The LDS book market is a publishing force to be reckoned with, with hundreds of new titles by LDS authors being published every year. Elder Orson F. Whitney said in 1888, “We will yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own. … In God’s name and by his help we will build up a literature whose top shall touch heaven. …”
But The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by no means has the corner on inspiring titles. Here are 10 books by non-LDS writers that teach Christian values, inspire faith and teach of the power of the human spirit. They will help improve readers’ lives.
1. “Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back” by Lynn Vincent and Todd Burpo
This near-death experience account chronicles the experience of Colton Burpo, a 3-year-old boy who survived an emergency appendectomy and came home with an extraordinary tale. Over the following months Colton told his family about Heaven, where “nobody is old and nobody wears glasses.” This book is a record of Colton’s experience.
The book was made into a film in 2014 and is the No. 1 downloaded eBook in Utah, according to Scribd.
2. “Tuesdays With Morrie” by Mitch Albom
This modern-day classic chronicles the Tuesdays author Mitch Albom spent with Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from decades earlier. Morrie was dying of ALS and turned the pair’s last few months together into one final lesson: how to live.
3. “1776” by David McCullough
Though not typically listed as “inspirational,” David McCullough’s historical account of the year 1776 demonstrates the miracle of the American revolution that, by all accounts, never should have succeeded.
4. “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis
Any list of inspiring books must include at least one book by C.S. Lewis (this list, incidentally, includes two). “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” heavily incorporates Christian themes, including the redeemed sinner, the sinless sacrifice to save him, and the one shining hope when hope is all but lost.
5. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
This modern-day classic is probably a must-read for every reader, not just Christians. This coming-of-age tale teaches in simple terms themes of innocence, kindness, humor and love.
6. “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens
The classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and his inspirational change of heart is a classic Christmas tale, even earning a spot in President Thomas S. Monson’s Christmas Devotional address. This Christmas, give this book a read to learn more about the true meaning of Christmas, the spirit of love, and the eternal truth that it’s never too late for a fresh start.
7. “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis’ satirical masterpiece takes the reader behind enemy lines to the vantage point of Screwtape and his nephew Wormwood, two tempters in Satan’s service. Wormwood is tasked with securing the damnation of a certain young man, gaining advice and insight from Screwtape along the way. The result is a unique and entertaining look at sin from the other side.
8. “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo
A book centered on “the miserable” may not be generally considered uplifting, but Victor Hugo’s classic novel is ultimately a tale of redemption. The book is rich in Christ-centered symbolism and is a unique study in law and justice, leaving readers with a greater understanding of God, justice, mercy, and what it means to be a true Christian.
9. “The Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom, John Sherrill and Elizabeth Sherrill
Like “Les Miserables,” “The Hiding Place” isn’t exactly happy-go-lucky. But it is an inspiring story of simple Christ-like love in extraordinarily difficult circumstances, making it a must-read for every Christian reader. Corrie ten Boom and her family were leaders in the Dutch Underground during the Holocaust, hiding Jewish people in their home and aiding their escape from the Nazis. In “The Hiding Place,” Corrie ten Boom—the only surviving member of her family—tells their tale.
10. “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand
Before he was the topic of Laura Hillenbrand’s bestselling book or the inspiration behind Angelina Jolie’s Christmas-release blockbuster, Louie Zamperini was just a kid from California who couldn’t stay out of trouble. He later became an Olympic athlete, a World War II bombardier, a prisoner of war in Japan, and a living example that the human spirit can remain truly unbroken even when the world is falling apart. “Unbroken” is Louie’s tale, but it’s also the story of the limitless power of the mind, body and spirit of every human being.