64 comments

  1. Joanna says:

    Both Shauna Niequist’s books (Bittersweet and Cold Tangerines) make me feel less alone. She has an amazing way of putting to words things I have felt or wondered but had lacked the words to describe. I quite often find myself quoting her, The idea running through her books that ordinary life can be beautiful even in messiness and uncertainty is also one I’ve found hugely encouraging.

  2. Sarah says:

    Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, T.S Eliot’s poetry, H.D.’s poetry, C.S. Lewis’s Til We Have Faces, and anything by Jane Austen.

    I need to read Quiet and finish A Circle of Quiet too…love these suggestions.

    • Anne says:

      Oooo, I love your list….except for the H.D. poetry which I haven’t read a smidgeon of. Our similar tastes make me think I need to find myself some asap! Thanks for the recommendation, Sarah.

  3. Allison says:

    Love this list and can’t wait to read #1 and #5! I’m a huge Madeleine L’Engle fan. Recently, I found one of her novels at a used bookstore for $2. I got home and opened the cover to find she had autographed the cover page!! I don’t think the bookstore had any idea that was there. I almost fell off the bed!! 🙂

  4. I’ve only read Quiet from your list, but I loved it so much. I read huge chunks of it out loud to my husband, and it was all I could do to not read the entire thing to him. And all I can do to not want to push the book on every one I know & tell them they need to read it because there’s nothing wrong with not being an extrovert.

    Why yes, I did marry into a family of extroverts, can you tell?

  5. Carrie says:

    Two things:

    OMG I understand that quote by L’Engle! I am so irritable today because I haven’t written in days. And I have to get my hands on that book about cities. I SO LONG to live in an urban environment again. I miss walking everywhere so much.

    Also, when I open my Google reader every day, your blog and Laura Vanderkam’s vie for “clicked on me last” because they’re my favorites. 🙂 Hers because it always makes me think (sometimes uncomfortably) and yours because I always have new titles to add to my Amazon wish list!

    • Anne says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Carrie. I love Laura’s blog too–for the same reason.

      Jane Jacobs is fascinating–largely because her book about cities is about so much more than urban planning.

  6. Sarah Beals says:

    SO, I totally get many of these quotes and I don’t think I am an introvert. AND, I downloaded the Work book I believe and never read it. But, from your quote, is seems in sync with Charlotte Mason’s short lessons for children and after reading, she insists that parents NOT tell the child what to think about the reading. She believes that in order to have a relationship with the material, they need to mull it over and form conclusions on their own. Interesting. 🙂

    • Anne says:

      Sarah, it’s so good! I highly recommend it AND The War of Art (which should probably be read first).

      It’s been a long time since I read Charlotte Mason. I can see Ourselves staring at me from my bookshelf right now 🙂

  7. I’ve seen a bit about Quiet, and finally just put it on hold at my library. Sounds really interesting.

    But speaking of that – I recently discovered there’s such thing as an “ambivert” – which completely describes me. I would love to read more about how to balance the strengths & weaknesses, but I’m not sure of where to look. And I thought, if anyone knew some good books about ambiverts, it would be you 🙂 Any recommendations?

    • Anne says:

      Elizabeth, read Quiet. It’s so informative, engaging, and readable (and she discusses extroverts and ambiverts as well). Also, there are a lot more aspects to personality besides the introvert/extrovert split that all contribute to each person’s strengths and weaknesses. Try Please Understand Me or the website personalitypage.com as starting points.

  8. Grace says:

    Great list! I absolutely love Quiet. I felt so validated after reading it. I rave about it to anyone who will listen, haha. I am currently reading Grace for the Good Girl, and it’s helping me feel less crazy as well.

    • Anne says:

      Grace for the Good Girl is on my list too, Grace. I haven’t read it yet, but I want to in the next week because Emily’s speaking at the Influence conference next weekend.

  9. Heather says:

    Wow! I love this list, a must read and thank you for sharing!
    I’ve skimmed Jane Jacob’s book and this is why my husband and I vacation on 30A in the Florida panhandle, we don’t get in the car the entire week!
    Also, I’ve been having issues with the technology fast forward world we live in and am so looking forward to reading Quiet!
    I tend to read books that make me think more about life and relationships-The Glass Castle is one that comes to mind….

