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Story Weather

Ian David Philpot

David Holper

David Holper shares a winter reading list for the upcoming "season of reflection."

Where I live on the far northern coast of California, the storms have begun—wet, windy,  powerful. Today, there’s a break in the weather, and as we rush my son to his last soccer game  of the season, we come down off the hill overlooking Humboldt Bay: the waves are so huge,  they are breaking over the southern jetty, which means that beyond, out where the Pacific is  fighting its perpetual battle with the land, the waves must be peaking at least 15 feet high—or more.

I love this season. The weather is wild, a little unpredictable. Knowing that, and having lived here off and on for over 30 years, I keep an umbrella in my car and one in my office to boot. It’s a perfect time to sit inside, build a fire, and enjoy time with my kids and my wife.

As I sit down to write after the game and the pizza party, I find myself browsing NPR’s website for inspiration, and my thought is perfectly echoed in Sting’s comments about his new album: "I think it's the season of reflection," Sting says. "You know, we seem to need the winter to reassess ourselves, to hibernate, if you like; to seek home, to seek comfort. Somewhere cozy: the church, the family home."

My thoughts exactly.

Although what Sting doesn’t say—at least not here—is that it’s also the perfect time to read. And for me, at least, it’s always a good time to refresh my faith and challenge me to better understand the twenty centuries of believers who have trod this path before me. By this, I mean books that challenge me in my thoughts, in my belief, in my actions. So just in the spirit of sharing some titles I’ve enjoyed, I thought I’d offer a reading list for the winter. But, to be frank, it’s really more an invitation to everyone who stumbles over this blog to join the conversation about books on faith and the church that ignite the fires of our hearts and minds.

In no particular order, here’s my list. Happy winter nights reading!

C. S. Lewis The Great Divorce

Malcolm Muggeridge A Third Testament (a great book I recently read that introduces the reader to the likes of Augustine, Blake, Pascal, Bonhoefer, Kierkegaard, and Dostoevsky)

Fyodor Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment and The Brother Karamazov

Timothy Keller The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism

Donald Miller Blue Like Jazz

Anne Lamott Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith (and the other books that follow in her faith series)

Ravi Zakarias The Real Face of Atheism

Dietrich Bonhoeffer The Cost of Discipleship

John Eldredge Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive


David Holper has worked as taxi driver, fisherman, dishwasher, bus driver, soldier, house painter, bike mechanic, bike courier, and teacher. With all that useful experience and a couple of degrees, he has published a book of poetry called 64 Questions (March Street Press), as well numerous other poems in literary journals including Relief. He lives in Eureka, California, which is far enough from the madness of civilization that he can get some writing done. Another thing that helps is that his three children continually ask him to make up stories, and he is learning the art of doing that well for them.