In addition to the Bible, (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth) I'm giving thanks and praise for these awesome Christian books that have been a blessing in my life:
1. In addition to the many "regular" books that I read growing up, where faith came as part of the story because the author couldn't imagine it any other way (Green Dolphin Street, Little House in the Big Woods, etc), Rainbow Garden by Patricia St. John was my first Christian fiction book. The first one I knew was a Christian fiction book before I read it. A wonderful story about a girl and a secret garden at the end of a rainbow, I read it many times until it fell apart.
2. The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris is not for the faint of heart, but it is an inspiring look at the inner journey of an intellectual poet's journey of faith. Non-fiction, and sometimes painfully honest and humble, Kathleen Norris takes us from secular life to a monastary, where she served as an oblate.
3. Beyond the Summerland by L.B. Graham is the beginning of the Binding of the Blade Series, and I enjoyed this new take on Christian epic fantasy. The ending of the first book is a painful surprise (that's all the spoiler I'll give) but the rest of the series flows easily from one book to the next.
4. Run With the Horses by Eugene H. Peterson is a book I've quoted extensively last year, and I have to include it as my favorite study guide to Jeremiah.
5. Dragonspell and the Dragonkeeper Chronicles by Donita K. Paul is another excellent start to a strong series of compelling characters and a new world of fantastical Christian adventure. I've mentioned it before too, but it deserves many mentions.
6. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren is an excellent guide to life and ministry. I may not have the same take on every issue that Warren does, but I found the book interesting and thought-provoking.
7. Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell is, like The Cloister Walk, not for the faint of heart or for those who can't bear to be shocked while reading a Christian book. Rob Bell takes a close look at what it means to be a follower of Christ in our times, and for all time. He references scripture and other Christian books so often that I found myself reading his book simultaneously with different parts of scripture and doing a great deal of research. Again, I may not agree with every aspect of his book, but it definitely provokes thought, scripture reading, and prayer.
8. The Aedyn Chronicles by Alister E. McGrath is a book for young to middle readers that I read just recently. I read it in about two hours, and at first, just thought it was a simple, fun Christian fantasy read. But then, I kept thinking about the Biblical principles that were intertwined in the adventure . . . and decided to read it again.
9. The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel is a very good read, and they've made a pretty good DVD version of it as well. It is an investigation into the evidence for Jesus, and also tells some of the true story of Strobel's personal search for faith in Christ.
10. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis is a must read if you have any interest in apologetics. Wow! If you want a better understanding of that Deep Law of Magic mentioned in the Narnia books, Mere Christianity definitely details Lewis' belief that there is a moral law, or a sense of goodness that underlies all the laws of mankind, and of course that law, that moral standard of goodness comes from God.
"This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." 1 John 1:5-7