Son of Laughter by Frederick Beuchner. Matt & I agree this great. Well written and makes you wonder, did that really happen in the Bible?
Love To Water My Soul by Jane Kirkpatrick. One of my all time favorites. The prose is beautiful and it is based on true people and places in Oregon. Jane Kirkpatrick always tells you what was true and what she made up at the end. I like all of her older books better than her more recent series.
Cloud of Sparrows by Takashi Matsuoka. Matt recommended this one to me. It is about white people arriving in Japan as missionaries at the end of the 19th century. A great story.
Pursuit and Persuasion by Sally Wright. This is a mystery in a series of four. Set in the 1960s with good character development. The disappointing part is there is a great cliffhanger at the end of the series, but she has been unable to publish no. 5.
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield. This is a favorite from childhood. It is actually referred to in "You've got mail" with Meg Ryan. It is a young adult novel, but worthy of reading as an adult.
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. This novel is just pure fun. It's like eating candy. There is not tons of depth, but it reads quickly and gives you a whole new perspective on the world of books.
Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery. I didn't read the entire Anne of Green Gables series until shortly after Matt and I got married. This one is about her first year of marriage. I enjoyed the whole series, but the liked the one where she goes to college and this one the best.
Bolt by Dick Francis. I pretty much like every mystery book Dick Francis has ever written. His writing is clean and excellent compared with most mystery books. He isn't shy about bringing violence into his books, but I feel like it's more on the "your afraid of what's about to happen side" of violence. Just be warned. They're not cute little novels, they're set in the horse racing world and people die.
How to Be Good by Nick Hornby. You might recall the movie "High Fidelity" and "About a Boy", both written by Nick Hornby. This book has not been turned into a movie, but it explores what it means to be a good person with some humor and drama thrown in.
A Painted House by John Grisham. I like the themes of grace in this book. Matt liked it too even though it's not on his list.
Biographical (if you like biographies, you can ask for more recommendations, I tend to favor these)
Spirit of the Rainforest by Mark Andrew Ritchie. This is not exactly a biography. It is an anthropological record of an Indian tribe in South America. I had to read it for an anthropology class at Western Seminary. It records different tribes' interactions with the spirit world. It is the most realistic picture of tribal spirit relationships I've ever seen. And yes, there is spiritual change in the story, so it's not all about evil. Matt did edit this book for me, because it includes the brutal stories of their lives before good comes into their world.
I Dared to Call Him Father by Bilquis Sheikh. This is a 1950s story of a Pakistani woman who finds God. I feel like the story could be a present day testimony of someone from the Middle East. I loved reading a detailed account of how God comes into her life.
My Several Worlds by Pearl Buck. Pearl Buck was actually a MK, but rejected Christianity. This her story of growing up in China between 1900 - 1940. I loved her cultural insights and how she viewed missionaries and she's a superb writer.
Red China Blues by Jan Wong. Jan Wong was one of the first foreign exchange students to China. It's a great account of culture in I think 1979. My favorite part was her eye witness account of Tiananmen Square.
A Circle of Quiet by Madeline L'Engle. This is more like a journal. It is part of a series of four. I enjoy her insights into life, although I do not always agree with her. My first encounter with Madeleine L'Engle was reading A Wrinkle in Time which Matt said boys will like too. It's a deep sci-fi young adult novel.
In The Beginning by Irina Ratushinskaya. Irina Ratushinskaya was put in the Soviet Gulag because of her poetry. Her story begins with childhood and goes through her time in the Gulag, and again how God comes into her life. Her poetry is also beautiful, but hard to understand the social implications when you are an outsider to Russian culture.
Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis. I don't recommend this book for everyone, but if you like to play Scrabble, you will find the world of tournament Scrabble play fascinating. The title describes the main characters quite well. And just a warning, apparently competitive Scrabble players like to swear.