She Reads

At She Reads, we believe that story is the shortest distance to the human heart. So we strive to find those stories that will speak directly to your heart. We look for books that are well written, with a unique premise, that will make you think differently than before you read the book. Each month we select one book (and its author) to profile all month long. Here at CFOM, we will be introducing you to that author each month. We hope you will check out She Reads at to learn more.

This Month's She Reads...
Has A Fresh and Exciting New Direction!

Toward the latter half of 2011, my co-director, Ariel Lawhon, and I started looked at our She Reads participants and the comments they left. We learned some interesting things. While most of the regulars are Christians, a majority of them read a healthy mix of both Christian and general fiction. With this in mind, in September of last year we chose our first title published by a general market publisher, The Violets of March. And we had our best month ever. It was the first time we had participants returning after reading the selected book just to thank us for recommending it and to let us know that they were telling friends and family about the book. These readers liked the thought-provoking issues in the book and they wanted to share their thoughts with other Christians. They, like us, have experienced some of the themes that Sarah Jio touched on, appreciated the chance to talk about those things from a Christian worldview, and then shared the book with others.

Based on our readers’ overall reaction, we made some decisions about a new focus for 2012. We’re not going to choose solely Christian fiction any longer (though we will continue to select the Christian novels we love). We’ll select books that are written by both Christians and non-Christians. We’ll select books that are well-written, are different from every other book on the market, and have something to say that resonates with us. And we’ll always choose books that, at their very core, offer a message of redemption to the reader. The Bible says that “even the rocks cry out.” And I think that is true of many of the books we read. We find Jesus in the pages of both Christian and non-Christian books. And we want to create a community where women of faith can gather and talk about seeking Him in not just the safety of where we expect Him but in the surprise of where even the author didn’t know He was going to show up. He supersedes all the boxes we try to put Him in, and these books are proof of that.

We want to thank Bonnie and the folks at CFOM for allowing us to come to you via this column every month. We’re grateful to

Bonnie for catching the vision for this new direction and readily agreeing to give us a place to keep sharing what we’re doing, introducing you all to books and authors we love, albeit with a different flavor than before.

We hope that many of you will make your way to She Reads in this new year, get the books we select each month, and join us for a loving, healthy discussion about being a woman of faith in an increasingly puzzling and troubled world as viewed through the stories people are reading―both Christian and non-Christian, like your neighbors, your coworkers, your unsaved friends. It is our sincere hope that you’ll be equipped to discuss these books in a way that might invite them to know Jesus. We’ll be there waiting, offering these books we’ve prayed over, and welcoming those who might not have found us otherwise. It is our greatest prayer that She Reads be used of God in a way that surprises us all.

Marybeth Whalen is the founder of She Reads ( and the author of The Mailbox, She Makes It Look Easy, and her upcoming novel, The Guest Book. She is the wife of Curt and mom of six children, ranging in age from college to kindergarten. When she’s not in the grocery store, she is at work on her next novel. You can find her blogging Monday through Friday at


She Reads: Discovering Great Fiction Together