My Top 10 Reads {at 30}

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For as long as I can remember I have loved to read. My parents would take turns reading me classics like Little House on the Prairie and The Chronicles of Narnia. I would eagerly anticipate a visit from my grandpa because it meant curling up on his lap with a stack of books. As I grew so did my love for literature.

“We read to know we are not alone.” – C.S. Lewis.

The beauty of books is that it gives us a broader picture of the world. We all have different backgrounds, lifestyles, and habits but books put words to those differences and help us understand each other better. A good book should be shared and so here are my current top ten reads- though these are so solid, I doubt they’ll be replaced anytime soon.

  1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

The entire series, really, but Book 6 is my favorite. Harry Potter is the perfect mix of magical make believe and real world situations. These books age well with children, but are also enjoyable for adults. The Half-Blood Prince taught me the importance of listening to people, hearing their stories, and not just reacting to preconceived notions.

  1. Sacred Marriage/ Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas

I had to cheat a little and include both of these, as they are two sides of the same coin. In my experience, nothing reveals your sinful nature more than living with another human. Being a wife and mother has exposed a new level of selfishness and pride I didn’t know I possessed. These books explore how God designed marriage and parenthood to make us holy and not merely happy. In the end, our lives are not about our own enjoyment but about bringing glory to God.

  1. Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

Sometimes it is not enough to treat others how we would like to be treated. Instead, we need to focus on treating others how they would like to be treated. Love & Respect identifies how men and women process relationships differently. Sometimes your spouse seems to be speaking a foreign language relationally, but trying to understand that language can lead to a more harmonious relationship.

  1. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Another fantasy world that displays theological truths through stories that adults and children can enjoy together. There are lovable characters, exciting adventures, and something so grounding in the character of Aslan. The series was read aloud to me as a child, I have read them myself countless times, and I also highly recommend the Focus on the Family audio theater version.

  1. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

This is my husband’s favorite book. After I finally read it in college, it was an instant favorite. It emphasizes our fear of the “other” and the lengths humanity will go to save itself. The book is set in the Battle School with genius children being trained to be military leaders. You grow to care about the characters and you can continue on their journeys in the rest of the Ender and Shadow series.

  1. Crazy Love by Francis Chan

I was late to the game with this one. I only read it last year but it is now one I recommend to everyone. There is plenty of spiritual fluff going around today, but Chan grounds his work in the Bible and doesn’t mince words. This is a must read for every Christian and it will help you better understand the love of God and how that love can be spread through the world. Bonus book: Radical by David Platt. Both these men are refreshingly Biblical in their teaching and point their readers to Jesus.

  1. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

This is one of those books that shook my core. I was in high school and didn’t know what to expect, but I was sitting in our family camper sobbing when I reached the end. Difficulties of many kinds surround two companions as they work hard towards the dream of a better life. Though very different, the two friends need each other and hard choices must be made along the way.

  1. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Similar to Of Mice and Men, this book feels so horrible but is so necessary. It brings perspective to the life of slavery and the difficulties of slaves, free men, and compassionate slave owners during this time period. It is a poignant reminder of why this part of history is important to remember.

  1. Mere Christianity by CS Lewis

This is a practical apologetic collection that all Christians should read. It emphasizes the core of our faith in an easy to understand manner. It was written by a converted atheist making the message stronger. These words can be used by Christians to adequately explain their faith to nonbelievers.

  1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas

I need to re-read this book as it has been several years. The characters, the conspiracy, the comeback. It is an adventure tale about revenge at all costs. This isn’t your light and fluffy, happy ending movie version. This showcases the pain of betrayal and the hardened pursuit of personal justice. It is an enjoyable read that you won’t get through in one sitting. That feeling of loss when you finish a book? You will definitely feel it, but only after you’ve had a good while to enjoy the story first.


So there you have it! My top ten reads. I thought it would be difficult to limit my favorites to only 10, but hopefully we all have some stories that bring us joy or shake up our comfortable lives. These books have all influenced my life in a big way and changed how I view the world. Isn’t that the goal of good literature?

I have a reading list for the future that I have high hopes will turn into recommendations! I plan to do a “What I’m Reading” post quarterly with what has been on my bookshelf and if I can recommend or not. I always welcome recommendations! I’m on a nonfiction spurt, but I love good fiction as well.

What are your favorite books? What books are on your reading list?


  1. Dena Beckner

    September 30, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    I love all of the chronicles of Narnia! So good! I have “Mere Christianity” but haven’t read it yet, I think your blog post has inspired me to put it in the “up next” list! Great recommendations! Thank you!

    1. myjoyfulMOMent

      September 30, 2017 at 8:15 pm

      Oh, Dena, you definitely need to read it! It is one I mark up as I go and have passed along to others at least three times! So so good.

  2. Dada

    September 30, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Your posts reminds me of how much I miss reading…just anything! Ever since I got my daugher and that was two years ago and started the blog I havent had time to read a book. Perhaps its time to take a break from the blog for a week or so just to finish one really good book. From your list I would problably chose Of mice and men.

    1. myjoyfulMOMent

      September 30, 2017 at 8:17 pm

      Of Mice and Men is definitely doable, it isn’t very long. I also stepped back from reading after having my oldest and have only in the past year really forced myself to make time for it. It helps my mindset so much!

  3. Maria

    September 30, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    Going to add a few of these to my book club reading list!

    1. myjoyfulMOMent

      September 30, 2017 at 8:17 pm

      These are GREAT for discussion with others! Definitely book club material!

  4. Waynna

    September 30, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Love reading!!!! & love the quote you chose, it can’t be more true.

    1. myjoyfulMOMent

      September 30, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      We all need to know that someone else understands. That’s why writing our stories is also so so important.

  5. Mary Abbott

    October 1, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    These are some fab books, some of =which I still need to read!

    1. myjoyfulMOMent

      October 15, 2017 at 9:53 pm

      I have so many books in my “to read” pile! So many books, not enough time!

  6. Caitlin

    October 2, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Absolutely LOVE the count of monte cristo! I’m such a sucker for sweet revenge. Great list!

    1. myjoyfulMOMent

      October 15, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      I love the adventure in this book! I am on a big nonfiction kick right now, but I need to remember that a good adventure is a good vacation!

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