My Reading List

Even though PCVs stay pretty busy, there is plenty of time for reading when the power is out or when taking buses around the country. Lots of Peace Corps Volunteers set a reading goal at the beginning of their service, such as reading 50 books before they finish their 27 months. I love reading, so why not give it a try!

I update this list each time I read a new book that I consider worthwhile, with the most recent book listed at the top. If I read a book I consider mediocre, I just add it to the list at the bottom of the page. You can also check out my documentary recommendations.61633LFpDXL

Man’s Search for Meaning

Genre: Biography, psychology, Holocaust
My Thoughts: Highest recommendation. Seriously read it.

I have read this little book three times now, and each time I get something out of it. It contains the story of a psychologist’s time in Auschwitz and his piercing insight into humanity and the psychology of survival.

Ruined by Ruth Everhart

Genre: biography, Christianity, sexuality
My Thoughts: Recommend

A friend loaned me this book and I recently read it on the plane to Ukraine for my brother’s wedding. It’s about a girl attending a Christian college who is raped one night when a man breaks into her home. She then documents how her friends and family respond, how she wrestles with her view of God and sexuality, and the man’s trial. The book shows the glaring blindspot in the Evangelical response to sexual abuse and rape.

The Girl with All the Gifts (now a movie in theaters!)

The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose

torn.pngTorn by Justin Lee

Genre: biography, theology, sexuality
My Thoughts: Highest Recommendation

This book follows the story of a devout Evangelical man who realizes that he is attracted to men. With the strong rhetoric against homosexuality he hears in the church, he feels torn between his faith and his sexual orientation. This book provides much-needed insight into how the church is failing to address topics related to sexuality. I wish I could make this mandatory reading for my Christian friends and family members.

Modern RomanceModern Romance by Aziz Ansari

Genre: humor, dating

Actor and comedian Aziz Ansari has written a book that is not only funny and entertaining, but incredibly well-researched. He shares all of the most recent studies on dating culture in America, including statistics about online dating, apps like Tinder, and dating etiquette. He also explores the difference in dating, marriage, and sex in France, Japan, and Argentina. This book was such a fun read and I learned a lot from it. Definitely check it out!

when-we-were-on-fire-682x1024When We Were on Fire by Addie Zierman

Genre: Biography, Christianity

As someone who is experiencing some disillusionment with Christian culture, I resonated with a lot of the author’s experiences in this book. It tells the story of a young woman growing up in the church and striving for holiness, who begins to realize that becoming more like Christ is not the same as becoming more “Christian.” She struggles with depression, doubts, and the judgmental attitudes of those around her, while still trying to make sense of her faith.

catch me if you canCatch Me If You Can

Genre: Biography, crime

Maybe you have seen the movie version, but this book is still worth reading. It is the astounding true story of Frank Abagnale Jr., who stole millions of dollars by impersonating a pilot, a professor, a lawyer, and a doctor as a teenager. The true story is even more unbelievable than the Hollywood version.

Let me know if you want me to loan you my Kindle version!


half-the-sky-cover1Half the Sky

Genre: nonfiction, global issues, injustice

You simply must read this book. It powerfully educates about a wide variety of global issues related to women, while also telling the stories of real people.

house in the skyA House in the Sky

Genre: biography, survival, travel

This is the true story of Amanda Lindhout, who was kidnapped in Somalia and held hostage for over a year in horrendous conditions. This is a powerful story of human resilience.


Genre: biography, resilience, survival, World War II

The movie did not do this masterpiece justice. This true story is hands-down the most influential story of human resilience I have ever read. It also includes well-researched information on World War II, much of which was new to me.

sandSand Omnibus

Genre: dystopian novel

This is another great book by Hugh Howey, but I definitely recommend reading the Silo Series first.

Let me know if you want me to loan you my Kindle version!

The Silo Series by Hugh Howey


shift-omnibusdustGenre: dystopian novel

This series is one of my favorite collections of fiction. If you want to get lost in a well-written dystopian world, pick up Wool today. It is set hundreds of years in the future, where people are forced to live in massive underground bunkers due to nuclear fallout.

Let me know if you want me to loan you my Kindle version!

all-the-light-we-cannot-see-9781476746586_hrAll the Light We Cannot See

Genre: World War II novel
My Thoughts: Not my favorite.

I am normally a sucker for World War II stories, but this book failed to live up to expectations. It has received high praise, so maybe I am in the minority, but I felt the story was plodding and lacked direction. It tells the story of two children who become teenagers during WWII, one a blind French girl and the other an orphaned German boy. The language of the book is very poetic, so if you enjoy artistic descriptions of everyday life then maybe you will like the book. I found the plot very empty and the poetic language distracting.

Other books I recommend but have yet to summarize on here: 

  • Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea
  • Escape from Camp 14
  • Men and Women in the Church

Books I’ve read (and am currently reading) in the Peace Corps:

  1. Dear Leader: My Escape from North Korea
  2. Tell it to the World: International Justice and the Secret Campaign to Hide Mass Murder in Kosovo
  3. Trail of Broken Wings
  4. My Sister’s Grave
  5. All the Light We Cannot See
  6. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  7. A Lineage of Grace
  8. Appalachian Trials
  9. A Dark Lure
  10. Sand Omnibus
  11. All But My Life: A Memoir
  12. Stolen Innocence
  13. Catch Me If You Can
  14. Still Missing
  15. Delusions of Gender
  16. And the Mountains Echoed
  17. From a Name to a Number: a Holocaust Survivor’s Autobiography
  18. Jesus Feminist
  19. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
  20. Torn by Justin Lee
  21. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking
  22. The Last Lecture
  23. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
  24. The Bible Tells Me So by Peter Enns
  25. Crow Hollow
  26. The Girl with All the Gifts
  27. The Unlikely Disciple
  28. Ruined by Ruth Everhart
  29. Man’s Search for Meaning

Want to give a little gift to this Peace Corps Volunteer? Consider buying one of these Kindle books from my Amazon wish list. I promise, it is a lot easier (and less expensive) than sending a care package to Kosovo!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s