My 40-Book List for 2009

Many of you have asked about my pre-selected reading list for this new year, so here it is:
  1. Boys & Girls Learn Differently- Michael Gurian 
  2. Masterlife - Avery Willis (skimmed/finished Aug '09)
  3. A Place of Quiet Rest - Nancy Leigh DeMoss 
  4. Restoring the Pleasure - Penner & Penner
  5. The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons From Falling Behind in School and Life - Gurian/Stevens
  6. Desiring God - John Piper
  7. A Celebration of Sex: A Guide to Enjoying God's Gift of Sexual Intimacy - Doug Rosenau (FINISHED 2/09)
  8. Defending Life: A Moral & Legal Case Against Abortion Choice - Francis Beckwith
  9. What's so Great About Christianity - Dinesh D'Souza 
  10. Women Who Make the World Worse - Kate O'Bierne (FINISHED 2/09)
  11. Intimate Issues - Linda Dillow & Lorraine Pintus (FINISHED 8/09)
  12. The Well-Trained Mind - Jessie Wise & Susan Wise Bauer (FINISHED 7/09)
  13. The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elites, and Psuedo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised as Freedom - David Kupelian 
  14. The Innocent Man - John Grisham (FINISHED 5/09)
  15. Reaping the Harvest - Diana Waring 
  16. Designing a Lifestyle That Pleases God - Pat Ennis & Lisa Tatlock (paused mid-book; may not finish)
  17. The Fruit of Her Hands: Respect and the Christian Women - Nancy Wilson (FINISHED 4/09)
  18. The Other Side of Love: Handling Anger in a Godly Way - Gary Chapman
  19. Helper By Design: God's Perfect Plan for Women in Marriage - Elyse Fitzpatrick
  20. What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman - Danielle Crittenden (FINISHED 8/09)
  21. Practicing Hospitality - Pat Ennis & Lisa Tatlock
  22. Faithful Women & Their Extraordinary God - Noel Piper (FINISHED 1/09)
  23. Sacred Marriage - Gary Thomas (FINISHED 7/09)
  24. What To Do On Thursday: A Layman's Guide to the Practical Use of the Scriptures - Jay Adams (FINISHED 05/09)
  25. Counted Righteous in Christ - John Piper
  26. The Mother at Home - John S. C. Abbott
  27. Jesus Among Other Gods - Ravi Zacharias (FINISHED 04/09)
  28. A Biblical Home Education: Building Your Homeschool on the Foundation of God's Word - Ruth Beechick (FINISHED 3/09)
  29. The Power of Words - Nancy Leigh DeMoss
  30. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction:Discipleship in an Instant Society - Eugene Peterson (FINISHED 9/09)
  31. Keys to the Deeper Life - A. W. Tozer (FINISHED 6/09)
  32. Why Gender Matters: What Parents & Teachers Need to Know About the Emerging Science of Sex Differences - Dr. Leonard Sax
  33. Home Making - J. R. Miller (FINISHED 8/09)
  34. Abortion: The Silent Holocaust - John Powell (FINISHED 1/09)
  35. Do the Right Thing - Mike Huckabee
  36. The Mortification of Sin: A Puritan's View on How to Deal with the Sin in Your Life - John Owen 
  37. Heaven on Earth - Thomas Brooks
  38. The Secret Key to Heaven: The Vital Importance of Private Prayer - Thomas Brooks (Read most by 7/09)
  39. God's Gifted People - Gary L. Harbaugh (previously read; re-skimmed 9/09)
  40. Hinds Feet on High Places - Hannah Hurnard (FINISHED 3/09)
I'm not reading them in any particular order, but I am going to try to work in the more "meaty" things (i.e., Puritan classics, books about the spiritual disciplines, etc.) in throughout the year as I read the things that are more naturally palatable for me (i.e., books about homeschooling or feminism). And, FYI-- I don't make any money from these links... I just love passing along good resources, and so it was worth it to me to look up all the links so you can easily find and read about whatever books might appeal to you. :-) I'm an unapologetic bibliophile.

And perhaps this will give you some reading ideas as well... please browse the list and click away! TO READ REVIEWS OF ALL BOOKS READ IN 2009, CLICK HERE.


Kristi said...

We have some of the same books on our reading lists! Now I am going to "borrow" some of yours...thanks for the links! Love your site!


Jana said...

I've only read 2 of the books on your list, but loved them both. Hinds Feet on High Places our family enjoyed as a read-aloud last year (my kids are 12 & 14). Well Trained Mind, I read 10 years ago and based my whole homeschooling philosophy on. While I don't follow the method exactly any longer (I use Tapestry of Grace), I kept my old copy of WTM and read through the relevant parts every summer. It is an essential guide for a classical education!

