The books we love give us clues to finding our next favorite. It helps to stop a minute to think about why I loved a book so much and what other books are similar. \n\n\n\nMy top six picks for you if you liked Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus fall into three categories. If you like riveting memoir, I recommend Educated by Tara Westover and Hillbilly Elegy by J.D.Vance. If you\u2019re interested in intellectually investigating the claims of Christianity, try Cold Case Christianity by J. W. Wallace and Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. If you like exploring a radically different world view, read The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway and Bruchko by Bruce Olson.\n\n\n\nIn 2017 I wrote 55 book reviews for my blog. The best book I read that year was Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi. I heard him speak at my daughter's graduation from Biola University in December of 2016. At that time he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer, which took his life in September of 2017. \n\n\n\nIf you don't know much about him, here's an overview of Nabeel's life and impact. \n\n\n\nI did expand each category in the lists below, for a total of 13 books. Happy Reading!\n\n\n\nI loved the account of the raw, treacherous journey that Nabeel Qureshi took to find faith in Jesus. The sacrifices he made, the intellectual, emotional and relational barriers that kept him from finding faith in Jesus and the story of overcoming those barriers.\n\n\n\nStatistics are one thing.\n\n\n\nOne person's story is something else altogether. What difference can one person's story make?\n\n\n\nWhy do we need to know Nabeel's story? \n\n\n\nThere are millions of devout Muslims on the planet. If we understand Nabeel's story, we come closer to understanding the Muslim mindset.\n\n\n\nUnderstanding opens the door to greater compassion. We share the same humanity. Our desires and dreams are common to the human experience.\n\n\n\nIn looking for a read-alike to Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, it matters why you liked it, and what you're looking for in your next read. Do you want another riveting memoir? Or are you fascinated by exploring a radically different world view? Or maybe you're interested in investigating the claims of Christianity? \n\n\n\nI highlighted my top picks in each category. \n\n\n\nRiveting Memoir\n\n\n\nIf you love riveting memoir, there\u2019s some great ones out there. \n\n\n\nFrom my point of view, there\u2019s a few elements that make memoirs riveting. \n\n\n\nFirst of all there\u2019s the question, what is it really like to live that life? How did they do it? \n\n\n\nSecondly, did they articulate it well? If they did the hard work, the reader\u2019s job is effortless. \n\n\n\nEducated by Tara Westover\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nI found myself thinking about this book long after I finished it.\n\n\n\n"Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag". In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard."-- from Amazon\n\n\n\nHow do you earn a doctorate without attending school till age 17?\n\n\n\nThis question drives the book, but there's so much more: mental illness, brainwashing, belief systems accepted and rejected, family dynamics, isolationism and, mostly, confronting your history honestly without bitterness.\n\n\n\nThere's a few heroes I love in this narrative, in addition to Tara herself who confronts her own story with transparency and courage. She dares to travel the road not taken.\n\n\n\nSince I've read it, it continues to haunt me (in a good way) and intrigue me and fascinate me.\n\n\n\nHighly recommended.\n\n\n\nHillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nThe only thing I didn\u2019t like about this book was gratuitous language. Sometimes language in a dialogue can prove a point, but there\u2019s no good reason for it to be in the narrative.\n\n\n\nThat being said, I love the social analysis wrapped around a boot-strapping overcomer\u2019s story. J.D. Vance emerged from an impoverished childhood to graduated from Harvard and become a successful lawyer.\n\n\n\nIt has some similarities to Ben Carson\u2019s story in Gifted Hands.\n\n\n\nI love the positive impact and stability the author\u2019s grandparents brought to his life.\n\n\n\nMy heart breaks for the young people in this country, especially for the homes that so many grow up in\u2013for the poverty\u2013not of money so much as love, stability, education and faith.\n\n\n\nOne thing that struck me is that the author wasn\u2019t able to find much help in counseling, but research, learning and understanding about himself and his formative years brought a measure of peace.\n\n\n\nThe Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nWhat would it be like to be convicted of a murder you didn't commit and then spend 30 years on death row?