in practical ways, especially in transitional seasons.”
3. The Nightingale by Kristin Hanna
Submitted by Kirsten Skidmore (’94): “A story of two very different sisters during WWII in occupied France who separated by circumstances set out to survive and endure the hardships and dangers of war. A beautiful story of love, endurance, and courage that stays with you long after you have finished the book.”
4. Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland
Submitted by Darby Arens (’16): “This book is a must-read for anyone creatively inclined. It is the kind of book that helps you realize that you’re not alone in your struggles and provides helpful tips and stories of how to not only cope with fear but to thrive through it all.”
5. Bringing up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman
Submitted by Melissa Reed (’03): “What? There’s more than one way to do this parenting thing? In addition to being funny, this book gave me a great picture of parenting outside of North America and helped me feel more freedom to parent in a way that works for me and my family.”
6. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
Submitted by Liana Esau (’15): “It’s a rarity to come across a novel of such utter beauty and profound truth-telling. Robinson has crafted a story that touches on some of the deepest struggles of Christian living, with an attention to detail that mirrors the sacramental emphasis of the book. It impressed upon me the importance of writing letters, of slowing down, and of giving blessing.”
7. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
Submitted by Thomas Gage (’07): “In a post-Arthurian mythical England, a strange and mysterious mist covers the land, robbing people of their memories. Axl and his wife Beatrice, clinging to the few memories they have left, go on a journey to find their son. Along the way, they uncover things they wished had remained buried. A beautiful story told in all of Ishiguro’s elegance.
I loved this book so much, it was hard to get into something else after it. Nothing seemed to compare; it’s so crisp and perfectly plotted and complex and devastating. I will say that Beatrice’s character is a tad flat, though Ishiguro reserves his final stroke for her, and it’s masterful.”
8. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Submitted by Colton Martin (’15): “Cloud Atlas is by far the biggest book I have ever read. Not in page count, but in scope, determined by the time span that takes place in the story as well as the sheer amount of geography covered within the pages. Despite the distance set between its main characters, it remains cohesive as Mitchell connects the 6 storylines through meaningful relationships and significant events. Cloud Atlas was a reminder that even the smallest acts of kindness carry a heavy weight of impact across generations and worlds. It left me in awe of the connectedness that humans can have despite a difference of time and place.”
9. The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen
Submitted by Brady Schlecker (’10): “Christensen describes a theory about how large, outstanding firms can fail ‘by doing everything right.’ This pivotal book challenged me to think about innovation in new ways not expected.”
10. Culture Making by Andy Crouch
Submitted by Jared Crossley (’07): “Where do Christ, culture, and calling intersect? This book reminds me that God creates gardens and cities. God invites not to retreat but to engage in culture because the shape of our culture matters. God is, after all, not just my hope but the hope of the world. This book has challenged me to be more imaginative in the way I enter into and declare the story of God’s kingdom.”
Do you have a book that inspired you? One that changed the way you thought about something, gave you a new perspective? One that gave you an idea? Share it with the TWU Alumni community!