Missus Wookie said...

Thanks for the links, I really like the idea of setting aside a shelf for books I want to read. I tend to have a pile which gets shifted or the books get filed on any shelf where there's room.

Going to spend some room trying to find one gathering space for them now. Neat idea thanks!

Holly said...

The Innocent Man is one of my favorites. It radically changed my views on the death penalty. I would love to hear your thoughts on it when you finish it.

Sandra said...

Sacred Marriage is one of my favorites! I also really like Home Making. Thanks for sharing your great list! -Sandra

Catherine R. said...

Wow, it would probably take me 40 years to get through that list.

I borrowed a Ravi Zacharias book from my friend once...he is great, very heady and impassioned. I think he probably fantasizes about being C.S. Lewis. He is someone that could crumble the arguments of any non-believer. Anyway, he is very smart and hurts my brain.

Terry @ Breathing Grace said...

I'm planning to read "What's So Great About Christianity" also. As well as the J.R. Miller book. You have a couple other interesting looking titles here as well that I may check out.

Great list, Jess!

Catherine said...

Looks like a good list. I've read several - I especially remember _What Our Mothers Never Taught Us_ having a profound effect on me when I read it. I was a sophomore at a very liberal women's college and it helped me respond logically to a lot of what I was experiencing.

I've really enjoyed lurking on your blog - guess I'm out! Love your site! :)

Allison said...

Hi Jess! Happy American New Year to you and your family.

The list is very interesting. I'd also like to read the Well Trained Mind.

I did have one thought on one of the other books too....

I have never read The Marketing of Evil but I followed your link to Amazon and read the description. That being said I graduated with a degree in Marketing and Graphic Design and found the study of Consumer Behavior (the psychology of buying if you will) to be fascinating, especially in light of being a Christian. I think it would be good for every Christian to study this aspect of marketing actually.

The thing on which most of Consumer Behavior hinges on is called Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. They are arranged in a pyramid (starting with the base of the pyramid and then ascending) and they are: physiological, safety and security, love and belonging, and esteem. There is a great entry on this over at Wikipedia.

Anyway, as you may have noticed these are all things that we can look to Christ for as Christians. After studying this I always thought it would be so beneficial for Christians to understand that these things are already within us due to our fallen nature and that if we remained vigilant to look to Christ for these needs we could become quite resistant to most marketing campaigns.

You see it's not the marketers who came up with the evil, they're just capitalizing on something that's already there. In the case of that book, it's my opinion that while it may be interesting to look into who was responsible for certain campaigns which "sold" us homosexuality, abortion, etc.... it'd be more expedient for us to battle these campaigns from within (by examining our own hearts and teaching our children to as well).

Unfortunately, we can't control the effect it may have on the lost, so marketing campaigns will always be effective in motivating them to accept whatever good or idea is being sold.

Just my 2 cents :)

Mrs said...

What a book list! Great idea! Since you also welcome opinions here, I would like to offer mine.

As an 11 year homeschooler, I have also looked into #12 and #28. The latter definitely gave me conviction and encouragement to disciple my children in godliness above all else. The former . . . I can't help but think of the Pharisees whenever someone mentions that author. They had well-trained minds, but their vast knowledge did not bring them closer to God.

I guess the question was whether I wanted disciples or Pharisees! I chose to have disciples, and guess what? The academics came ANYWAY.

God's good like that. :-)

Jess said...

I've never done this shelf thing before... we'll see how it goes. I'm kind of like you... they pile up and get filed wherever they end up and I read as I go... so maybe this idea will tank, but I've been compiling these for a couple months and am glad to be able to start now.

Thanks for the input. I'll try to share something about each book as I get through them.

Catherine R,
I've tried reading Ravi Z. before, and haven't been able to get into it. Hopefully this time will be different. The subject matter is extremely interesting to me.

Thanks for the commendation of the Crittenden book- it's one I've really been jazzed about.

Thanks for the input about the Marketing book... I too read the Amazon comments, and am interested but like anything else, I won't read it as though it's *THE* Truth.

Thanks for your comments too... I'm very excited about the Beechick book... and have intended to read WTM for many years and just haven't. I'm sure I won't be hardcore about it (I've already started homeschooling without it and am content with what we're doing now)... but I am interested to learn more about it and widen my understanding of various homeschool methods.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the book Intimate Issues. It's my bible study to help me when I have those moments. LOL So, I keep it in daily readings. I plan to recommend it to be placed on the shelf at church because it ministers to me so much.

Thanks for sharing what you're reading.


Keriann said...

Jess, Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! I had to stop by again today after reading yesterdays post b/c I was hoping that you would let us in on what books you would be reading. I am so glad you shared them. And thanks for the extra work of adding in the links :)


Anonymous said...


