I went out for dinner with a friend the other night and naturally we started talking about books. Specifically books about being single. There are tons of books on dating and relationships and there are tons of books that say they're about singleness but are really about dating and relationships. Not so much on the reality of being single, particularly for Christians. She wasn't aware of what's out there and so I gave her a couple of recommendations. We agreed it's an important topic.
Singleness is also a vast topic. I could easily list several aspects I'd like to see written about in print. This is why I'm so grateful for the authors who have written about singleness and have done it well. I often bring the following books up in conversation and I recommend them to those who are single, as well as those who are married. Some are non-fiction and some are memoir. All are worth reading.
Singled Out: Why Celibacy Must Be Reinvented in Today's Church- Christine Colon & Bonnie Field
Set aside your preconceived notions about celibacy. This is the book I wish everyone, married and single alike, would read. Colon and Field explore a theology of sexuality in the context of singleness. But in defining celibacy and chastity, there's room for us all. The authors are single and in their 40s so their perspective and insights are especially relevant when it comes to discussing sexuality apart from the physical act of sex. Even if you have a more "liberal" ethic when it comes to sex, you'll find good takeaways. We can learn much from what they have to say about sex in the contexts of history, pop culture, and spiritual discipline. It's worth noting this is a more theoretical, than practical, approach.
While I didn't agree with everything, it was the first book I read that addressed a theology of singleness. That's huge! Hsu explores the myth of the "gift" of singleness, examines the history of marriage and singleness, and offers insights on loneliness and community. Also a more theoretical, than practical, approach.
Now and Not Yet: Making Sense of Single Life in the 21st Century- Jennifer Marshall
In examining cultural shifts, Marshall uses a more sociological approach and as a result, the book is filled with relatable research and profiles of single women. But it also a deeply personal book, as well it should be. She examines what was, how the old approaches or assumptions don't really work today, and what we can do for now and for the future. This book made me want to stand up and cheer. Also, fun fact: I went to grammar school with Marshall's younger brother.
Revelations of a Single Woman: Loving the Life I Didn't Expect- Connally Gilliam
One of the most honest books I've read exploring singleness. Gilliam is easy to relate to and she addresses even typically taboo subjects. Reading this several years ago encouraged me to be authentically engaged in my faith as it relates to being single. It's good to hear from a single woman making the most of her life, no matter what.
Orange Jumpsuit- Tara Leigh Cobble
Cobble's style is reminiscent of Don Miller and Shauna Niequist. This is her third book and while I haven't read the second, I'd argue it's her strongest work. She'd probably agree. There's a lot of her story that's similar to mine, though there are differences as well. The way she wrestles with God and sees Him in all things is encouraging, as is how she handles relationships. And while she does depict a romantic relationship here, it's equally important to see her wrestle with this season of her life and what singleness means to her.
Technically, this isn't a book about singleness. We are all waiting for something. But the author is single and has a unique perspective as a result. McLeroy has a great way of exploring the tension between the imperfections of earth and the perfection awaiting us in heaven.
A Walk With Jane Austen- Lori Smith
Smith's account of her travels in England retracing Austen's steps directly impacted her faith and her experience as a Christian single. This isn't a book on singleness but a memoir of an important time in her life. We need to hear these stories! I couldn't help but resonate with her experience. That she also explores Austen's body of work is the icing on the cake.
What other helpful books on singleness have you read or would you like to read?
Disclosure : Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site.