It’s that most wonderful time of the year. No, I’m not talking about Christmas. I’m talking about that quiet season after Christmas. That time when all the holiday baking, gift-buying, present-wrapping, and party-going comes to an end. And you finally have some time to curl up with a good book!
I love to read in all seasons, but there’s a special charm to evenings spent curled up under a cozy blanket, sipping cocoa, and diving into a book.
If I’m lucky, I will be wearing my favorite slippers: A pair of Yeti feet that we gave to my son for Christmas last year. It just so happens that they also fit my feet and he sometimes lets me borrow them. And yes, they are giant and furry. And no, they are not a bit sophisticated or stylish. But they are so warm. So please don’t judge. My feet are happy.
So given that my favorite book-reading season is now in full swing, I thought I’d share a few great reads to keep you busy during the winter months ahead. These are some titles I’ve enjoyed over the past several years and they are perfect to curl up with on a chilly wintry eve.
I’ve included both fiction and non-fiction. Some serious and challenging reads, and others for those moments you just need some light-hearted fun. Now without further ado, here are 15 book picks to keep you feeling warm this winter:
(*Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means at no cost to you, I will earn a small percentage on items you buy through this link. Thanks for helping me cover blog expenses and support my family!)
Books Heated with Suspense
1.God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew: The incredible, real-life story of a young Dutch man who smuggled Bibles into Communist nations (and later, Muslim countries as well). It’s an inspiring read, reminding us of the suspense many Christians still live in every day, persevering in their faith in places that are hostile to God.
2.The Pawn by Steven James: James writes gripping suspense stories, and he’s published quite a few of them. The Pawn (and the whole Patrick Bowers series) is still my favorite. It’s a story involving a serial killer, so if you can’t handle a little blood and some disturbed minds, this might not be the one for you. But if you do read it, you’ll be treated with a page-turner!
Books That Will Ignite Your Soul:
3. The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out by Brennan Manning: The title really says it all—this book drips with beautiful reminders of God’s grace on every page. Manning gives a poignant account of his personal journey toward accepting weakness and embracing God’s unconditional love. If you ever struggle with guilt, feel disconnected from God’s love, or get worn out by religious activity—read this book!
4. Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer by Micha Boyett: Micha shares her story as a young mom going through a season of“lostness”—feeling distant from the Spirit, lacking peace, clarity, and joy. Her discovery of Benedictine spirituality helped her connect to ancient Christian practices and ultimately led her back to the heart of God. Her story offers great insights about the difference between “religion” and true faith, and how we can bring the spark of the divine into our simple, everyday lives.
Stories Sparked With Romance
5. Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson: A Regency romance about a young woman who must decline three marriage proposals before her parents will allow her to pursue her own dream of traveling to India. This book had great characters and the romance was a perfect combination of sweet and dreamy.
6. Stones for Bread by Christa Parrish: You’ll feel like you can smell the bread baking while you read this story about a woman who owns her own bakery and garners the attention of a reality TV show. A gentle romance unfolds in her life, but I also loved the “side stories” woven into the main plot through the lives of the bakery’s interesting employees.
Fireside Fiction From the Past:
7. Stardust by Carla Stewart: Set in 1950s Texas, Stardust tells the story of a young widow who inherits an old, run-down motel and sets to work rebuilding the hotel—and her own life—while also facing questions from her past. A strong main character, along with retro charm, make it a perfect read for a cozy night.
8. She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell: f you’ve ever wondered what it might have been like to live among the glitz and glamor of New York’s Gilded Era, this story will delight you with its peek at that moment in history. I loved considering the tensions faced by Clara, the main character: Living within rigid social expectations as a young socialite, she struggles with her growing awareness of the injustices around her, often feeling like a bird trapped in a gilded cage.
Books That Ask Burning Questions:
9. Toxic Charity by Robert D. Lupton: This book asks a troubling question: Could our efforts to help people actually be hurting them? Not always easy to read, the book poked holes in some of the ministry-models I’ve supported in the past, forcing me to think about how effective they really are. The author offers interesting perspective, and a vision for serving others in ways that better honor their dignity and value in God’s eyes.
10. America’s Original Sin by Jim Wallis: Another book that might be hard to swallow at times, but so vitally important for understanding the current state of race relations in our country. Wallis examines the history of racism in our country, how it continues to play out today, and asks what the church going to do about it. A compelling reminder that no matter what your party preference, we all have a responsibility to uphold the image of God in every person.
Books That Will Take You to Warm Places:
11. With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin: Sundin writes beautiful historical fiction about the WWII era, with great characters and interesting plots that take you around the world. A good portion of this book is set in Algeria, where the main character works as a nurse in the 802nd Medical Squadron, Air Evacuation.
12. When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka: I’m putting an “extra” book in this category, partnering it with the selection above, because it offers an important perspective on that same era of American history. Otsuka recounts the story of her ancestors, who were forced into a Japanese interment camp in the dusty Utah desert during WWII. It’s an important reminder that at a time when many felt empowered by American patriotism, others were forced to strip their identities in order to survive. Compelling read.
13. Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez: A real-life story about a beautician who travels to Afghanistan shortly after the fall of the Taliban in 2001. This book was fascinating, full of stories that let you experience Afghan culture. Especially intriguing were the perspectives from the Afghan beauty parlor—one of the only places where women feel empowered, free from the control of men.
Heartwarming Small Town Charm
14. Talk of the Town by Lisa Wingate: Set in Daily, Texas, this book had everything I love about small town stories: Quirky buildings, a greasy diner, a little romance, and some nosy old-timers who steal every scene they’re in. It’s the story of a TV producer who travels to small-town Texas in order to film a reunion concert for a local girl turned celebrity. Hollywood glam meeting small-town sensibilities made for some fun, feel-good reading.
15. Boo by Rene Gutteridge: What happens when a horror-writing celebrity reforms himself and starts falling in love? For his hometown, it’s downright frightening! The small town of Skary, Indiana relies on the spooky tourism industry, and when their resident horror novelist appears to be setting down his pen, a delightfully quirky story unfolds.
Do you have a favorite book you’ve recently read? I love hearing book recommendations from my friends—and other readers might appreciate it too! Drop a comment below and let me know what titles you’re reading on these cold winter nights.