Young women today are distracted and over-scheduled. They are confused and made anxious by our modern turmoil. Rarely do they find time to ponder the deep things of life. Yet, a powerful book, read in youth, can shape a life and calm a stormy heart.
This summer let’s encourage our daughters to read and to read deeply – not shallow and meaningless literature, but a book that will make them see the world anew. For years I have given Mere Christianity to graduating seniors. I have had a few of my young friends write me years later telling me about the book’s impact on their perspectives.
Below is a list compiled by Lucinda Grow, 18, of her most loved books. Lucinda is my niece but is also one of the best-read, deepest-thinking, and well-rounded women I have the pleasure of knowing.
The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery is a cute romance story about emerging into emotional womanhood. This is my favorite romance book because the main character changes drastically. She is walked over and ignored by everybody until she becomes a woman who takes up a role in the world.
Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle is a fantasy novel following a young girl named Meg. The story is about the battle between good and evil and the ultimate triumph of God’s love.
The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald is a beautiful child’s fairytale on the surface but has allegorical elements that point to the unseen truths of the Kingdom of God. The story left me feeling more thoughtful about how faith influences daily life.
The Light Princess by George MacDonald is a fairytale romance about a cursed girl who lost her gravity. The actions of the heartless girl display the necessity for sorrow in order to deeply experience both love and joy.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is the biography of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini as he lived through becoming a pilot during WWII and a prisoner of the Japanese Navy. The themes of dignity, resilience, redemption, and forgiveness are powerful and profound. Humor and amazing historical facts also make it compelling.
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is written from the perspective of an older devil guiding his nephew as he leads a mortal man to Hell. The ways in which sin is disguised by the demons and made excusable to the mortal man have helped me become more conscious of the importance of daily commitment to God.
Mere Christianity by C.S Lewis lays out the logical necessity for the existence of God and the divinity of Jesus Christ. This book helped me fully realize that logic and reason are in harmony with faith in God.
What Men Live By is a short story by Leo Tolstoy about a shoemaker named Simon who helps a freezing man on the street. This act of selfless compassion is shown to be true Christian love through which God is able to bless His children.
John Scott’s Treasured Volume is an anthology of poems that were once popular with the American public. Reading a couple of poems when I was too busy to commit to a book gave me a daily dose of philosophy and beauty.
Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss is the account of a girl’s daily life as she matures and develops a relationship with God. This book taught me to be more patient with my own imperfect efforts toward being more Christlike.