Friday, October 10, 2008
Amish Reading List: Updated Winter 2011
Thank you to everyone who took the time to express interest in a list of Amish books. I never get tired of recommending good books, and in this case, I love to recommend books that are authentic and are more reflective of Amish reading habits rather than the current crop of popular light romance books that take place in an Amish setting. While Amish women do read many of the same Christian fiction books that you do (they get borrowed from their local bookmobile or library), I wanted to show my readers what books you might actually find on bookshelves in Amish homes. This list is by no means complete, but is a good place to start if you are interested in real Amish literature.
So without further delay, here are some of my recommendations:
New Updates for Winter 2011
Author Harvey Yoder wrote "God Knows My Size" about a young woman named Sylvia and her Christian journey. Sylvia herself follows up on this popular book with "God Knows My Path" by Sylvia Tarniceriu
Also by Harvey Yoder, "Elena" and there will be two new books out in 2011 by the talented Mr. Yoder.
"Out of Deception" by Nathan Miller. This is the true story of a cult that swept through an Amish community in northern Indiana. It is very popular right now.
Dale Cramer, author of Levi's Will has a new book, called "Paradise Valley". This is fiction based on a true story. Cramer uses his grandfather's memories to piece together an Amish defection to Mexico in 1921.
"Out of the Thorn" & "Blossoming Thorns" by Ethel Hostetler
"Journey of Hope" by John Hochstetler (stories of adoption among Amish)
"The Odyssey of A Heart" by Mervin Wagler (leaving the Amish and then returning)
Some Amish Classics...or otherwise widely read
Tobias of the Amish and it s sequel Emma: A Widow Among the Amish by Ervin R. Stutzman (true stories)
Anything by author Jerry S. Eicher, such as Sarah, Rebecca's Promise, etc. (novels)
Finding the Way, by Barbara Yoder
Eyes at the Window, by Evie Yoder Miller (fiction based on a true event)
Growing Up in an Amish Jewish Cult series by Patricia Hochstetler (a much talked about book series in some Amish communities when it was first published.)
Rosanna of the Amish, by Joseph W. Yoder (Who also wrote Fixing Tradition.)
Amish Soul on Ice by John M. Keim (autobiography)
Just Plain People: Tails and Truths of Amish Life, by Eli R. Beachy (If I recall, this author got in trouble for writing a little too much of the truth...)
House Calls and Hitching Posts by Dorcas Sharp Hoover. (true) And you might also like Dr. Frau: A Woman Doctor Among the Amish by Grace H. Kaiser
Levi's Will, by W. Dale Cramer (fiction with some events based on the author's family.)
The Unwanted Son and The Forsaken Child, both by Benuel M. Fisher
Margaret's Print Shop by Elwood E. Yoder (historical novel)
The Mist Will Lift by Ruth Sauder (Old Order Mennonite novel)
Nobody's Kate by Carol Duerkesen and Maynard Knepp (novel)
No Strange Fire by Ted Wojtasik (novel based on true event)
Trials and Triumphs by Barbara Chupp (true story of a woman left alone to raiser her family.)
Sunshine and Shadow: Our Seven Years in Honduras by Joseph Stoll (about an attempt to start an Amish community in Honduras). Also, Jerry Eicher's A Time to Live.
Choice Stories for the Family (formerly titled Sabbath Readings for the Home Circle) (Stories and poems for families, lessons teaching obedience, kindness, and affection to brothers and sisters.)
Shelter Me Safe, by Sheryle Lehman (a young girl's journey of faith through difficult times...based on true events.)
Home Life on the Prairie, by Susan Hochstetler (An account of an Amish family's move from a community in Montana to Oklahoma in 1985)
The Cost of the Crown by Claudia Esh (novel taking place during the Reformation)
Increase my Faith by Maureen Huber (Faith building stories for all ages)
Ben's Wayne by Levi Miller
The Midnight Test by Elmo Stoll (adventures of Amish Youth)
Dr. Frau: A Woman Doctor Among the Amish by Grace Kaiser
A Separate God: Journal of an Amish Girl by Lucinda Streiker-Schmidt (Book by a former Amish woman)
If you have a difficult time finding any of these books or would like more information on any of the titles, just contact me and I will try to help.
Plainly speaking, if you are used to reading the Beverly Lewis type-Amish fiction, many of these books may bore you, or you just might not find them as interesting. Books that are written by plain people for plain people usually contain extensive family connections and historical events that have meaning to few people outside Amish circles. If you read this list and still can't find anything that peaks your interest, I'd encourage you to check out anything by Carrie Bender, such as the Miriam's Journal series. If you like Carrie's books you might also like books by Mary Christner Borntrager such as Ellie or Rebecca or Rachel (and so many others.) And don't miss the Buggy Spoke series by Linda Byler.
Another favorite, which takes place in an Old Order Mennonite setting, is the Nancy Martin series by Mrs. Cleon Martin. The first book in that series is called The Pineapple Quilt and it will remain a personal favorite, forever.
Also, as research for writing her book Plain Truth, Jodi Picoult lived with an Amish family and I think it shows in the details of her story. There is also a new author, Cindy Woodsmall, who wrote a trilogy called Sisters of the Quilt. As an outsider who writes about Amish and Mennonites, she also seems to do a better than average job, likely because she consults with Amish and Mennonite people for factual content when writing her stories.
Amish everywhere were deeply interested in the awful event that occurred in Lancaster in October 2006. Many Amish readers turned to the following books for information and comfort:
Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Redeemed a Tragedy, by Donald Kraybill, Steven Nolt, and David Weaver Zercher.
The Happening: Nickel Mines School Tragedy by Harvey Yoder.
Think No Evil: Inside the Story of the Amish Schoolhouse Shooting...and Beyond by Jonas Beiler & Shawn Smucker
Forgiveness: A Legacy of the West Nickel Mines Amish School by John L. Ruth
Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) is a top-rated relief agency with world wide mission projects that are largely supported by Amish and other plain people. They have also carved out a unique publishing niche for themselves, publishing and distributing books that focus on the missional endeavors of plain people. Some current favorites include The Long Road Home by Pablo Yoder, Miss Nancy by Harvey Yoder, and In Search of Home, also by Harvey Yoder.
Books for Children (Young Readers)
The Bishop's Shadow, by I.T. Thurston
Bridges Beyond, by Ruth K. Hobbs
Calls to Courage by Tim Kennedy
Katie and the neighbors by Della Oberholtzer
Doors to Discovery by Ruth Hobbs
Fountain of Life and A Horse Called Willing by Rebecca Martin
A Greater Call by Harvey Yoder
The Little Woodchopper by Mary M. Sherwood
Special Friends at Home by Sara J. Yoder
Sunshine Through the Storm by Rhoda Bontrager
Surprise in a Boot by Janet Martin Sensenig
Eli and the Purple Martins by Levi Overholtzer
Be Still My Soul by Sarah Zimmerman
Youth and Young Adults
The Nancy Martin Series by Rebecca Martin (Pathway Publishers)
The Unwanted Son by Benuel Fisher
Pepper in Her Pie, Singing Mountains, and The Buttercup Tree by Mrs. Cleon martin
Rita Comes Home by Audrey Siegrist (16 year old Dorcas faces trials when her family takes in her cousin)
***Some great comments on this post. I wish they would have transferred from my old site!***