Facing East: A Pilgrim's Journey into the Mysteries of Orthodoxy
by Frederica Mathewes-Green

I read Mathewes-Green's account of her conversion to Orthodoxy shortly before I was baptized; it seeded my imagination with images of what Christian community could be.

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Things Seen and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faith
by Nora Gallagher

When I sat down to write my own memoir, I went back to Gallagher's account of her return to the Episcopal Church. My favorite line: "In my thesaurus, one of the synonyms for Eucharist is windfall." It is simple and perfect.

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Miriam's Kitchen: A Memoir
by Elizabeth Ehrlich

Ehrlich, who grew up in a secular Jewish home, narrates her midlife decision to keep a kosher kitchen. I always tell Christians that if they are going to read one book about Judaism, it should be this one.

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Virgin Time: In Search of the Contemplative Life
by Patricia Hampl

This is Hampl's account of trying to learn to pray. "Prayer only looks like an act of language," she writes. "[F]undamentally it is a position, a placement of oneself." Amen.

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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
by Harriet Jacobs

In this amazing 19th-century text, Jacobs provides an account of her life in and escape from slavery. She describes her time in the attic and subsequent freedom in Christological terms—as a kind of going down into the tomb and then being redeemed.

Lauren Winner is author of several books, including Girl Meets God.

Related Elsewhere:

Previous Top 5 lists have featured marriage, Lent, fiction books for the soul, managing your money, devotionals, how character shapes belief, food, Atheism, China, Presidents, World Christianity, Ancient-Future Faith, the Civil Rights Era, Social Justice, Church History, Popular Culture, the Civil War, Apologetics, Atheism, and Sex.

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