The most recommended books on religion

Who picked these books? Meet our 1,162 experts.

1,162 authors created a book list connected to religion, and here are their favorite religion books.
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Book cover of The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain

Sean Prentiss Author Of Crosscut: Poems

From my list on trail building and traildogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 1997, I was hired by the Northwest Youth Corps as a trail crew leader. That season, and across five more seasons, I built trails across the Pacific Northwest and Desert Southwest, including in many national parks. Since then, I have been in love with backpacking trails (including hiking the Long Trail and Colorado Trail), building trails, and writing about trails (Crosscut: Poems). I now live in Vermont with my wife and daughter. We have a trail we built that weaves through our woods.

Sean's book list on trail building and traildogs

Sean Prentiss Why did Sean love this book?

While I could list many great books on backpacking and hiking trails, there are few books devoted to trail building. I’ll leave behind trail building and focus on a poet, Cold Mountain, who, like those of us who were trail builders, lived in the woods. Cold Mountain, an ancient Chinese poet, wrote his poems on rocks and bark and scattered them across his Tiantai Mountains. These poems are beautiful meditations on landscapes, wildness, Taoism/Buddhism, and politics.

By Red Pine (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This authoritative, bilingual edition represents the first time the entirety of Cold Mountain's poetry has been translated into English.

These translations were originally published by Copper Canyon Press nearly twenty years ago. Now, significantly revised and expanded, the collection also includes a new preface by the translator, Red Pine, whose accompanying notes are at once scholarly, accessible, and entertaining. Also included for the first time are poems by two of Cold Mountain's colleagues.

Legendary for his clarity, directness, and lack of pretension, the eight-century hermit-poet Cold Mountain (Han Shan) is a major figure in the history of Chinese literature and…


Book cover of The Gift of the Deer

Curt Brown Author Of Minnesota, 1918: When Flu, Fire, and War Ravaged the State

From my list on Minnesota stories to get through a long winter.

Why am I passionate about this?

After more than 30 years in daily journalism in Minnesota, I moved to a trout stream near Durango, Colo., to stage a second act. Editors at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where I worked for 26 years, gave me a freelance contract to write a Minnesota History column every Sunday. It’s morphed into a popular crowd-sourcing of history with readers feeding me delicious family stories. I’m the lucky one who gets to weave these stories—enriching my knowledge of what being Minnesotans is all about.

Curt's book list on Minnesota stories to get through a long winter

Curt Brown Why did Curt love this book?

This quirky 1966 memoir comes from a Chicago couple who traded in their big-city careers for a cabin at the end of the Gunflint Trail in Minnesota’s remote northeastern Arrowhead country. She had been a top-notch metallurgist—fiddling with a new way to temper steel for farm implements at International Harvester’s research lab near Chicago. He had been an art director for a textbook publisher. No one thought they’d make it through one Minnesota winter but they endured for 17 years on the edge of the wilderness and write soothingly about their new lives amid nature.

By Helen Hoover,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Gift of the Deer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic story of a family of deer and the humans who loved them

One Christmas Eve an emaciated deer stumbled across the yard of Helen Hoover's remote cabin in northern Minnesota. Barely surviving the brutal winter, gaunt from starvation, blind in one eye from a hunting wound, he became the central character in Hoover's best-selling book, The Gift of the Deer.

Hoover and her husband Adrian named this deer Peter and nursed him back to health, setting out cedar branches, corn, and carrots. From that Christmas on, the Hoovers observed Peter and his growing clan for four years. Hoover…


Book cover of Take and Read: Spiritual Reading An Annotated List

Leslie Bustard Author Of Wild Things and Castles in the Sky: A Guide to Choosing the Best Books for Children

From my list on there's no such thing as too many books.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've always loved reading to myself and others. I've been an English teacher for years. I love sharing good books and have the reputation of being a good resource, especially for moms with children. I’m happy to share everything from memoirs and history books to classics and children’s picture books. Walking through a library or a bookstore is a favorite activity, so finding not only new books but excellent books about books is always a treat. I love to understand what makes a book work well as a story, thus books that delve into the richness of a story through personal narrative or literary criticism have been favorites to keep on my shelves. 

Leslie's book list on there's no such thing as too many books

Leslie Bustard Why did Leslie love this book?

