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 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?

Author Interviews

4 Questions With Super Bowl Champion Tony Dungy

(This interview is part of my 4 Questions Project, where I get the chance to chat with authors and tell stories of people, life, and adventure. Be sure to check out previous interviews here!)

Like this needs an introduction. Because I mean really, it’s Tony Dungy. You know, just one of the greatest NFL coaches OF ALL TIME.

Some might say I’m a fan of Tony Dungy (evidence can be found here and here), but can you blame me or anyone else for that matter?? He’s not only great at what he does, he lives out an incredible story that is inspiring and encouraging.

If you aren’t a sports fan and thus have no idea who Tony Dungy is, here’s a few stats:

  • He’s won two Super Bowls (as a player and a coach)
  • He’s awesome
  • He was the first African American Head Coach to win a Superbowl
  • He’s awesome
  • He’s also the first NFL head coach to defeat all 32 NFL teams
  • And he’s awesome

He’s also an incredible family man, helping to launch All Pro Dad. If you haven’t heard, All Pro Dad “strives to help fathers become passionate about their role in their family’s life.” Providing encouragement and resources their heart is to “provide them every resource needed to rightly train up their children and give them a hopeful future.” I love this because I can tell you from the blessing of personal experience, having an amazing dad is a life altering thing!

Not only that, through The Dungy Family Foundation, there’s a reading program. A reading program!! I’ll give you one guess how excited and happy this makes me! I partner with a program with the same heart (more to come on this soon, but it’s called Reach out and Read) and the smiles kids have when you read to them is incredible. Plus, doing something as simple as reading to young children really makes a difference.

So enough from me and onto 4 Questions with Tony Dungy!

1) What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined 5 years ago?
I would have never thought I would be working in television. I thought I would be retired and relaxing but the Lord had other plans. I am enjoying the platform I now have with NBC and love the fact that I’m still involved with football.

2) What is the one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
I would go back to my college days and be more engaged spiritually. I went to church and was involved in Christian activities when I was growing up but I got away from it in college. I just got busy with football and academics. I didn’t really grow spiritually during those four years and that’s probably the one thing about my life I would change.

3) What is the one of the happiest moments of your life?
I’ve had so many happy moments. Getting to play in the NFL, winning a couple of Super Bowls, getting married and celebrating the birth of our children. It’s hard to pick out one happy moment since God has blessed me with so many, but those would be the highlights.

4) What is the one thing you want the next generation to know?
I always try to tell the younger people I talk to to think about their futures. My favorite verse in the bible is Matthew 16:26 which says “What would it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” To me that means don’t focus too much on temporary things. Set goals and strive to reach them but don’t neglect the long-term eternal things. Those are much more important.

Thank you so so so much! So awesome right?!

Finally, I think you should check out their foundation and donate 🙂 You can do that here!