As summer winds down, Guideposts staff recommend their favorite books.
Posted in , Aug 25, 2015
Whether you’re enjoying the last days of summer vacation or hard at work and looking forward to Labor Day weekend, the Guideposts editorial staff has got a book for you.
Like our readers, we at Guideposts each have our own voices and opinions, which makes for a very diverse reading list. From works by a Pulitzer prize winner and thought-provoking non-fiction, to "the ultimate never-want-it-to-end, just-one-more-chapter-and-I’ll-go-to-bed" read, there’s something here for everyone.
Check out these recommendations and share your favorite books in the comments.
Kindred, by Octavia Butler (Beacon Press)
Recommended by Daniel Kessel, Assistant Editor, Mysterious Ways
I'm really not a science fiction person, but in Kindred, Butler dispenses with the science and brings out the best of fiction. With the main character Dana, we travel from 1976 all the way back in time to the 1800s, where it's suddenly her job to save the life of a slave owner's son. From there, we witness the world of slavery first hand and get entangled in the power politics of the master/slave dynamic. Butler handles the subject matter with compelling sensitivity and even, on occasion, humor. The clear prose makes for relatively easy reading, so I recommend reading this anywhere, even on the beach.
When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions
Recommended by Sabra Ciancanelli, Senior Digital Editor
I fell in love with Sue Monk Kidd’s writing years ago in Daily Guideposts when I discovered her gift of seeing God in everyday moments. I found When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions tucked away in my favorite used bookstore in Wellfleet, Cape Cod. It called out to me at just the right time, as books I need so often do. When the Heart Waits is a spiritual journey filled with personal heartfelt experiences, wisdom and hope for life’s challenges. It gives beautiful insight for times when we are waiting—waiting for an answer, waiting to feel God’s comfort—and how waiting itself is a spiritual process that awakens us to experience moments of God’s grace.
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (Penguin Books)
Recommended by Keren Baltzer, Editor, Guideposts Books
Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, which has been rescued from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with images. When Hanna discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding—an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair—she begins to unlock the book’s mysteries. The reader is ushered into an exquisitely detailed and atmospheric past, tracing the book’s journey from its salvation back to its creation.
Hanna’s investigation unexpectedly plunges her into the intrigues of fine art forgers and ultra-nationalist fanatics. Her experiences will test her belief in herself and the man she has come to love. Inspired by a true story, People of the Book is at once a novel of sweeping historical grandeur and intimate emotional intensity, an ambitious, electrifying work by an acclaimed and beloved author.
The Shadow of the Wind, by Carols Ruiz Zafón (Penguin Books)
Recommended by Diana Aydin, Editor, Mysterious Ways
A coming-of-age tale that truly has it all – shocking twists and turns, mystery, romance, tragedy, a man without a face and even a Cemetery of Forgotten Books, i.e. the place books go to die. The protagonist, Daniel, finds one such “forgotten book” at age 10 and it takes him on an unforgettable journey into adulthood, as he tries to track down the book’s enigmatic writer, Julián Carax. Zafón is a Spanish writer and the novel is set in dark, post-World War II Barcelona. It’s the ultimate never-want-it-to-end, just-one-more-chapter-and-I’ll-go-to-bed read.
Last One Home by Debbie Macomber (Ballantine Books)
Recommended by Rick Hamlin, Executive Editor
The perfect book for the beach or the hammock or the back porch is Debbie Macomber’s latest novel Last One Home. You know somehow that all will work out for the heroine Cassie and her teenaged daughter, but you have to hold on tight to make sure she ends up with the incredibly decent widower who is very much in love with her and she with him. All the characters in this intensely readable book are believable and their motives understandable. I especially like it that the so-called “enemies” have many redeeming qualities and redemption indeed is spread around, while love triumphs in the end.
