Good, Solid Christian Books That Just Might Change Your Life

Good, Solid Christian Books That Just Might Change Your Life

Last week I walked into one of the few remaining big box bookstores in North America and after eyeing the stacks of beautiful covers and interesting categories, I decided to peruse the Christian Living shelves.

I wish I could say I was shocked, but sadly, what I found was in keeping with the way I’ve watched Christian retailing and marketing transform over the past three decades (my first real job was as a cashier in a Christian bookstore when I was 16, and also sadly, that was three decades ago).

Christian retailing and marketing looks very much like all the other retail and marketing, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We want what we have to share to catch the eye of regular people and to draw them in, and we want what we’re producing to be of high quality.

But there’s a catch to all of that chasing marketability: What tends to sell in stacks at Costco isn’t deeply Biblical, unless it’s a stack of Bibles.

It’s not a secret that I’ve been struggling for some time with the idea that Christians in ministry must now be marketable; I wrote a piece last year called I Daresay Elisabeth Elliot Would Not Get a Book Deal in 2017 that speaks to the reality of platforms and au courant marketing techniques.

Just a few days after my impromptu trip to the bookstore, my 17-year-old daughter and I had a discussion about Christian books, and she told me that she is increasingly turned off by what she described as the “Rah! Rah! You are strong! You can do this! Dream big!” authors with big platforms who don’t ever seem to get to the core of anything other than what turns out to be really pretty Instagramable cheerleading. I sympathized, and then I turned to women (and one particular guy for a particular reason) in my life who pursue Jesus passionately and asked them,

“Which books, other than the Bible, changed your life?”

The responses were spectacular, and I especially appreciated how each one seems to be a reflection of how each of these believers lives their own lives.

affiliate links below

Good, Solid Christian Books That Just Might Change Your Life

Autobiographies and Biographies

A Chance to Die: The Life & Legacy of Amy Carmichael, Elisabeth Elliot

A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken

Bad Girls of the Bible, Liz Curtis Higgs

Chasing God, Roger Huang

China Cry, Nora Lam

Evidence Not Seen, Darlene Deibler Rose

Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God, Noel Piper

The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom

Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor

I Dared to Call Him Father, Bilquis Sheikh, Richard H. Schneider

Really Bad Girls of the Bible, Liz Curtis Higgs

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, Rosario Butterfield

Seven Women, Eric Metaxas

Through Gates of Splendor, Elisabeth Elliot

Tramp for the Lord, Corrie ten Boom


Christian Living and Spirituality

All of Grace, Charles Spurgeon

Because He Loves Me, Elyse Fitzpatrick

The Bruised Reed, Richard Sibbes

The Calvary Road, Roy Hession

The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel

Desiring God, John Piper

Discipline: The Glad Surrender, Elisabeth Elliot

Don’t Waste Your Life, John Piper

Drumbeat of Love, Lloyd John Ogilvie

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Pete Scazzero

God Has a Name, John Mark Comer

God is the Gospel, John Piper

Godspeed, Britt Merrick

The Great Commandment Principle, David Ferguson

Habits of Grace, David Mathis 

In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character, Jen Wilkin

Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, Paul Tripp

The Irresistible Revolution, Shane Claiborne

The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey

Keep a Quiet Heart, Elisabeth Elliot

Knowing God, J.I. Packer

Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis

New Morning Mercies, Paul Tripp

None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That's a Good Thing), Jen Wilkin

Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl, ND Wilson

One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp

Passion and Purity, Elisabeth Elliot

Permission Evangelism, Michael L. Simpson

A Praying Life, Paul E. Miller

The Prodigal God, Timothy Keller

The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning

Sacred Pathways, Gary L. Thomas

A Scandalous Freedom, Steve Brown

Secure in the Everlasting Arms, Elisabeth Elliot

Streams in the Desert, L.B. Cowman

These Strange Ashes, Elisabeth Elliot

Three Free Sins, Steve Brown

Unoffendable, Brant Hansen

What’s So Amazing About Grace?, Philip Yancey

When People Are Big and God is Small, Edward T. Welch


Particularly On the Subject of Women

Eve in Exhile, Rebekah Merkle

Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision For Women, Carolyn Custis James

