Authors' Favorite Books

A book club resource exchange

Lynn Austin

Lynn Austin
  • Come Along by Jane Rubietta. The subtitle of this book is "A Journey Into a More Intimate Faith" and this book delivers on that promise. Jane is one of my very favorite non-fiction Christian authors, and her books always challenge me spiritually and help me grow in faith. Her previous book, Come Closer is equally excellent.
  • The Gift of Asher Lev by Chaim Potok. This is my favorite book by Potok, who is one of my very favorite novelists. His Orthodox Jewish worldview shines through his excellent fiction, and he inspires me to strive for excellence in my own writing.
  • The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher. Her depth of character and rich, well-written family sagas, are why I re-read Pilcher's books over and over again.
  • Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy. Although all of her books are my "favorites." She always makes me care about her characters and worry about what is going to happen to them.

Davis Bunn

Davis Bunn

My list of favorite books changes with the tide. I am passionate about my reading, and count many as deeply personal favorites. During the time that I have been working on The Hidden Flame, five books stand out as being of very special importance. For what they have taught me, and how they have reshaped the way I see my own world and the era of the early church, I hold them in deep appreciation and regard:

  • Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before And After Jesus by Thomas Cahill
  • The World Jesus Knew by Anne Punton
  • The Early Church by Henry Chadwick
  • Jews, God and History by Max Dimont
  • Wanderings by Chaim Potok

Kathryn Cushman

Kathryn Cushman
  • My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
  • The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner
  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

Deeanne Gist

Deeanne Gist

My favorite book of all-time is To Kill A Mockingbird. I love the peek Harper Lee gives us of that small Southern town in the early 20th century. She depicts its charm right along side its warts. I first read it in junior high and it profoundly affected my views about the obscenity of prejudice, the definition of bravery and the importance of education.

I must confess, though, that I'm a historical romance junkie. LaVyrle Spencer wrote historicals in the 80s & 90s, my favorite of which is Years. A young, naïve schoolmarm brings her enthusiasm, ideals and heart to a pioneer school in Alamo, ND. The family she boards with is headed up by a cantankerous, illiterate farmer who is appalled to learn the new schoolteacher is female.

The other historicals I turn to over and over are Pamela Morsi's—also written in the 80s & 90s. Trying to pick a favorite is next to impossible, but I do particularly enjoy Here Comes the Bride. The first line is: "There comes a time in every woman's life when she must get herself a man or give up on the idea entirely." The thirty-one-year-old spinster and business owner in this small Texas town puts together a business plan for snagging a husband, then hires her foreman to help implement it. Great stuff.

Shawn Grady

Shawn Grady
  • A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway—I knew after reading this that I didn't need a detailed outline or three by five cards to start writing a novel. I just needed to start writing. So in 2000, on a napkin in a coffee house that's just what I did.
  • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
  • Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

Jody Hedlund

Jody Hedlund

Bethany House Historical Fiction Authors are my absolute favorite! At the risk of sounding like I'm biased toward my own publishing house, I can honestly say my shelves were packed with Bethany House authors long before I joined the Bethany House family. If you came to my house and browsed my shelves here's a small sampling of Bethany House authors you'd find:

  • Lynn Austin: Chronicles of the Kings series (and many others)
  • Siri Mitchell: Love's Pursuit, A Constant Heart
  • Nancy Moser: Mozart's Sister, Just Jane, Washington's Lady
  • Deeanne Gist: A Bride Most Begrudging, Bride in the Bargain
  • Tracie Peterson: Westward Chronicles series
  • Judith Pella: The Russians series
  • Cathy Marie Hake: Fancy Pants
  • Julie Klassen: The Apothecary's Daughter
  • Tamera Alexander: Beyond This Moment
  • Lauraine Snelling: A Measure of Mercy
  • Kim Vogel Sawyer: My Heart Remembers

Julie Klassen

Julie Klassen
  • Hidden Places by Lynn Austin—romantic, poignant, funny, and filled with memorable, quirky characters. The movie didn't do it justice.
  • The Dowry of Miss Lydia Clark by Lawana Blackwell—Why does a Louisiana girl with a sharp sense of southern humor write about Victorian England? I don't know, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer—a romantic romp through Georgian England by the grande dame of Regency fiction. I laughed and laughed.
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell—If you haven't seen the BBC adaptation—go forth and rent today.