  10. I also claim Madeleine L’Engle as an honorary mentor, and oh my, I love A Circle of Quiet and her other memoirs. And Quiet made me feel less alone, too. (I need to read that Jane Jacobs book!)

    Recently, Lauren Winner’s Still made me feel less alone. I’ve returned to it already.

  11. Sarah says:

    I love this list! My parents just sent me a package (yes, I’m 28 and they still send them and they have just as much power to make my day!) and they included the book “Quiet”. It’s been on my pinterest book list. I haven’t started it yet, but after this review, I’m going to start it over lunch!

  12. Tim says:

    You just got me to add Quiet to my Amazon list, Anne. Not that I need encouragement in my introvertedness; I’m doing a dandy job introverting daily!

  13. Although these books may be a little more practical they did make me feel “not crazy”:

    For my marriage, “What’s The Difference” by John Piper, “The 5 Love Languages” by Chapman, “Captivating” by Eldredge, and “The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim Keller were all excellent.

    “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel Pink validated my right-brain thinking, and “The Female Brain” by Brizendine was very illuminating/interesting.

    Although an out-dated book now and one I read in high school, the concepts in “Amusing Ourselves to Death” by Postman were enlightening.

    I added all of your books to my to-read list, but I’m especially excited about getting Quiet… and Work Shift since I was waiting to see if I won a giveaway 🙂

  14. Jennifer H says:

    I just read Sickened by Julie Gregory. She was a victim of Munchausen By Proxy growing up and I definitely felt less crazy after reading that.

  15. HopefulLeigh says:

    I still haven’t read Quiet but Introverts in the Church definitely made me feel like I’m not crazy. It was so eye opening to view my life in that framework and finally accept my introverted ways and how that impacts my faith.

  16. Erin says:

    Quiet and A Circle of Quiet are on my list of top 10 reads for this year, no question- along with 7 by Jen Hatmaker and Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer by C.S. Lewis.

    The Jane Jacobs book looks like it might be right up my alley. Thanks!

  17. I can’t wait to read Quiet now! Especially after scrolling through the comments and seeing what others have said about the book. Thanks for these recommendations.

    The one book that drove me crazy was Radical by David Platt. It’s shattering to your personal Christian faith.

  18. Heather says:

    I’ve moved every year for seven years – a combination of college and early-marriage uncertainty about where to finally settle down (which we’re doing now, after one final move in a couple of weeks!).

    During moves I reach for Harry Potter. I grew up with Harry Potter, always within a year or two of his age as the books were published, and it’s a comforting rock during those transitions.

    A few months after I move, it’s Lord of the Rings. Life is epic, and it goes on, no matter what small people like me are doing.

    A few months later, I go for anything in the Western Canon – including Jane Austen, of course! I may be a thousand miles (I know it’s really not a huge distance in today’s terms) from where I grew up, but I’m still part of my culture and its history. I’m in a stage of life where I desire comfort, and these types of books give it to me. They keep me from going crazy during major life transitions, like moving, marriage, and babies. I’m an introvert, but I crave connectedness.

  19. Stacie says:

    The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron (which you surely quoted above!) I break that out when I’m feeling low about myself. My husband read it about 8 years after i asked him to and said “I wish I would have read this when we first got married.”
    I keep hearing about Quiet, so I think I need to move that up my WTR list. and as a self-proclaimed L’Engle fan, I am ashamed to admit I haven’t read Circle of Quiet either. Guess i’ve got more reading to do…

  20. I loved “Quiet!” Such a helpful book in so many ways. 🙂

    Also adding “The Out of Sync Child” to my list. Several friends have children with SPD, but I hadn’t read that book. I think a lot of aspects of SPD can help with understanding aspects of other children who may not have been diagnosed with SPD, either.

  21. Elizabeth Kane says:

    I just got Do the Work and The War of Art on my new Kindle and cannot wait to read it! I’ve read a few sections here and there and listened to an interview of his a few months ago – all great. I think they’ll be two good back to back reads that compliment each other (and make me feel like I’m not crazy when I’m trying to write on those hard days).

