Bookish Radness

7 Books to Read in Your Early 20s

I’ve noticed recently I’m not one of the “young guns” anymore. Between having to use more facial products than ever before, to my knees having the ability to predict the weather, I’ve fully embraced this new life stage. I’m not saying I’m nearing retirement (only in my thirties internet), but professional athletes my age are close to throwing in the towel and some of my co-workers were in college after my 10 year reunion (how did this happen people?!).

I look back at college fondly, but of course there’s plenty of wisdom I could have used. Since college, there’s been some incredible books that have shaped much of who I am, so I want to give any of you young folks a head start with this list of eight books you should read in your early twenties. You know, ones that will stick with you. Unlike that Introduction to Philosophy book you pretended to have read by highlighting random paragraphs each chapter. Not that I did that. I would never…

Of course, if you aren’t in your 20s, I still think you should read these! 🙂

So here they are (in no particular order) along with a favorite quote:

1. Crazy Love by Francis Chan. There are few books out there that have caused a paradigm shift in my thinking. I never use the word paradigm, but for this book, it’s fitting. It opened up my eyes to so many convicting truths and moved truth I knew in my head into action with my heart.
“But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust in Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.”

2. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. If you follow me on social media, you’ll notice I talk about C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien about every 14 seconds (not really, but just go with it). Why? They were geniuses. Lewis’ collection of World War II radio broadcasts on the fundamentals of Christianity are fantastic. He wrote them while his country was at war and being bombed nightly by the Nazis, so the truth in some ways, hits a little deeper.
“Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.”

3. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller. Simply put: Read this book. I’m pretty sure I highlighted something on every page. It’s an easy read (which is awesome considering the topic) and you’ll gain tons of insight. And if you don’t consider yourself someone of faith, I still recommend this one. I’d love to know what your thoughts are after reading it. Such a great book!
“Once you realize how Jesus changed for you and gave himself for you, you aren’t afraid of giving up your freedom and therefore finding your freedom in Him.”

4. Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy. Tony Dungy is an incredible human being and just when I thought he couldn’t be more awesome, he did 4 Questions. He and his wife, Lauren, live out an inspiring story (full of some heart breaking moments) and it’s an incredible example of what it means to live your life fully following and trusting in Jesus.
One of the most important truths I want to impress on you is this: You were created by God. You’ve probably heard that before – maybe so often that it has lost its meaning. So take a minute to let it sink in. You were created by God! Before you were ever born, He knew who you would be. You are designed with a unique combination of abilities, interests, and passions that has never been before and will never been seen in anyone again.”

5. The Giver by Lois Lowry. Curve ball right? I know it might seem random, but I love this book. We were created for a beautiful and adventurous story, but too many people lose sight of that. So why this book? I love how it reveals this, displays it and stirs your heart.
“Now he was [starving]. If he had stayed in the community, he would not be…If he had stayed, he would have starved in other ways. He would have lived a life hungry for feelings, for color, for love.”

6. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. The lessons from ten Boom’s life have inspired people around the world. Her family hid Jews in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation. They were turned in and sent to concentration camps (her Dad and sister would both die in them). Yet, they trusted the Lord in every situation. They were a light in the darkest of times. She is a beautiful example of courage and faith. This quote was said by her sister before she died in the Ravensbrück death camp: “We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.” Wow.

7. Quitter by Jon Acuff. The vast array of sources young college-age dreamers have now is amazing (no really, when I was in college, email addresses were barely becoming a thing. I got my first email address then and thought I was so clever creating lapdogghizzy@hotmail.com. One of my many awesome choices at the wise ol’ age of 18. I’m sure it’s available if you’re interested in taking it over. I won’t mind). One source you should grab first? Quitter. Full of humor and advice from someone who has been there, this book will guide you in the path you want to go and hopefully save you from mistakes along the way.
“Your gift is never nothing.”

Honorable mentions include The Soul of Politics by Jim Wallis and Roaring Lambs by Bob Briner. Both were written in the 90s (gasp!), but have solid principles and were the first books to really open my eyes to social justice and Christians’ impact on culture.

Alright wise readers, what would you add to this list? Have you read any of these?

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Bookish Radness

Let’s Get Things Started!

“Unless you’re dead right now, it’s not too late.”

That goes down as the my favorite quote of the book. It’s never too late to Start. It isn’t. And this book is all about how. Not just “you can do it” filling the pages, but actual steps to take towards the path of awesome.

As I’ve mentioned before, Acuff is hilarious and through his blog, Stuff Christians Like, has been an inspiration and literally changed the world. I love being a part of the community that he has helped create! Check out this video from the kickoff in NYC and interview!

“Average is predictable. Awesome is adventurous.”

And guess what?? He stopped in Austin!! Not only for the book tour, but for the second Start Night. What! What!

Start Night was so fantastic! And hilarious. I pretty much laughed for two and half hours. It was also encouraging, helpful and inspiring. Even though I already have the book, it was great to have Jon talk about the main points and be surrounded by people who all have the same desire.

While I’ve followed Jon since the early days of Stuff Christians Like, it was so fun to hear the stories again/in person (like the schools we built in Vietnam) and those in the crowd who weren’t familiar with them be inspired (like the audible gasps & “wows”).

It was the best way to end April!

“You have to be brutally realistic about your present situation and wildly unrealistic about your future situation…Regretting that you didn’t start earlier is a great distraction from moving on your dream today, and the reality is that today is earlier than tomorrow.”

Here’s the official description of the book. Go ahead and buy it!

Wall Street Journal best-selling author Jon Acuff reveals the steps to getting unstuck and back onto the path of being awesome.

Over the last 100 years, the road to success for most everyone has been divided into predictable stages. But three things have changed the path to success:

Boomers are realizing that a lot of the things they were promised aren’t going to materialize, and they have started second and third careers.

Technology has given access to an unprecedented number of people who are building online empires and changing their lives in ways that would have been impossible years ago.

The days of “success first, significance later,” have ended.

While none of the stages can be skipped, they can be shortened and accelerated. There are only two paths in life: average and awesome. The average path is easy because all you have to do is nothing. The awesome path is more challenging, because things like fear only bother you when you do work that matters. The good news is Start gives readers practical, actionable insights to be more awesome, more often.

Purpose is not a final destination.

Go ahead, Start.