Learning Contentment, Nancy Wilson

Lies Women Believe, Nancy Leigh Demoss Wolgemuth

Lost Women of the Bible: The Women We Thought We Knew, Carolyn Custis James

Popes & Feminists, Elise Crapuchettes


Phew! That should keep us reading for awhile. Is there a book that has changed your life but isn’t on this list? Let us know in the comments below!

This Week's Read: Blessed Are the Misfits

This post contains affiliate links. 

It's been awhile since we've talked about books, so how about something solid and excellent and easy-to-read to add to your reading list for the fall? 

You may remember that I formally gushed about a book called Unoffendable. If you find yourself constantly offended by someone or someones, did you know you can set it all aside and find freedom in the truth? Author and radio host Brant Hansen does an excellent job discussing whether or not it's our right to be angry and offended.

You can also hear the interview my husband and I did with Brant on the Homeschooling in Real Life podcast: How the Gospel Makes Us Unoffendable


But back to Brant's latest book, Blessed Are the Misfits. From a lifetime of neurological disorders and Aspbergers, Brant Hansen writes of his struggle to find any kind of emotional connection with God. He paints himself a "misfit", the kind of Christian who doesn't feel at home in every small group or in an emotion-driven worship service, who doesn't experience God the way other believers seem to say they do.

It's not easy to be the intellectual in the crowd, either. Brant writes about how his faith is largely cerebral. Facts stemming from scientific research and concrete evidence speak more to his belief in God than emotions, and that can be tough when the subject is faith. 

And then there's the social awkwardness. Brant's inability to read most social cues keeps him feeling disconnected with people, and church life is all about people. How do you find a community when relationships are the thing you struggle with the most?

And yet, even as a church "misfit", Brant knows that God has relentlessly, lovingly, and patiently pursued him over the course of his lifetime, and that he won't stop pursuing him, even if he never feels God "there".

When I mentioned that Blessed Are the Misfits is easy to read, I didn't mean that it is shallow and meaningless. It's easy because it reads like a balm; soothing and relatable. If you suspect you're a misfit or you love someone who is, you (and they) will find yourself saying, "Yes, me too!" over and over again. 

My copy is dog-eared and passed on, and yet, I keep thinking I need to get it back because there are pages and chapters I want to re-read. Blessed Are the Misfits is just that kind of book.

Audiobooks For Kids and Adults to Enjoy Together


Let's be honest. Some audiobooks that kids love to listen to can be the most insipid and annoying stories we adults have ever heard (or forgotten, as it were). Are there audiobooks that can truly be enjoyed by both adults and children?

Yes, of course! We've put in a good 25 years of audiobook listening with our kids so far, and I thought it was time to share our favorites with you.

These are affiliate links below (thanks!) but we often find what we love to listen to from free sites like HooplaDigital and Librivox.

Audiobooks to Enjoy With the Youngest (Ages 3-6)

(This list does not include shorter picture books.)

Riki Tiki Tavi

When We Were Very Young

The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter

James Herriot's Treasury for Children

Winnie the Pooh


Audiobooks to Enjoy With Tweens and Middle Kids (7-12)


Just So Stories

Hank the Cowdog

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

All the Wrong Questions series - Lemony Snicket

The Chronicles of Narnia

Swallows and Amazons

Adam of the Road

The Adventure Collection: Treasure Island, The Jungle Book, Gulliver's Travels, White Fang, The Merry Adventures of Robin

The Ralph S. Mouse Audio Collection

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar


There are plenty of classics and options for older kids that are enjoyed by both both parents and teens. I'm choosing not to create a list here in the interest of time, but am happy to help with specific suggestions.

What's your family's favorite audiobook?