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Key Life ‘Top 19’ Quarantine Reads

Key Life ‘Top 19’ Quarantine Reads

APRIL 15, 2020

/ Articles / Key Life ‘Top 19’ Quarantine Reads

You can call it “self-quarantine” or “shelter in-place,” but really it’s “extra reading time.” We checked with some of our Key Life contributors to discover what’s on their Quarantine Must-Read Lists...

You can call it “self-quarantine” or “shelter in-place”, but really it’s “extra reading time.” 

 We checked with some of our Key Life contributors to discover what’s on their Quarantine Must-Read Lists…

Jackson Clemmer


On Being a Theologian of the Cross – Gerhard Forde

In an exposition of the theses of Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, Gerhard Forde lights every vain “theology of glory” on fire until all you’re left with is the cross — and the savior crucified upon it. The book is short, but it cuts like a knife through whatever ideas of self-sufficiency you’re holding on to. 

Gilead – Marilynne Robinson  

Robinson tells a beautiful story of redemption and healing in the life of an aging pastor in Gilead, Iowa. With the wisdom of a dying man, the Rev. John Ames records and interprets his life story for his young son, with grace and humor along the way. 

[Robin recommends this one as well:  “For something slower, deeper, and profound with truth (now that we have the time)… All of Marilynne Robinson’s novels. Start with Gilead.]

Robin Demurga


The Enchanted April – Elizabeth Von Arnim

If you’re looking for a classic… The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim (recommended to me by our own Jenni Young). A beautiful novel (you can smell the flowers and feel the sun) of four women who rent a medieval castle in Italy for a month. It’s about friendship, marriage, the passing of time, and our ability to grow and change.

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith – Anne Lamott

On faith… Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott. These essays remapped my relationship with God in a good way. I don’t remember much, but I do remember reading this while walking on a treadmill–in public–both laughing outloud and crying an ugly cry (sometimes one right after the other).

Alex Early


The Ragamuffin Gospel – Brennan Manning 

I recommend this book more than just about anything. Each time I read it, I think to myself, “this really is good news.”

Crazy, Holy, Grace – Frederick Buechner

I recommend this book to everyone walking through grief, setbacks, trauma, and confusion. Learning to steward my pain has enabled me to better love my neighbor. 

In the Name of Jesus – Henri Nouwen

I recommend this book often to anyone who wants to lead at any capacity. His emphasis on pursuing irrelevance, servitude, and love embody what it is to lead out of one’s relationship with Christ.

Kendra Fletcher


Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

A real sink-your-teeth-in epic novel (and if you ever thought you’d never have time to read it, guess what? Now you do).

Unoffendable – Brant Hansen

This non-fiction gem will change your heart and remain with you every single day.

Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

An adventurous romp on an English island that will make your kids forget they’re stuck at home.

Drew Hensley


Leading With Love – Alexander Strauch

This is one of my favorite books to walk through with anyone and everyone serving people in the church. This is an easy read packed with practical wisdom on what it means to lead with love at the center and the dramatic cultural shift that follows. 

Every Step An Arrival – Eugene Peterson

I love this daily devotional from Eugene. If you want a warm, heartfelt way to start your day, this is definitely the way to go.

More recs from Drew:

In His Image – Jen Wilkin

Gaining By Losing – J.D. Greear 

Gospel & Kingdom According to Plan – Graeme Goldsworthy

Matthew Porter


Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God. A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope – Christopher and Angela Yuan

I got to know Christopher and his mom, Angela, fifteen years ago while filming a documentary. Christopher has a bonkers prodigal son testimony that serves as an always-needed encouragement that everyone is loved and valued by God and no one is beyond the reach of His forgiveness. 

Jenni Young


A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles

is the story of one man’s life through some very tumultuous years in his homeland. Life is its theme (in my opinion), and Towles executes it brilliantly. If you are into themes like I am (and especially if you have a friend who is also), this is a beautifully written book to ponder and discuss.

The Supper of the Lamb – Robert Farrar Capon 

is full of intelligent, articulate, and touching rants and rambles by an Episcopalian priest, covering everything from the best way to stock your kitchen with knives to the best way to prepare for feasting in the New Earth. It appealed all at once to the wannabe foodie, artist, and theologian in me. It is also a cookbook of sorts.

Matthew: The Gospel of Identity – Michael Card

Michael Card’s book is part Bible reading, part devotional, and part commentary. His insights are unique and would be worthwhile for anyone, and they have been particularly for me, chinking away at some hardened spots in my heart. This book is the first in his Biblical Imagination series, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Find more great reads here.

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