Here are some books I could talk about all day. This isn’t everything I read, but these books have influenced some of my writing and have helped me grow by shaping my perspective of my self, the world, and everything in between or beyond.
I've always had an interest in sociology, especially when I am thinking about the Church. I spent 4 years in college learning about things that Christena Cleveland had already written a book about.
As a woman who wants to see the Church truly live into biblical diversity, I love how Christena speaks—and I'm also glad I had the chance to tell her that in person!
I don't actually own a physically copy, since I read a borrowed copy. But once I get my hands on my own copy, I will be rereading and highlighting, underlining and crying all over this book.
This book makes a case for feminism that includes Adichie's particular perspective as a affluent West African woman, or as she calls herself "a happy African feminist." You can watch the TedTalk that her book is based on.
Vulnerability will change your life. It definitely changed mine. After a year of saying yes, I read this book and realized how much of Brown's principles I was already embracing. But it also encouraged me to pursue bigger leaps into vulnerability.
She's influenced the way I see love, first for myself and then for others.
I read this book after my first semester in college. This was when there was a version of me that existed that believed racism "wasn't that big of a deal" and African Americans were over exaggerating.
James Cone passed away this year and I got to reflect on how reading this book woke me up. I will never see the cross as a decorative trinket ever again and I can never unsee the direct link between Jesus and the oppressed in society. I am so thankful for James Cone and those who have written scholarship on black theology. They've helped make me the woman I am today.
Austin Channing Brown wrote this book on her experience growing up and working in all-white spaces. This book resonated with me on so many levels as a black woman with similiar experiences.
Read this post on anger and embracing the "Angry Black Woman," where I talk a bit about how Brown's book has impacted me.
I read this book during a time when I really, really, really needed to find reasons to love The Church. Rachel Held Evan's journey in this book helped me find my hope in something greater. I am still a part of The Church, and my criticism has found it's place there as well.
I'm glad I read this book at the beginning of my college journey. It affirmed so much of what I already felt about being an introvert.
To be able to see introversion as a gift and not a curse has allowed me to embrace and love the way my brain is wired.
If you want a short synopsis of her book, listen to her widely viewed TedTalk here.
This book offers no apologies and makes no excuses. I enjoy the essays in this book from time to time when I need to be reminded (or when I need to remind others) that God calls women to ministry too.
I wish every pastor who cared about supporting women called to ministry had this book or a book like this to refer to. Much of the content helps navigate the logistics as well as the biblical support for women in ministry. It's preactical and thelogical but I like it because it is a breath of fresh air.