  22. R. says:

    “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith -a classic novel about a little girl in turn of the century New York. It was the best selling book among soldiers in WWII, if that helps speak to it’s power to make you feel not a crazy.

    “A Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion -a very sad memoir, but not depressing. It’s hard to explain how a book about grieving could make me feel calm, but it always does.

    And lately, “Still” by Lauren Winner. “It is a mark of my charmed life that is was the first time I had ever tried to do something, and simply failed.” For the first time in my life, failure has been a topic that I’ve needed to explore in depth, and this book always helps me when I’m feeling down.

  23. Krys says:

    I recently spent awhile talking with a coworker about Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and immediately had to buy it for my Kindle. I haven’t started reading it yet, but I’m really excited about it.

  24. amber says:

    Oh my gosh, there are so many great suggestions on this list, and I love this topic. Just the idea that others need to “not feel crazy” helps me not feel crazy. So should I add this post to my list? 😉

    “Quiet” was definitely one of those for me, “Mixed Ministry” by Sue Edwards for sure, and “The Gift of Being Yourself…” from David G. Benner come to mind.

    And if the very life of C.S. Lewis were a book, it would make my list, because though he quoted from nearly every pulpit I know, were he alive in the States today, I’m not sure we would like people looking up to him very much. I know so many people who would say he introduced them to Faith, but his life was so different from what we seem to think a life lived for His glory might look like. I am so encouraged by the legacy of his off-the-beaten-path life, and it helps me not feel crazy when my own life is different from the standard M.O.

    Thanks again for this post!

  25. nancy says:

    Taming the Spirited Child: Strategies for Parenting Challenging Children Without Breaking Their Spirits by Michael Popkin. Before discovering this one, I had read many books about strong-willed children, but I was frustrated because I sensed that something was not quite right. I felt that a light went on when I read Popkin’s book. Finally, here was an expert who understood my child. I didn’t have a strong-willed child, exactly. She was (and is) spirited. There’s some overlap, certainly, but not enough for the strong-willed child books to make sense to me.

  26. Comeka Earl says:

    I stumbled upon your blog via Pinterest today. I haven’t had a lot a time to look around but I must say that anyone who identifies with Madeleine L’Engle is the type of person I want to give me book recommendations! I’m sure I’ll enjoy exploring . . .

  27. I read Quiet last year and found it such a comfort as well. Now I’m more than okay with myself. In a different sense, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People helped me not feel crazy because I could now put order to my crazy. When I feel out of sorts, frustrated, overwhelmed, or that I’m coming up short, I go back to what I learned in that book and I feel immediate relief.

  28. Lisa says:

    Co-dependent No More is a great book for those with an addict in their family. Will help you realize your not crazy. My dad is an alcoholic and this book helped me so much in my early 20’s.

  29. Molly says:

    I love Circle of Quiet. I enjoyed it so much I ran out and bought the other books in the series. Right now they are packed away in the basement somewhere, but I need to pull them out again.

  30. Rachel Komlo says:

    Your blog makes me feel less crazy. As for author’s whose novels I read to feel a little less alone and frazzled – Sarah Dessen, Elizabeth Berg, Christopher Penczak (as a pagan witch, I often feel fairly alone if not completely ridiculed and shunned, especially here in the south), and Anne Lamott who I haven’t read since middle school yet feel a desperate need to lately.

  31. Nicole says:

    I’m putting every one of the books you wrote about on hold at the library, Anne—including the one I’ve already read.

    In the meantime, the first book I thought of in response to this was Jane Eyre. I reread it after my first year of marriage and was grounded by the polar-opposition of her two would-be husbands, and her resolution. Heh.

  32. Cora says:

    I love that you consider Madeline L’Engle a mentor. She’s my favorite author, and for years I’ve been reading through all of her books in the order they were published. It’s taken me a long time because she wrote over 66! Some of them I speed through, and others slow me down a bit, but I love getting the insights into her life when I have just finished one of her novels and then she talks about what was going on in her life in her next memoir.

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