Beverly Lewis

Beverly Lewis
  • The Knowledge of the Holy, by A.W. Tozer
  • Shattered Dreams, by Larry Crabb
  • God: As He Longs For You to See Him, by Chip Ingram
  • Dewey, by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter
  • Heaven, The Heart's Deepest Longing, by Peter Kreeft
  • Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  • Cold Sassy Tree, by Olive Ann Burns
  • The Pearl, by John Steinbeck
  • Home Song, by LaVyrle Spencer
  • The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
  • The Rapture of Canaan, by Sheri Reynolds
  • A Tree Growns in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith
  • A Girl of the Limberlost, by Gene Stratton Porter
  • Christy, by Catherine Marshall
  • Cheaper by the Dozen, by Frank B. Bilbreth, Jr., and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
  • Rosanna of the Amish, by Joseph W. Yoder

Judith Miller

Judith Miller
  • Nancy Drew books
  • Willa Cather books---particularly O Pioneers! And My Antonia
  • Leon Uris---particularly QBVII
  • Lois Henderson's biblical fiction (Lydia, Ruth, Hagar, Abigail, Miriam, Priscilla & Aquila)

More recent reads that I enjoyed have been:

  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  • The Help by Kathryn Sockett
  • Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen
  • Anything by Tracie Peterson

Siri Mitchell

Siri Mitchell
  • Ginger Garrett's writing is magical. The moment I open one of her books, I feel as if I'm stepping right through the present and into the past. In the Shadow of Lions is her latest release, but don't miss In the Arms of Immortals, the next in her Chronicles of the Scribe series.
  • Maureen Lang weaves romance, intrigue, and (in her latest series) espionage through plots you just can't put down – or predict! What more could any reader ask for? How about the gentle message of God's love and grace that permeate each book! I loved On Sparrow Hill and The Oak Leaves. Keep an eye out for Look to the East, the first book in her new series about The Great War.
  • Laura Jensen Walker writes some of my favorite contemporaries. Her latest series, featuring the Getaway Girls, is about a group of close friends who laugh together, cry together, and cheer each other on as they learn how to become the people God intended them to be. Her characters are memorable, their problems universal. Daring Chloe and Turning the Paige are the first two books in the series. Can't wait for Becca by the Book!

Elizabeth Musser

Elizabeth Musser
  • The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
  • Please Understand Me by Keirsey and Bates
  • Immortal Poems of the English Language edited by Oscar Williams
  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  • Heaven by Randy Alcorn
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Christy by Catherine Marshall
  • The Zion Chronicles and the Zion Covenant series by Bodie Thoene
  • The Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 1 and 2
  • Rebecca by Daphne DeMaurier
  • A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Janette Oke

Janette Oke

Wow! It is so hard for me to make a list of favorite books. There are just so many and my list keeps changing. To leave off a favorite author seems almost criminal, but they won't all "fit."

I would say—read lots, read varied, read to enjoy, to learn, to grow, to just plain relax. Whatever book works to enlighten, encourage, or refresh an individual reader has a right to become "her favorite."

Robin Parrish

Robin Parrish
  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien—The progenitor of the modern fantasy novel, and still the greatest ever written.
  • The Reckoning by James Byron Huggins—The first action novel I ever read, and a major influence on my work to this day. His research and realism are impeccable, and Huggins' command of the language of suspense and action are the best I've ever read. I loved that it was so bold as to contain gritty, intense, realistic action scenes in a market that was known for publishing none whatsoever. It broke down boundaries, and it was brilliantly written to boot.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling—The entire series is a modern masterpiece, a triumph of intricate yet emotional storytelling on an epic scale. The hero's journey has been told so many times, but powerful stories like this one show why it's still every bit as relevant to the human condition as ever.

