8 Books with Benefits

804 Words–Approximate Reading Time 3 minutes

I used to hate reading. I don’t know why. My best guess is that for the first 22 years of my life I was told what to read, and honestly, I didn’t like much of it. Every English teacher and professor in high school and college had their favorite authors and novels. They made their favorites my required reading. I can only recall one book I was required to read that I liked: The Pearl by John Steinbeck. The only reason I remember it is because I convinced my girlfriend at the time to read it to me. I think that was the reason I liked it.

I have changed. I truly enjoy reading, but something peculiar is now happening. People ask me on a regular basis what I am reading. I guess it comes with the territory of being a public figure.

Studies have shown there are some pretty cool benefits to reading:

  • It sparks mental activity. My brain starts moving when I read.
  • It reduces stress. I begin thinking about something other than my problems.
  • It creates an opportunity to learn. I discover I really don’t know it all.
  • It expands the vocabulary vault. I find new ways to say the same things.
  • It slows memory loss. I remember why I came into the room.
  • It promotes problem solving. I learn from someone else’s mistakes or challenges.
  • It extends the attention span. I pay attention to my wife longer.
  • It helps when writing. My Facebook posts and Tweets are less ignorant.
  • It promotes slowing down. I can be still and not get bored.
  • It can be free entertainment. I don’t have to spend a fortune because library books are free.

The motivation behind this blog is to share with you some of the books I have read. Below is a list of good reads. I’m not a professor and this is not required reading. My hope in suggesting them is that they may they bring one or more of the benefits listed above to you.

The Bible by God – I read a portion of this book everyday. Every 15-18 months I will read through the Bible and begin again. I read a different a translation or paraphrase each time I start over. My favorite translations are the NIV, NLT, NIrV and The New Testament in Modern English translated by J.B. Phillips. The best paraphrases are The Living Bible and The Message. Reading the Bible will change your life.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio – A heartwarming story of a family that overcomes the struggles of a child with a facial deformity. The book was made into a movie and it was good; but the book is better.

Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis by Stephan Bauman and Matthew Soerens – An eye-opening explanation detailing the process a person must go through to become a refugee invited to the United States. I never understood the difference between a refugee and immigrant until I read this book. Nor did I understand the global crisis and the reasonable response to make a difference.

A Life Intercepted: A Novel by Charles Martin – Charles Martin is my favorite fiction writer. This book mixes high school football, sexual accusations, a love story and a fatherless child all into one story. The author is a Believer, but his stories are not sappy Christian tales. They are edgy stories filled with characters that stick to their values even when the cost is high.

The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin – DO NOT SEE THE MOVIE! The only thing the book and the movie have in common is the title and the plane crash. The male character in the book is a man’s man. He is nothing like the character in the movie. If you like rugged adventure, suspense, survival and sexual tension mixed with integrity, you will like this read.

Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel by Mark Sullivan – The book is a novel based on the real events of a 17-year-old boy in Italy during World War II. He became a top spy for the Allies. A fascinating story filled with war, love, loss, heroism, courage and strength. One of the best non-fiction stories I have ever read.

Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas – The book consists of seven short autobiographies of men who shaped the world. I could tell you who the men are, but you would assume you already know their stories. Trust me. You don’t.

Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul by Howard Schultz – The author wrote this book long before he announced his 2020 candidacy to become president of the United States. It is the story of Starbucks and how it overcame decline and closure. I don’t drink coffee, but this book is fascinating.

3 Comments on “8 Books with Benefits

  1. I’ve read 7 Women by Eric Metaxes and thoroughly enjoyed it. This reminds me I have wanted to read 7 Men so it will be the next in line.
    I have been using the Message Bible for my “daily” reading since the beginning of the year. (Daily is in quotes since I have missed some days…so far though this year, not many!)
    I love a great reading list! Thanks for this!


  2. I like to read for most of the same reasons. Guess I hadn’t really thought of the health benefits but that’s good too. Except for the Bible I haven’t read any of the books you mentioned. I’ll check out at least one. I haven’t read fiction in a long time seems like Life is interesting enough. I’m reading Irresistible by Andy Stanley right now.


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