And I thought my "to do" reading list was long, LOL! I've read two of the books on your list, #11 "Intimate Issues" and #33, "Home Making." As for the first book, I liked the first two parts, but for some reason, I didn't care for part three as much. Maybe it was too overwhelming for me? As for the second book, "Home Making," that's a good one! I read it during the summer of 2008.

#17 "The Fruit of Her Hands" is one of my books on my reading list for this year as well. Let me know when you decide to read it. Maybe we can take notes?? (smiles)

Sounds like you will be busy! (smiles)

Ruth said...

I enjoyed Sacred Marriage especially because Thomas didn't write it as a twelve step to a perfect marriage book. It came at a time when I needed something of the sort, and it inspired me.
I also bought Sacred Influence, the book for wives. Probably the most compassionate yet inspiring book for wives in difficult situations that I've read.

Hind's feet on high places... one of my favorite books.

Rachel said...

hmmm...several of my faves on here. and lots that i want to check out. i love your blog.

Karen said...

I think you're obsessed with this woman's roles thing. It seems like that is all that you're thinking about and that you can only teach on those things. Complementarianism and trying to talk people into viewing things the same as you seems to obsess your soul... not Jesus. You don't talk about Jesus changing your soul, but books about anti-feminism being of the most importance to you. You're just obsessed.

Jess said...

There are a grand total of 3 out of 40 books about feminism and/or complementarianism on this list. There are a couple additional books about gender differences in education, not because I'm obsessed, but because I'm a teacher and want to better understand my students.

I wonder how long you've been around Making Home... because I love to talk about how Jesus has changed and is changing me. I try to talk very candidly about my struggles and His grace, lest anyone put me on a pedestal.

I wonder why you didn't accuse me of being obsessed with sex... I write a lot about that too, and have three books on that subject in my list.

Or being obsessed with Puritans... there are three of those books on the list.

Or, better yet, something that sounds very important to you-- why didn't you accuse me of being obsessed with my personal devotion and relationship to Christ? There are ten of those books on the list.

I'll probably have to keep wondering about these things because commenters like you either tend to be one-hit-wonders or tend to come around just for a short season of torment and criticism until you move on to someone else to hang.

Sanders said...

Hahahahahaha! I was wondering why she didn't accuse you of being obsessed with sex too! Haha! Great book list! I've been offline for a bit so I'm not sure if I missed your explanation of the book list. Do you do this every year. Why 40? Just curious. I have so many books I want to read and am not sure how/ where to get started. These all look so good....eegh! I sure have missed reading your blog and am glad to start working through what I missed. Happy New Year!

Jess said...

I just picked out the books that were really super-interesting to me and packed a shelf full. It just happened to be 40. Later, I realized that I'll be reading through 12 books of the Bible this year, for a total of 52 "books" in 52 weeks... but that was really an after-thought. No planning really on that point. I've never actually counted how many books I read, but I'm always reading a half dozen or more at the same time, so I thought this general amount might be a good place to start, to see how many I can get through.

Mrs. R said...

When do you do most of your reading? I have 5 children of my own (3 homeschool age, 1 toddler, and 1 baby), and I have so little extra time that it's hard for me to even find time to read God's Word (but I try!). How on EARTH do you read this much????????? Do you have some sort of schedule to make sure you get the "essentials" (laundry, school, meals, cleaning, etc.) done each day? You must be a fast reader! =)

Jess said...

Hi Mrs. R,
LOL... I do read fast.

But for specifics, I'm only homeschooling 1 1st grader right now, and we have a 2-hour quiet time each afternoon while the littles nap, and we don't own a TV. Just those things alone give me quite a bit of reading time.

I do my meals on a 4-week rotation that's already pre-planned, etc... so that takes zero time (planning). I still have to cook and prepare it, obviously, but it's planned out well to save me time throughout the week. As for laundry, I try to start a load every morning and keep it going throughout the day if necessary. As for cleaning, ours is not the most pristine house you'll find, but it's clean enough. We do 15-minute clean-ups sometimes as a family and get a lot done, because my husband and I are both pretty laid-back about cleaning, so it motivates us all to set the timer and scurry around, getting as much done as we can as a family before the timer goes off.

When do I read? I read before bed at night, I read while cooking, I read with the kids on the couch, I read while they're napping, I read in the bathtub... I just love to read. And I've seen already that because the kids see me reading, they love to read too... and choose to do that a lot with their "spare" time.

Anyway, that's how I read. :) I didn't share this to make anyone else feel bad... I hope it doesn't do that- I just love to read and finally decided to try and do it in a more orderly way. More than anything, I kind of hope that even 10% of the people who read this post will walk away having found one book that they're interested in that they didn't know about before. I love to help people find good resources.