Undivided: A Muslim Daughter, Her Christian Mother, Their Path to Peace by Patricia and Alana Raybon (W Publishing Group)
Recommended by Brooke Obie, Senior Digital Editor, Guideposts.org
One of the most enjoyable books I've read this year is the powerful story of a mother and daughter who, after a 10-year tumultuous relationship due to their different religious beliefs, literally write their way to a peaceful reconciliation. Each chapter is a beautifully written conversation between the two, explaining why they believe what they believe, but most of all, expressing how they can love and respect each other better. It's a heartfelt look into the beauty and complexity of faith and a hopeful guide for healing family rifts that I've been recommending to others ever since I read it.
Guideposts Books & Inspirational Media
(We just had to recommend these!)
Did you know Guideposts publishes books? You may be familiar with Daily Guideposts, the beloved devotional, or Guideposts Daily Planner, which offers a way to connect your spiritual life with your daily life. You may not be aware that Guideposts just released a brand-new fiction series, Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries, and Mornings with Jesus offers a beautiful way to begin your day.
And we have two special offers right now for the two-book sets Thin Places by Sabra Ciancanelli and Heaven Sent by the Editors of Guideposts and Miracles in the ER by Robert D. Lesslie, MD and Miracles & Moments of Grace by Nancy B. Kennedy. Go to ShopGuideposts.org to buy these books and more!
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (Grand Central Publishing)
Recommended by Melissa Roberson, Freelance Blog Editor, Guideposts.org
When I was a little girl, I sometimes used to go to sleep in one of my mother's cocktail dresses. There was a pink satin one with long shirred sleeves that I remember best. I'd suit up for the night and drape its liquid folds artfully across my bunk bed, trying my best to look like an exquisite princess in a bowl haircut. My dream was that a prince (preferably British) would come and whisk me away as I slept. Again, I was only 7 or 8...ok, maybe 12... So the book on my nightstand is The Royal We, a spunky, funny novel by Jessica Cocks and Heather Morgan about a young American woman who snags, yep, a Prince of Wales named Nick. More than 50 years later, I can still dream.
Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks (Penguin Books)
Recommended by Doug Synder, Assistant Art Director
This novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author is inspired by the true story of Eyam, a village in the hill country of England, devastated by the plague in the 17th century.
It is written from the point of view of a young woman who experiences the worst of the plague, watching her loved ones perish. My favorite part of the story is watching her reluctantly fall in love, while all around the two lovers the plague takes one person after another.
The Wall Street Journal called the book “emotionally intelligent” and said it introduces "an inspiring heroine.” It is about love and loss. It is an unforgettable read.
The Spirit Level by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson (Bloomsbury Press)
Recommended by Stephanie Castillo Samoy, Managing Editor, Guideposts Books & Inspirational Media
This book addresses the way extreme amounts of wealth inequality aren't just bad for poor people, which most of us recognize, but that inequity produces worse outcomes across the entire social gradient, from carpenters to lawyers and even directors of Fortune 500 companies.
The author shows that, in America, the more equitable states have better social outcomes than less equitable states. It’s fascinating that it doesn't matter how rich or poor the state is, just how equitable it is. Some states with the best social outcomes are quite divergent. A few New England states have great social outcomes, but North Dakota also ranks high and has exceptional levels of equality (low taxation, but all residents make close to the same salary).
The Spirit Level illustrates that although we may disagree on the way to achieve greater income and wealth equality, we must recognize it is a serious problem that needs to be solved together.
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (W.W. Norton & Company)
Recommended by Alex Bova, Editorial Intern
“Part of me is made of glass, and also, I love you.” –page 63
There is nothing that truly epitomizes this spectacular novel more than this sentence. This novel is about the fragility of life as we know it - about finding love and losing love all at the same time. The story is told from Leo Gursky’s perspective as well as a fourteen year old girl named Alma, both strongly connected to a book titled, The History of Love. The reader will embark on a journey through the lives of these two narrators trying to grapple with the beautiful tragedy that is love. This book has stayed in my soul since the first time I read it; my copy has dog eared pages.