Godbooks Holiday Guide: 8 Books to Add to Your Holiday Gift or Reading List

Whether you want to add a good book to your own reading list or to your gift list this season, Immanuel’s Godbook recommendations have some great suggestions. Read a book you want to add to our list? Tweet us with the hashtag, #IPCGodbooks. Click here to search the Immanuel library! Click here to recommend a book yourself! Click here to search the Godbook archives.


Let’s Take the Long Way Home¬†by¬†Gail Caldwell.¬†Recommended by D. McCune. Rating:¬†9/10.

This is Caldwell’s touching tribute to her friend Caroline Knapp, who died at 42; it is about the alcoholism and friendship they shared. They were also dog lovers – the title comes from walking their dogs together.¬†Purchase on Cokesbury, ThoughtfulChristian, or Amazon.

Biographies, Books About Love, Books About Suffering








Fields of Blood by Karen Armstrong. Recommended by D. McCune. Rating: 10/10.

A history of the violence that often surrounds religion and politics from the Sumerians to present day America. Purchase on Cokesbury, ThoughtfulChristian, or Amazon.

History Books








The Question of God by Dr. Armand M. Nicholi, Jr. Recommended by Jenna Litschewski. Rating: 9/10.

I enjoyed how this book presented two diametrically-opposed views of 2 brilliant men on the question of the existence of God.  Harvard professor Dr. Nicholi compares the philosophical positions of Freud (an atheist) and C.S. Lewis, (atheist-turned-believer) through their writings and letters.  Although the two men never actually met, their views are placed side-by-side, comparing their views on numerous topics that lead to their differing beliefs on the existence of God.  I found the book well written  and thought provoking. Purchase on Cokesbury, ThoughtfulChristian, or Amazon.

Biographies, History, Books about Politics, Books About Society and Ethics, Books About Church




Too Busy Not to Pray by Bill Hybels. Recommended by Steve P. Rating: 8/10.

This is a perfect book for those who, like me, fret about whether we pray enough, and how to make room for prayer.  This provides practical and very spiritual advice that is very accessible. Purchase on Cokesbury, ThoughtfulChristian, or Amazon.

Books About Prayer, Books About Spirituality







Choosing Church: What Makes a Difference for Teens by Carole E. Lytch. Recommended by Steve P. Rating: 7/10

This book is a comprehensive and useful guide to those trying to understand youth ministry better.  Gay Lee Einstein recommended it to me when I was teaching high school Sunday School and mentoring youth and it was very helpful to me. Purchase on Cokesbury, ThoughtfulChristian, or Amazon.

Books about Christian Education, Books About Youth Ministry







Blessed are the Crazy by Sarah Griffith Lund. Recommended by Steve P. Rating: 8/10.

Sarah Griffith Lunch is a potential Theologian in Residence for Immanuel in October 2018.¬† This book should have broad appeal to anyone who has experienced, directly or though a family member, friend or colleague, mental health issues.¬† The book is divided roughly into three parts.¬† Lund first catalogues her own difficult experiences with her father and brother, and a cousin who commits suicide.¬† The purpose is to establish that telling stories is a key part of accepting and dealing with mental health issues.¬† She then engages in a constrictive and illuminating discussion of theological issues surrounding the topic, including her view that depression and mental illness are not God’s punishment.¬† Finally, she discusses, in very practical terms, how houses of worship — which can play a crucial role in helping those in need getting access to mental health professionals and medicine — can do more to be safe places to discuss their needs and to seek help.¬†Purchase on Cokesbury, ThoughtfulChristian, or Amazon.

Biographies, Self-help, Books about Spirituality, Books about Physical and Mental Health, Books about Pastoral Care



The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist. Recommended by Connie Hunter. Rating: 10/10.

Ever wonder how money uses you while you use it? Insightful thoughts and stories of how our money economy appropriates our personal lives, families, communities and the world. Excellent list of organizations engaged in humanitarian work in the appendix. Website: soulofmoney.org. Purchase on Cokesbury, ThoughtfulChristian, or Amazon.

Self-help, Books about Love, Spirituality, Books about Discipleship





When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Recommended by Connie Hunter. Rating: 9/10

Have you ever wanted to experience death? Dr. Kalanithi, Paul, will take you there, up close and personal. He describes his quest from the points of view of philosopher, neurosurgeon, and terminal patient; it’s a 360 degree journey to fathom death. It produces a powerful reaction. I have a new cognizance for what doctor’s do and say (and don’t say) as they care for patients and how patients think and feel in response.¬†Purchase on Cokesbury, ThoughtfulChristian, or Amazon.

Biographies, Books about Spirituality, Books about Suffering






How God Became GOD by Richard Smoley. Recommended by D. McCune. Rating: 7/10.

This book covers much of the same ground as Bart Ehrman, but it begins earlier with a discussion of El and Yahweh and how religion changes through time. The last chapters include the author’s interpretation of Revelation and thoughts on mysticism. Tone is informal and the book is easy to read.¬†Purchase on Cokesbury, ThoughtfulChristian, or Amazon.

Books about Jesus, Books about the Bible, Books about Spirituality





Featured photo by ALISTAIR. License available here.