The Virtual Librarian Experience: Keep it Clean and Inspiring

The MomAdviceVirtual Librarian (2)

I am loving the chance to be a librarian for you and today I am featuring a reader looking for clean and inspiring reads. I will do my best to fulfill that criteria with a small caution that many of these books were read years ago and may not be as squeaky clean as I remembered them (*ahem*). I love sharing books that have inspiring storylines though and am looking forward to making a few great selections for our reader today!

If you would like me to pick some books for you, just fill out this quick questionnaire and submit it. I will send you an email when your post is live to let you know my favorite picks for you! You can also leave comments on books you would recommend for this reader too in our comment section below!


Reader Profile



What is Your Favorite Book Genre?


Who Are Your Favorite Authors?

Susan Schaeffer-Macaulay, Leo Buscaglia, Jan Karon

For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

What is Your Favorite Book of All-Time? 

For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

What Do You Look for In a Book?

It must be clean; it must be inspiring by teaching me something or encouraging me to live better.

The MomAdviceVirtual Librarian (2)

The Virtual Librarian Selects…

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

If you are into vivid storytellers, William Kent Krueger’s novel is a book for you.  This novel is set in 1961 in New Bremen, Minnesota and is told through the eyes of thirteen-year-old Frank Drum.

When tragedy unexpectedly comes to call on his family, which includes his Methodist minister father, his passionate, artistic mother, Juilliard-bound older sister, and wise-beyond-his years kid brother, Frank finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal.

On the surface, Ordinary Grace is the story of the murder of a beautiful young woman, a beloved daughter and sister. At heart, it’s the story of what that tragedy does to a boy, his family, and ultimately the fabric of the small town in which he lives.

This is a beautiful coming of age story that reminds us of our youth. While I was able to figure out the killer early on in the story, as this is meant to be a mystery, it did not take away from the beautiful writing that filled the pages. I really enjoyed the book and the author’s carefully crafted characters that made this story read more like a memoir than a piece of fiction.

I think this will be a fantastic one for Lori because the story is about a Methodist minister and is a beautifully told coming of age story.  Definitely read the interview with William Kent Krueger about his inspiration for this moving tale.

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

Since Lori’s request is to be inspired, I had to put The Power of One on her reading list. 

There is so much good in this book about the power one person can have over another. Peekay endures terrible cruelty from his peers that most children would never pull through bravely. It is through the influence of one great man after another that his life is transformed from a victim to a fighter and we are reminded how with one small gesture or a few words of motivation, you have the ability to transform someone’s entire path. Lots of big life lessons in this novel that are so inspiring. I doubt you could read it and not feel transformed yourself by Peekay’s beautiful journey!

You get to witness the heartbreaks and triumphs of boyhood in this beautiful coming-of-age story. It would lend itself well to a book club discussion and would be an incredible book to even read with your teen!

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

I happened to have just finished an inspiring read this week so I thought I would include this one for Lori today. 

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live.

This book is an incredibly moving story of the fragility of life and death told through Paul’s incredible medical career working as a neurosurgeon and then as a patient facing the end of his own life. Even after a cancer diagnosis, his ability to train and put his own needs aside while still working tirelessly in an operating room are nothing short of miraculous and his words echo the poetic strength of a life well lived.

His wife finishes the book in a way that brought tears to my eyes and reminds us of the strength needed for those still living on.  The ending is such a beautiful and memorable nod that reminds us that all we should ever strive for in our life is to be and give unconditional love.

Although there is some language in this one, I think it is appropriate in the telling of this emotional story.

7 by Jen Hatmaker

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker

Looking for Christian literature with a big dash of humor? Lori will not only be inspired by Jen Hatmaker, but I am guessing she will even laugh at her hilarious writing too! 

With her signature wit, Jen Hatmaker takes a year-long fast for Jesus, tackling one excess after another in the average American life. From whittling down her closet to seven items, to eating only seven foods, to reducing her waste, to trimming her spending; she documents her daily struggles and triumphs through the lessons learned.

What really pulled through for me most was how much we take for granted and how, with a bit of trimming, we have the ability to transform the lives of the poor. If we are to love Jesus, we are to love the poor like He did. Not only are we reminded about our own individual choices, but she really sheds light on the excessive spending of churches, money spent only on themselves when it could be better served for the greater needs of the world. This comes up often in the book as Jen’s church has chosen to spend on those in need rather than their own building and selves.

It would be impossible to read this book and not feel moved to give more. Although I would consider myself a minimalist, there is ALWAYS room for improvement and this gave me a lot of food for thought. I shed many tears through this one for those in need and unwanted. While expecting a light read, Jen delivered a life-changing practice that we could all be challenged to try.

Since Lori is looking for inspiration in her life, I think she will enjoy Jen’s inspiring tale of ridding her life of excess and the challenges it brought to her life.

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield

There is a certain richness that comes with great Southern storytelling and this amazing book by Jenny Wingfield is laced with that type of richness I am speaking of and beautiful storytelling that you can picture just like a movie screen. I think Lori will get positively swept away into this beautiful novel! 

Samuel Lake, his wife Willadee (Moses), and their three children find themselves back home in Arkansas after Samuel finds himself out of work as a minister. When tragedy strikes, the family bands together in unlikely ways and find their faith is challenged to the core of even God’s most faithful. The book offers the story of spunky Swan Lake (yes, her family did name her that), an unlikely little boy that the family takes in as their own, a town villain that has made it his life’s mission to make their family’s life miserable, and Toy, Swan’s uncle, who becomes her unlikely hero.

Each character is so vividly told with his/her own story line that Wingfield magically weaves together to create an incredible story that will stick with you long after you close the book. I can’t recommend this one enough!

What would you pick out for Lori based on her preferences? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend what I love though! Dig into the Virtual Librarian series this year for more great selections! 


Published February 11, 2016 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of You can read all about her here.

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