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Reading recommendations during the coronavirus shutdown

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March 18, 2020

As COVID-19 (coronavirus) continues to spread through our communities, many families are spending extra time at home per the recommendation of most health professionals in order to slow down the spread of the virus as we seek to love our neighbors well. My family, in particular, has been under quarantine because of my wife’s chemotherapy treatments and compromised immune system. Being cooped up for an extended time can be challenging, especially if you or a loved one are sick.  

In order to help pass the time, I asked the ERLC team for a few of their favorite book recommendations to encourage and edify you during this unpredictable season. The list is below, along with links to grab them online so that you don’t have to brave the crowds or possibly expose yourself to the virus. It’s by no means exhaustive, but it is a good starting point, whether you’re an avid reader or haven’t picked up a book in years.  

Children  

With many little ones and teenagers out of school for an extended period of time, this is a great opportunity to redeem the time by exposing your children to a few of the great works of literature and some inspirational historical figures.  

Chronicles of Narnia (Complete Set) C.S. Lewis  

Jesus Rose for Me: The True Story of Easter & The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible  Jared Kennedy  

Empowered: How God Shaped 11 Women's Lives (And Can Shape Yours Too) & Strong: How God Equipped 11 Ordinary Men with Extraordinary Power (and Can Do the Same for You) Catherine Parks  

The Wingfeather Saga Andrew Peterson  

Devotional/Christian Living  

In tumultuous times, it can be easy to become anxious and overwhelmed as we tend to forget about God’s comforting presence and love for his children. Here are a few recommendations that will challenge you to cling to God in the midst of uncertainty.  

George Müller: Delighted in God Roger Steer  

Just as I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham Billy Graham  

The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves Curt Thompson  

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering Tim Keller  

Biography/Nonfiction  

Some of my favorite and often most encouraging reads are biographies and historical accounts. Through the story of these men and women, we can learn from the experiences of people from all walks of life. Reading about others’ lives or historical events can help shape our response to the issues of our day as well as give us perspective on the things we are dealing with as individuals.  

If I Perish Esther Ahn Kim  

Presidents in Crisis: Tough Decisions inside the White House from Truman to Obama Michael K. Bohn  

The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland Jim DeFede  

The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life David Brooks  

My Heart in His Hands Sharon James  

Current Issues  

With a little time away from our normal routines, this also can be a great time to catch up on some of the most important issues of our day. These books can help equip you to understand some of the movements in our culture and prepare to engage them with the love of God and neighbor in mind.  

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion Jonathan Haidt  

How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds Alan Jacobs  

The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success Ross Douthat  

The Age of AI: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity Jason Thacker  

Even if you are not the reading type, you can still dive into these works via audiobooks and a set of headphones. I personally enjoy listening to many books, especially history and biographies, because I can listen while doing other things around the house or yard. There are many ways to access audiobooks such as Audible, Overcast, or through your local library’s services.  

During this extended time of disruption, while we pray for those on the front lines of this virus outbreak, suffering from infection, and leading our states and nation, let’s use some of this time to pick up a good book, in addition to God’s Word, and enjoy the privilege of reading and learning.   

Jason Thacker

Jason Thacker serves as chair of research in technology ethics and creative director at ERLC. In his role as creative director, he oversees the communications team, including all creative design projects.  His book, The Age of AI: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity, released March 2020 with Zondervan. He is a graduate … Read More