\n\n\n\nAmazingly, Anthony Ray Hinton is not an angry, bitter man.\n\n\n\nIt would be the logical reaction for an extreme injustice.\n\n\n\nWhat's it like for the men sitting on death row? How would you feel? What would you think? How do you make it every day?\n\n\n\nThis is an inside look. Incredibly, a hopeful look.\n\n\n\nBlue Like Jazz by Donald Miller\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nBlue Like Jazz is reminiscent of an Anne Lamott memoir. They're both off the charts in honesty, transparency and authenticity. We identify with those inner insecurities that we can\u2019t even admit to ourselves, much less to others, committing them to black and white and hurling them to the world.\n\n\n\nI\u2019ve read Donald Miller\u2019s memoir several times. I have also read Scary Close, which is somewhat of a sequel, but it doesn\u2019t have the same punch as Blue Like Jazz. Growing up fatherless is an underlying theme of Blue Like Jazz. By the time Scary Close was written, Miller has resolved many of his emotional issues and experienced a lot of healing. So, it\u2019s not driven by the same pain.\n\n\n\nI believe writing in itself is therapeutic. As is sharing your story. I heard Miller recently talk about the desire people have to be heard and seen and known. He\u2019s been there, done that and now has no more need to be seen and heard and known. He\u2019s heading a successful company now called StoryBrand that helps businesses tell their story .\n\n\n\nBorn a Crime by Trevor Noah\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nNote: Heads up for language.\n\n\n\nI didn't really understand apartheid until I read this book.\n\n\n\nSeeing how it played out in people's lives is sobering.\n\n\n\nTrevor Noah has a white father and a black mother. In South Africa, it was illegal for his father and mother to procreate. His very existance was against the law, hence the title, Born a Crime.\n\n\n\nIt's mind-blowing to think about the world and the life that Trevor Noah was born into. It's a cautionary tale, especially for those who have a vote in their government's laws and leaders.\n\n\n\nI liked Noah Trevor's personal and relatable writing style as well as the occasional political commentary.\n\n\n\nDifferent World View\n\n\n\nSeeking Allah, Finding Jesus gives us the inside view of a devout Muslim home. Nabeel grew up in the U.S. But, his parents were from Pakistan and they were devout Muslims. The traditions, rituals and beliefs of Muslims differ from that of other faiths. \n\n\n\nHaving a different world view affects everything. All your decisions are influenced by what you believe about God, man, humanity, eternity and society. \n\n\n\nSo many times, we're not even aware of our own world view until we see life through someone else's eyes. \n\n\n\nThe Heavenly Man by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nBrother Yun's story highlights the incredible religious persecution of Christians in China.\n\n\n\nThe verses of scripture they cling to are not the same ones that are familiar to us because they live a different reality. \n\n\n\nIt's good to have that world opened up to us and to spend some time thinking about it. \n\n\n\nChristians throughout history have been imprisoned and tortured and persecuted and martyred for their faith. The fact that it's still happening today often doesn't impact us. \n\n\n\nBruchko by Bruce Olson\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nNineteen year old Bruce Olson left the United States to bring the gospel to a stone age tribe of Indians in Columbia.\n\n\n\nHe learned their language and fully integrated into their culture. The contrast between their way of life and his upbringing in Minnesota is stark. \n\n\n\nHe paints such a vivid picture you can almost feel the creepy crawlies. At great personal sacrifice, he accomplished his mission. \n\n\n\nSomething Needs to Change by David Platt\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nAfter listening to Annie F Down's interview with David Platt on her podcast about his book I knew I needed to read it. \n\n\n\nPlatt traced his one week trek through the Himalayas and the impact it had on him to see such a dark place first hand. \n\n\n\nHe recorded in his journal the people he met, the scripture he read on the trip and his thoughts and emotions in response. \n\n\n\nHe witnessed human trafficking, extreme persecution of believers, children in isolated mountain villages without the most basic education and scores of people who had no knowledge of Jesus. \n\n\n\nPlatt was overwhelmed by a first hand experience with a dark corner of the world in desperate need, spiritually as well as physically. He eloquently invites believers into his pain as the first step to impacting the world. \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nThe Insanity of God by Nik Ripken with Gregg Lewis\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nNik and Ruth Ripken (not their real names) left