The words and life of Eugene Peterson have been important to my own spiritual formation, so finding a book that shares the books he read that formed him was a must. He recommends classic books, a wide variety of theologians and Bible scholars, poetry, and contemporary and mystery novels. Eugene Peterson had a large and generous heart and a deep-thinking mind, and finding out that I had read many of his favorites already was an encouragement. And looking for more of his recommendations has proved useful. 

By Eugene H. Peterson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Take and Read as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Spiritual reading has fallen on bad times. Today, reading is largely a consumer activity, done for information that may fuel ambitions or careers -- and the faster the better. Take and Read represents Eugene H. Peterson's attempt to rekindle the activity of spiritual reading, reading that considers any book that comes to hand in a spiritual way, tuned to the Spirit, alert to intimations of God.

Take and Read provides an annotated list of the books that have stood the test of time and that, for Peterson, are spiritually formative in the Christian life. The books on this list range…


Book cover of The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

Scott LaPierre Author Of Your Finances God's Way: A Biblical Guide to Making the Best Use of Your Money

From my list on finance books for biblically conservative Christians.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the teaching pastor of Woodland Christian Church, a role I've held since 2010. I preach God’s Word 1 to 3 times weekly, and I'm also a conference speaker and author. While I do some counseling and discipling, my main focus is on teaching and preaching, which involves studying God’s Word for 20 to 30 hours per week. I've learned biblical financial principles and I'm passionate about equipping people with them. With ten children on a single-income pastor’s salary, I've had to apply these principles in my own life, which has reinforced their importance and effectiveness.

Scott's book list on finance books for biblically conservative Christians

Scott LaPierre Why did Scott love this book?

When Katie and I married, we had completely different views on finances. In particular, I wanted to get out of debt and Katie seemed like she wanted to keep spending money regardless of how much we had. Someone gave us this book as a wedding gift and Katie read it on our honeymoon. By the time we came home her view was completely changed.

It’s probably the highest recommendation I can give this book. There’s a reason it is the top-selling financial book of all time. I have read it and recommended it to others. The book has mass appeal because it’s not strictly Christian.

Get-rich-quick schemes are avoided in place of a simple and straightforward approach. The program, Financial Peace University, has been used in churches and secular organizations. The major focus is the elimination of debt. The accompanying radio show, podcasts, and supplemental material also have this focus.

By Dave Ramsey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Total Money Makeover as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do you want to build a budget that actually works for you? Are you ready to transform your relationship with money? This New York Times bestseller has already helped millions of people learn how to develop everyday money-saving habits with the help of America's favorite finance coach, Dave Ramsey.

By now, you've already heard all of the nutty get-rich-quick schemes and the fiscal diet fads that leave you with a lot of quirky ideas but not a penny in your pocket. If you're tired of the lies and sick of the false promises, Dave is here to provide practical, long-term…


Book cover of The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child's Heart of Eternity

Wendy Speake Author Of Triggers: Exchanging Parents' Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

From my list on for gentle Christian parenting.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before becoming a mom, my career was as an actress in Hollywood. Once I took on the role of Mother, however, I stepped off of the stage and onto the page. Telling stories about my weary-making days raising children allowed me to encourage other moms to persevere in doing right even when their own kids do wrong. I wrote Triggers with Amber Lia in 2016 and it has been a best-selling parenting resource year after year.

Wendy's book list on for gentle Christian parenting

Wendy Speake Why did Wendy love this book?

No calling is greater, nobler, or more fulfilling than that motherhood. Every day, as we nurture our children, mothers influence eternal destiny as no one else can. Tragically, today’s culture minimizes the vital importance of a mother’s role. In The Mission of Motherhood, Sally Clarkson helps you rediscover the joy and fulfillment to be found in the strategic role to which God in all his wisdom has called you, for a purpose far greater than you can ever imagine.

By Sally Clarkson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mission of Motherhood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover how understanding God’s purpose and design can empower you to be the mother you long to be.

No calling is greater, nobler, or more fulfilling than that motherhood. Every day, as we nurture our children, mothers influence eternal destiny as no one else can. Tragically, today’s culture minimizes the vital importance of a mother’s role. In The Mission of Motherhood, Sally Clarkson helps you rediscover the joy and fulfillment to be found in the strategic role to which God in all his wisdom has called you, for a purpose far greater than you can ever imagine.


