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I have a funny relationship with books. In grade school I read everything I could get my hands on. Then in high school I went through this phase here I was “too cool” for reading. It wasn’t until college, when my brain went numb from reading boring text books that I longed for something simulating—and my love was reborn.
I discovered that all genres left major impacts on my life. From historical biographies to popular fiction, what you read shapes your ideology and your moral compass. Books like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings definitely changed the way I viewed the world, friendships, art, and temptation. A book about Grace Kelly shaped my view of real womanhood. Ronald Reagan and James Stewart biographies opened my eyes to American ideology, American history, and American bravery. I don’t have one favorite genera because I glean from all of them.
My little rant for this post is this: I personally believe that a well-developed woman is one who reads a variety of material and a variety of genres. One of my biggest flaws is not reading as often as I should. But the few pages I have explored in my short life has benefited me intellectually. I can add depth to conversations, express my points of view with examples, proof, and well-developed opinion instead of just feelings on a topic. I have a better understanding of art, history, and humanity. Reading is vital.
I’m still not the avid reader I’d like to be. I have a busy life and sitting still for a long time is a struggle for me. But, when the urge hits, this is my list of beloved brainfood books. I devour well-done fiction stories with soul provoking thought. But I also love a true story, and I’ll read anything about history. Maybe it’s because I have this unquenchable thirst for adventure.
I’m not sure.
But whatever the reason, here is my list of favorite books.
A Life In Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of WWII
This is a true story about one of the most successful, prominent, and fearless female directors serving in WWII. Her name was Vera Atkins, and she was in charge of the female agents parachuted behind enemy lines. The story of her Romanian life and how she rose to such a powerful British woman is riveting, enthralling, and heartbreaking.
The author spent years collecting data and takes the reader on a journey to locate the missing female agents. She also brilliantly pieces together a suspicious time gap in Vera’s life no one has been able to explain. If her employers had discovered her actions during that time gap, they never would have allowed her to rise and direct such an interesting group of heroes. I couldn’t put this book down! Amazon has copies here.
The Green Mountain Boys: a Historical Tale of the Early Settlement of Vermont
This book was written in 1839’s by a Judge Thompson. There were still survivors from the Revolutionary War when he wrote this historical tale, and I’m sure he “picked their brains” for content. His story encompasses the many characters, men and women, who fought under Ethan Allen and Captain Warrington into one riveting story.
He includes tales about escaping from British officers, Indian and settler attacks, battles, kidnappings, and romance. This book is written in the style of a novel, so it’s easier to read than a history book. It’s one of my all time favorites! The adventure runs high throughout, and I was lucky enough to get an original copy printed from the 1800’s, passed down by my great aunt. You can also get an Amazon copy here.
Across Time Across Tears
Looking for a new Christian fiction book? Across Time, Across Tears is loaded with international intrigue, politics, romance, adventure, turmoil, drama, and faith. I don’t like cheesy books, and most Christian-fiction authors fall into that category (at least I think so.) But this one delivers a quality story.
The plot: an American missionary’s daughter luckily escapes the execution of her family, only to be sold on a Middle Eastern black market. To her horror, the very man responsible for her parent’s death finds her in the market and buys her…to become his wife! Political intrigue ensues as they both discover their faith and struggle to find their freedom.
The main reason I loved this book is because the author studied Middle Eastern society, traditions, and religion then incorporated it into the story. The book reads like historical fiction and you feel immersed in the culture and the problems women are faced with today. If you are in the mood for Christian reading and adventure, add this to your book list!
Agent Garbo: The Brilliant, Eccentric Secret Agent Who Tricked Hitler and Saved D-Day
As you can tell, I love WWII history and intrigue. Agent Garbo and his story is incredible! Who needs fiction when people lived like this in real life?!
This is an action-packed book about one of the greatest secret agents who masqueraded and scammed the Germans. Its quite possible he was the greatest. He played a coy game, so coy the German’s fell for it. But since his story was only recently declassified, it’s never been told before now. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves a good spy thriller.
Adventure on the scorching Sahara Desert! Legionnaires. Stolen jewels. Three brothers fighting for honor, duty, devotion, and family secrets. Enemies from without…and within. Battles and brutes.
This book is probably my all time favorite. I’m not going to lie, Beau Geste is the kind of man that a girl can admire and love from a distance. His character is noble, chivalrous, brave, and inspiring.
This historical-war-fiction is about three high-society brothers who abandon their home and beloved family to join the French Foreign Legion. As the story progresses, they become persecuted by their insane company commander, a battle, the scorching desert, and military life. There are themes of integrity and honor, themes that I feel aren’t written about much any more today. I can’t do the book justice in this review–you’ll have to get a copy and see for yourself!
I had a “book hangover” for six months after I read this. I couldn’t touch another book because this one left such an impact. If you don’t have time to read, Hollywood made a pretty good classic movie, too.
You And Me Forever
If you are in the mood for a spiritual book, then this one is my favorite by Francis Chan. The thesis of the book is that marriage is about furthering the kingdom of God together as a team. Its about making decisions based on the kingdom, and not ourselves. It’s truly a romantic, spiritual, and a convicting concept that is overlooked in Scripture. And I guarantee it will help you form a much better structure for your relationship, too!
I love how it gives couples an action plan, or a clear purpose for marriage, which is a reason many relationships fall apart after just a few years. Blake and I read this together and loved it!
The Prisoner of Zenda
This is my favorite short story ever! Even though it’s not very long, the chapters are packed with vivid imagery and intrigue. The story is about a dashing young man named Rupert who happens to look identical to his cousin, the would-be-king. In a turn of events, Rupert gets caught in the middle of a political/family feud and must become the king’s decoy. When the real king is kidnapped right under their noses, Rupert continues the charade until the king can be rescued. With the enemy all around waiting to kill him, and his growing affections for the Princess Flavia, and the threat of the kingdom discovering the charade, Rupert must race against time to rescue the king and put a stop to the perpetrators.
It’s a swashbuckling adventure, with a theme of honor, damsels in distress, political intrigue, forbidden love, and a case of mistaken identity. Anthony Hope wrote this in 1894 and since then it has made five film adaptions! It’s truly a classic. And rightly so, because it isn’t just an entertaining story. Hope does a wonderful job expressing integrity and honor and leaves the reader wanting to be more than he/she is now.
Annals Of The World
This is a little deep, so bear with me.
James Ussher was born in 1581 and graduated with a masters at the age of 18. His work, The Annals of the World, is a history book covering every single event from Genesis 1 all the way to 70AD. Because he was brilliant and had access to libraries that are long destroyed, Ussher’s work is considered to be accurate and true. He covers the rise and fall of world empires, adding details and facts many history books leave out.
He also includes personal accounts and stories about people like Queen Vashti, Ester, Darius, Alexander–the list of characters is endless. I love that the book is organized by the date, so you can easily skip to the date in history you are most interested in and graze.
This is a history reference book, but I have been known to stay up into the wee hours of the morning devouring it as if it were a box of cookies. This book also allows me to see Biblical characters and historical heroes in more detail, and in better social context.
So, there it is. My very scattered list of books. Let me know what books you love in the comments. I’m always looking for good soul food I can munch on. And does anyone have any personal tips that have helped you find motivation/time to read?
Thanks in advance for any suggestions!