Tracie Peterson

Tracie Peterson
  • My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
  • Anything by P.G. Wodehouse
  • Anything by Jane Austen—but especially Pride and Prejudice and Emma
  • The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  • The Foxfire series of nonfiction books (I love to just thumb through those and learn)
  • The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
  • Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Paul Robertson

Paul Robertson
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville—hardly any plot development, chapters and chapters that go off on wild tangents, but some of the most amazing sentence by sentence writing ever
  • The Proud Tower, The Guns of August, Dreadnought, or anything else by Barbara Tuchman, or by Robert K. Massie, or by David McCullough, or by J. M. Roberts, or by ...—well written history is the widest window into human experience. It's as mind opening as traveling the world, and cheaper.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee—language, character, plot: everything in it is beautiful, painful and awe-inspiring.
  • Vanity Fair, by William Thackeray—a good place to start on the whole sprawl of nineteenth century English literature, with Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, Jane Austen and on through to Thomas Hardy and Henry James.
  • The Iliad, by Homer—"Rage! Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus' son Achilles, murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses, hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls ..."

Jackina Stark

Jackina Stark
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee—Of course. Atticus, Scout, Jem, Calpurnia—dignity and mercy in the midst of human frailty.
  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson—I loved the wise, old narrator, a minister who hadn't long to live and was writing what he most needed to say to his young son. I will never forget the last line of the book.
  • Peace Like a River by Leif Enger—It's been a long time since I read this, but I loved the characters. That's probably a common denominator for the books I've chosen, that and the richness of the reading experience overall.
  • Gap Creek by Robert Morgan—I was fascinated by the time and the place, and by how Morgan could assume the voice of a young bride from the hills. Blew me away.
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett—This book was said to be lyrical and profound and unforgettable. I found it to be all those things. I would never have thought a book with so little dialogue could be a page turner, but for me, it was. Like most books I love, it told the story in an unusual way and gave me a lot to think about.

Jamie Langston Turner

Jamie Langston Turner
  • Tepper Isn't Going Out by Calvin Trillin
  • Digging to America by Anne Tyler
  • Saturday by Ian McEwan
  • Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
  • Kite Runner by Khaleed Hosseini
  • Home by Marilynne Robinson

Stephanie Grace Whitson

Stephanie Grace Whitson
  • The Attributes of God by Arthur Pink changed my life. It is the book (other than the Bible) that I would say has affected my walk with the Lord more than any other. When I struggle in life, it is usually because I have forgotten who God is. Pink's book reminds me—in terms I can understand.
  • The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn reminds me to live in light of eternity. IMHO it should be required reading for every teenager learning to manage their own money, for every young couple about to be married ... and for every believer who wants to order their lives according to biblical principles.
  • The Lieutenant's Lady by Bess Streeter Aldrich is a delightful novel that refreshes my creative side. Aldrich is a lesser known Nebraska author (alongside that other one named Cather) who's historical novels weave biblical themes into stories that sing with hope. I love her books and re-read them often.

Lisa Wingate

Lisa Wingate

Favorite Classics:

  • Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh—A nonfiction classic, much of which is as relevant today as it was when it was written. Proof that many of the struggles we encounter as women are timeless
  • Never Met a Man I Didn't Like by Will Rogers and Joseph H. Carter—Another nonfiction as relevant today as ever. Maybe we need to take a page out of Rogers' writings on politics—laugh more and mudsling less.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis—Awesome, incredible, timeless, and intergenerational.
  • The Time It Never Rained by Elmer Kelton—Fiction, but a great depiction of the American West during a difficult era.
  • Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers—A beautiful story illustrating the fact that we are never too tarnished for God.

Recent (Great) Reads:

  • Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber
  • Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  • A Bride Most Begrudging by Deanne Gist
  • A Can of Peas by Traci Dupree
  • Being Christian by Stephen Arterburn and John Shore

Alice Wisler

Alice Wisler
  • The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  • Open House by Elizabeth Berg
  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  • All Over But The Shoutin' by Rick Bragg

Karen Witemeyer

Karen Witemeyer

When I read for pleasure, I always reach for the same genre—historical romance. My favorite Christian novels include: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, Christy by Catherine Marshall, A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist, and Remembered by Tamera Alexander.

I also enjoy reading stories from a variety of settings and time periods in the general market.

  • Favorite Medieval — The Secret by Julie Garwood
  • Favorite Regency — The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
  • Favorite Western — The Texan's Wager by Jodi Thomas

Two nonfiction books that ministered to me during my pre-published years were The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson and Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado—wonderful books for those trying to discern their calling.