Book cover of Holy Blood, Holy Grail

Karen Martin Author Of The Bringer of Happiness

From my list on writing about death, religion, and spirituality.

Why am I passionate about this?

Our history is spoken through the voice of the conqueror – notably white male. My work seeks to balance our narratives through insight from women’s perspectives. I support my creative writing with extensive research in history, archeology, and myths, and include in situ interpretations of the relevant landscape. There are many truths to be told, not simply one ordained story and I wish to shine the light on stories that have been hidden and/or silenced. The themed series title, Women Unveiled, pertains to this.

Karen's book list on writing about death, religion, and spirituality

Karen Martin Why did Karen love this book?

I first read this book while at university. I re-read it after touring the Langue d’Òc region of France focusing on the folklore surrounding Mary Magdalene. This book advances the hypothesis that the historical Jesus married Mary Magdalene and travelled to the south of France, where their children married into nobility and established what became known as the Merovingian dynasty. This book provided a source of information as well as support, given my subject matter and the two entwining histories: the biblical era of Jesus and the 13th C siege of Montsegur. Its extensive bibliography provided a rich source of research, including academic articles, essays, and books.

By Richard Leigh, Henry Lincoln, Michael Baigent

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Holy Blood, Holy Grail as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Is the traditional, accepted view of the life of Christ in some way incomplete?

• Is it possible Christ did not die on the cross?
• Is it possible Jesus was married, a father, and that his bloodline still exists?
• Is it possible that parchments found in the South of France a century ago reveal one of the best-kept secrets of Christendom?
• Is it possible that these parchments contain the very heart of the mystery of the Holy Grail?

According to the authors of this extraordinarily provocative, meticulously researched book, not only are these things possible — they…


Book cover of The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Diana Drake Long Author Of Dream It, Design It, Live It: The Ultimate Guide to Manifesting Your Next-Level Life

From my list on creativity, happiness and success in life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been enthralled with the idea of “dreams come true” for as long as I can remember. In middle school, I discovered the field of psychology. I made weekly trips to the library and read books on personal development, spirituality, and memoirs. This commitment to learning and growth has never wavered. Those early seeds that I planted and nurtured have bloomed into my long-standing career of professional coaching, facilitation, and leading transformational retreats. My passion is empowering others to believe in their dreams and goals and bring them to life. 

Diana's book list on creativity, happiness and success in life

Diana Drake Long Why did Diana love this book?

This is another book that I consider a classic and, for years, has held a place of honor on my bookshelf. I go back to it from time to time. It's like visiting a wise friend who inspires you to be the most self-expressed you can be. Julia is a great guide, and I enjoy the author's writing style, which is easy to read and relate to. As a prolific author of dozens of books, she is intelligent and generous, and she encourages readers to go deeper and wider in their creative lives. She leads the reader through a twelve-week program in the book to unleash one's creative genius.

Her signature "field work" for readers is an exercise called "morning pages," a practice of writing down your unedited thoughts each morning to clear out the old thoughts and make space for new perspectives and ideas to come forth. I have…

By Julia Cameron,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Artist's Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Artist's Way provides a twelve-week course that guides you through the process of recovering your creative self. It aims to dispel the 'I'm not talented enough' conditioning that holds many people back and helps you to unleash your own inner artist. Its step-by-step approach enables you to transform your life, overcome any artistic blocks you may suffer from, including limiting beliefs, fear, sabotage, jealousy and guilt, and replace them with self confidence and productivity. It helps demystify the creative process by making it a part of your daily life. Whatever your artistic leanings, this book will give you the…


Book cover of The Five Love Languages

Khadijah Butler Author Of Laying the Foundation: Brick by Brick

From my list on self-help that stretches you and inspire change.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child and even as an adult, I’ve always been curious and stopped at nothing to seek out answers. Fast forward, I’ve been a clinical research professional for over 17 years so it’s no surprise that writing a How-To Book would come naturally. Having a passion for others took me on an altruistic journey of addressing my pain points and helping others address theirs. I hope at least one of these books will help you in becoming the best version of yourself!

Khadijah's book list on self-help that stretches you and inspire change

Khadijah Butler Why did Khadijah love this book?