Kentucky and moved with their family to Somalia to serve God. They encountered a shocking world of spiritual warfare and the persecution of Christians. \n\n\n\nNik Ripken pulls back the curtain to this world. \n\n\n\nBelievers who are imprisoned and tortured and martyred for their faith. Those who sing to Jesus and can\u2019t resist sharing him with others, no matter the price. \n\n\n\nHuman life is not valued. Women and children are not valued. Freedoms and dignity are not valued. All stemming from a world view so foreign it is difficult even to conceive. \n\n\n\nThey have since interviewed 600 believers in 60 countries to give voice to their stories. \n\n\n\nThese are their stories and Nik Ripken and Gregg Lewis share them so well. \n\n\n\nThe Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nA Christian family in Holland hides Jews from the Germans during World War II. \u00a0Corrie Ten Boom's incredible story of espionage, imprisonment and forgiveness.\n\n\n\nThe Ten Boom family takes their faith seriously. They believe the Jews are God's Chosen People and risk their lives to protect them.\n\n\n\nThey continue to trust God in spite of horrific circumstances and they see His hand at work.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nA Skeptic's Investigation of Christianity\n\n\n\nNabeel didn\u2019t set out to prove Christianity to be false, but he did seriously investigate principles he had been taught as a devout Muslim against the claims of Christianity. \n\n\n\nOther people have set out to prove Christianity false and made a 180 in their beliefs. \n\n\n\nIt\u2019s eerie how similar some of the stories are. \n\n\n\nCold Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n"In Cold-Case Christianity, J. Warner Wallace uses his nationally recognized skills as a homicide detective to look at the evidence and eyewitnesses behind Christian beliefs."\n\n\n\nHomicide detective and former atheist J. Warner Wallace used his skills to examine the claims of the New Testament. \n\n\n\nWallace treated the claims of the New Testament as a cold case investigation. Step by step he applied his technique to the search. \n\n\n\nMere Christianity by C.S. Lewis\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nLewis has a way with words. He wrote a lot of them. His own conversion to Christianity was after an intellectual struggle that only a university professor could engage in. \n\n\n\nC.S. Lewis lost his mother as a child. He lived as an academic agnostic until, as an adult, he re-examine the claims of Christianity. Many of his friends were believers and after an intellectual investigation, he concluded that the claims of Christianity were true.\n\n\n\nHe concluded the claims of Christianity to be true. \n\n\n\nMore Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nMore Than a Carpenter is mostly a Christian Apologetic. Josh starts with his own story of searching in chapter 1, but then spends the next 10 chapters on the arguments of the biblical claims, including whether the Bible itself is a reliable document. \n\n\n\nFor decades, Josh McDowell's book has become a classic history of skeptic converted to Christianity. \n\n\n\nEvery person in the world grows up with a belief system, whether it\u2019s been intentionally taught to him or one that he\u2019s absorbed by observing and investigating. \n\n\n\nTakeaways from Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus\n\n\n\nEvery person in the world needs to evaluate that belief system for themselves and embrace the beliefs they choose as an independent person. \n\n\n\nTaking that journey with Nabeel is instructive. This is everyone\u2019s story. It\u2019s painful. It takes courage. It impacts relationships. Taking the journey with him increases our compassion and empathy for every human and the courage it takes to live with integrity. \n\n\n\nFinally, there\u2019s the question of faith. \n\n\n\nNo matter what you believe, at some point there\u2019s always a leap. Some point when you say, okay, this is what I believe. \n\n\n\nOnce you get past the investigating and the wrestling and the struggling. Then you choose. You land somewhere and you have peace. \n\n\n\nOr else you continue to live life in the struggle not sure where to land. Or you live life in a fog, doing everything you can to stop from thinking. \n\n\n\nSo, to a certain extent, we can identify with everyone\u2019s coming of age story. To become human means to own a belief system and world view that will serve you in adulthood. \n\n\n\nIt helps us to see where someone else broke the trail through the deep snow. We could choose to follow behind and save ourselves a little trailblazing. Or we could veer off across the virgin plain and ease the way for the traveller behind us. \n\n\n\nNow that you've added some new books to your TBR, what next?\n\n\n\nHow do you find the time to do the reading you want to do? \n\n\n\nWhere can you get the books you want to read?