I’m heartsick about what’s happening in the United States these days. Perhaps you feel some of the same bewilderment and anxiety?
I’ve put together a reading list for these uncertain times. I’ve read some before and want to revisit them. Others, my husband has read and recommended.
With a couple of notable exceptions in eighth grade and my freshman year of college, I had lousy history teachers and came out of school with only the most basic understanding of World War II and the Holocaust. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank introduced me to the horrors of that time period when I was in middle school.
As an adult, my reading of both fiction and nonfiction has filled some of my knowledge gaps and broken my heart over and over.
When I read about the political climate leading up to and the atrocities during WWII, I find myself wondering what I would have done in those times. Would I have been brave? Would I have turned a blind eye? Would I have resisted? Or pulled up the drawbridge to keep my own safe?
I do not have sure answers to these questions, and I do not like that I cannot answer these questions about myself. And so I read. I arm myself with words and wisdom so that when these questions come, I will be sure.
In case you’re looking for books to help you navigate your own questions, I offer these (in no particular order … well, except for the Bible. That’s always a great place to start.):
- The Bible (I prefer the NASB and NIV translations, but pick whatever suits you best).
- C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters (a work of fiction containing letters from a senior devil to a junior devil about how to divide people from one another).
- Eric Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.
- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.
- The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison (edited by Eberhard Bethge).
- Zoo Station by David Downing (the starting point of Downing’s John Russell novels).
- The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy.
- People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.
- The Lady in Gold by Anne-Marie O’Connor.
- Violins of Hope by James A. Grymes.
I’ll leave off with a few words that I find particularly encouraging now, words that may also appeal to you.
Daring to do what is right, not what fancy may tell you, valiantly grasping occasions, not cravenly doubting – freedom comes only through deeds, not through thoughts taking wing. Faint not nor fear, but go out to the storm and the action, trusting in God whose commandment you faithfully follow; freedom, exultant, will welcome your spirit with joy.
Thus has the Lord of hosts said, “Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.”
— Zechariah 7:9-10
Do you have any reading suggestions? I hope you’ll add them in the comments below.