Becoming a manager at an early age and now a nonprofit founder, I realize how important the statement ‘Relationship before Task’ is. While this book is used to sustain relationships of love, the lessons on how we invest emotionally in other areas of our life, including the workplace and friendships, is just as impactful. This book encourages me to give guidance, not ultimatums when making my needs known. Overall, this book is a reminder that being relationship-focused will bring us the love and/or significance that we’re looking for. 

By Gary Chapman,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Five Love Languages as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Through fun-filled presentations before a live audience, Gary Chapman helps you identify your personal love language. He also helps you understand the love language of your spouse.


Book cover of Losing Reality: On Cults, Cultism, and the Mindset of Political and Religious Zealotry

Alexander Stille Author Of The Sullivanians: Sex, Psychotherapy, and the Wild Life of an American Commune

From my list on cults and “high demand” groups.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began reading about religion, cults, and “high demand” groups to help me understand the group I was writing about in The Sullivanians: Sex, Psychotherapy and the Wild Life of an American Commune. In my book, the central question was how could so many smart, highly educated people allow their lives to be taken over by a group of psychotherapists. As a result, it was crucial for me to understand what draws people into new religions and holds them in groups that others may consider extreme or bizarre. 

Alexander's book list on cults and “high demand” groups

Alexander Stille Why did Alexander love this book?

For a theoretical and psychological understanding of the workings of cults, I would strongly recommend the work of Robert Jay Lifton, in particular, his most recent book Losing Reality: On Cults, Cultism, and the Mindset of Political and Religious Zealoutry, which brings together many of his writings over the years on the subject of cults and what he called “totalizing” groups, ones which demand absolute commitment.

Lifton, who wrote about “Nazi Doctors," the Chinese cultural revolution, and the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan, which carried out a deadly sarin attack on a Tokyo subway in 1987, grasped that the mechanism of belief and allegiance that bind both political and religious movements are essentially the same.

Lifton worked out eight criteria for thought control that groups commonly used that went from “Milieu Control,” (isolating members and control the information they are exposed to) and “Demand for Purity” (in which the good…

By Robert Jay Lifton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Losing Reality as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Robert Jay Lifton, the National Book Award-winning psychiatrist, historian, and public intellectual, proposes a radical idea: that the psychological relationship between extremist political movements and fanatical religious cults may be much closer than anyone thought. Exploring the most extreme manifestations of human zealotry, Lifton highlights an array of leaders - from Mao to Hitler to the Japanese apocalyptic cult leader Shoko Asahara to Donald Trump - who have sought the control of human minds and the ownership of reality.


Book cover of Husband On Purpose: Your 30 Day Action Plan to Become a Better Man and Build a Better Marriage

Jay Payleitner Author Of 52 Things Wives Need from Their Husbands: What Husbands Can Do to Build a Stronger Marriage

From my list on for husbands to get less nagging and more nookie.

Why am I passionate about this?

After a decade writing advertising for airlines and beer, I found myself working as a freelance radio producer for thousands of radio broadcasts for Chuck Colson, Josh McDowell, Fathers.com, Heritage Foundation, and Voice of the Martyrs. Later, I reinvented myself as a national speaker and best-selling author of 25+ books including 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad, Don’t Take the Bait to Escalate, and What If God Wrote Your Bucket List? with sales approaching one million copies. My wife Rita and I live near Chicago, where we raised five awesome kids, loved on ten foster babies, and are cherishing grandparenthood.

Jay's book list on for husbands to get less nagging and more nookie

Jay Payleitner Why did Jay love this book?

Men need to take responsibility for their marriage and family. And sometimes you need a plan. While the book seems to jump around a bit thematically, there’s a ton of great insight and even step-by-step instructions on making changes that need to be made. I guarantee, several passages in this book will jump out as things you had never previously considered. After studying your wife and working on your communication skills for the recommended 30 days, you may even suddenly feel as if you can read your wife’s mind! It’s an easy read and puts the ball in your hands and the ball in your court. Right where it needs to be. Men you can do this!

By II A. Conrad Deas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Husband On Purpose as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A step by step blueprint that can quickly transform your marriage..." - Hal Elrod Author of The Miracle Morning Book Series
Are you the man and husband you decided to be? Or did you drift to this point mostly on autopilot?
If you aren't the best husband you can be -- but you'd like to be -- read this book.
"Most of us get married on purpose... then we end up being a husband on accident."
This book lays out specific action steps to help you Love Your Wife On Purpose, EXACTLY the way she wants to be loved.
Impossible?…