Thanks for the question. :)

The Three 22nds said...

We did a Bible Study on Jesus among other Gods by Ravi Zacharias. It was definitely worthwhile. You have inspired me to make my own list for the year!

Sanders said...

I love the idea of putting the books you're hoping to read on one shelf in plain view - I need the motivation. I am really bad about reading too many books at the same time - in fact, I think I've been reading 'When Godly People do Ungodly Things' for over 2 years now. Eegh! I just read through some of the descriptions of the books and am adding several to my wish list. I NEVER read political books - not enough time - but 'women who make the world worse' looks like a fun read. I'd love to hear your reviews too. Reading is fun.

Erik said...

What a fantastic list! #30 is great and #36 I simply have been putting off for far too long. Thanks for offering us in the blogosphere such an impressive book list!

asnipofgoodness said...

WOW, I mean really, WOW, there is some real meat here. You aren't reading fluff girl! Congrats on the 40 book goal, more power to ya! Oh that everyones list included such perfectly wonderful titles!! You have inspired me. My goal for 2009 is to live life more intentionally. I need to be more intentional with my reading too!

Best Life said...

This is an interesting book list. I like it because it shows who you are and what you are interested in. Mine would be different, but I have read quite a few of the books on your list already (although I am not quite as sex obsessed as you are...LOL!). "HomeMaking" is one of my very, very favorite books. Many of the chapters can be read aloud to the children. The language is beautiful and the message is rich and pure, but powerful. I give this out as gifts a LOT (in fact, I gave seven of them this year for Christmas!). I would love to hear how you like the books as you get along with your reading. Lisa~

Leah said...

GREAT book list Jess; just catching up on your posts.
I have some the same on my list but will certainly add a few now. Like you, my hubby and
I read super fast and I make the most of our daily 'rest' hour to snuggle up with a book. 'Obsession'/passion etc. it's all good! You clearly show your beautiful passion for our King Jesus! Happy reading...

Anonymous said...

Homemaking by JR Miller is amazing. I have read it again and again, maybe five times total and here and there for reference. It is so much more than the title implies and yet fully fulfills it as well.

I liked the Well Trained Mind and think that anyone reading it for ideas and a solid understanding of classical education will appreciate it, but then again, I didn't look at it as an exact how-to to follow exactly. So, I didn't get a Pharisee vibe from it at all.

I am adding The Marketing of Evil and Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God to my list. Next up for me is "The Excellent Wife" by Martha Peace.

Enjoy your reading!

Mary said...

Thank you for sharing your list. I have my own list of sorts, although I am never sure if I will get through it all. After our miscarriage loss in 2007 I started a reading journal and jotted down the name of the book, author and one quote I found very moving in whatever book I was reading. I have always been an avid reader, with my favorite fiction genre being a good mystery (a cozy or a suspense), but I have discovered such wonderful reading as a result of deciding not only to follow Christ but also to homeschool. Now I have even more selections to consider, so thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

Jess - thanks for taking the time to set out this list. I read a lot but have only read a few of these. I'll be back to check out your list as I compile new books for our churchs reading roundabout at the end of the year.

I'm sure you would appreciate many of the books on our list too.

Greetings from Northern Ireland.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jess---This is Sharon/P2M from the SL Boards. I loved browsing through your booklist! Last year was the first time I put together a reading list for me and it worked great. I felt like my reading was much more purposeful...and fun. Anyway, I may steal a few titles from you. "Jesus Among Other Gods" looks very interesting. :-)

Catie said...


great list! this is kind of a stupid question, but i was wondering how you find all these great books to read.. do you just search online, or go to your library??? thanks!!


Tanya said...

Jess, I'm posting here for the first time because I saw you over on the Sonlight Forum and haven't ever posted a comment here, although I've been reading your blog here and there for about a year or so. I read an excellent article you wrote for Ladies Against Feminism that brought me here. So I thought I'd finally say hi!

I love your book list--great idea! I always have a few on the top shelf waiting for me, though I haven't had much time lately (I'm expecting baby #7!) I'm currently reading the God and Government 3-book series by Gary DeMar. My next goal is to read as much of Sonlight's Core 200 (History of the Church) as I can with my 13yo daughter. You've inspired me to be a little more intentional about my reading goals this year. I read so much with my kids, it's nice to have some goals of my own! I also need to set new Bible reading goals. I've really fallen off of that too. Thanks for the inspiration!


Anonymous said...

I know you are taking a blog break, but I would love to hear about how you did with your reading goal for this year -- Were there any books you highly recommend? Or any flops? Also, how do you fit in reading time with children around?
Thanks, K

ellen said...

Hi....great post! We have some of the same books on our list!

it's so hard to narrow down the list!!! And I had to do that with one child --- blessings to you with your 5!