Where do I start with reading good books?

Where do I start with reading good books?

If you are convinced that you should read more books, where might you start? If you realise that your intellectual diet has been the equivalent of fast food for a long time, where can you go for something more substantial?

The temptation when you notice that something needs changing is to change too much at once. You have probably done this before. You realise you have not been reading your Bible, so you decide to read an hour a day or the whole thing in three months. You realise you have not been exercising enough, so you join a gym and try to workout five times a week. The overcorrection cannot be sustained, and you end up giving up the change altogether. When it comes to reading, don’t start with trying War and Peace or Ulysses.

Here are a few quick suggestions on what to read to get back into it:


The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis are a great place to start. They are short, engaging, and easy to read. While written for children, they raise all kinds of ideas useful for adults to consider as well. The Christian themes are extensive and varied. Another series well worth read is The Lord of the Rings. If you’re familiar with the movies, you will find a lot more in the books.

For something more secular but enjoyable and interesting, anything by John Grisham (who writes legal thrillers) or Ken Follett (who writes epic historical novels) is generally worth a read.

Some classic Christian books

Many great books have been written by Christians of all ages and places. Millions of people have been challenged and encouraged by Knowing God by J.I. Packer. I was challenged deeply by Holiness by J.C. Ryle while at university. And while the language is denser and typically Puritan, I warmly recommend The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs which I have re-read several times and given to several others.

More recently released Christian books

I was greatly encouraged by Impossible Christianity by Kevin DeYoung. He explores this question: can we can live in a way that pleases God, or is everything we do worthless? It is short, practical, and brought things out of Bible passages I already knew to encourage and challenge me.

Family Discipleship by Chandler and Griffin was also helpful to me in recent months. The authors explore ways in which you can intentionally lead your family to be more like Jesus. It’s not all about devotional times, though this is included. It includes making the most of family milestones and church amongst a lot more. I appreciated the principles and the different (and realistic) examples of how different families go about trying to do this. If you have children, it’s an easy read that will raise interesting ideas to think about.

(And, of course, if you would like to explore what the Bible says about angels and demons and the unseen world, I have written a book on that you can find more about here. And the more recent one on a Christian view of retirement can be found here).


Ask pastors or Christian friends who are readers to recommend you books. I wish I could suggest that you visit your local Christian bookstore and just pick something, but there is such a range out there it helps to be a little more selective than that. Most big readers will be more than happy to recommend books to you, or even lend them to you.

Start small. You don’t need to pick the biggest, densest book and read it this week. But replacing some mindless scrolling with a better intellectual diet for part of your week will be a good investment in many ways.