Inspiring Reads for Book Lovers

Inspiring reads for book lovers

Looking for inspiration? The staff at Marillac St. Vincent have some great novels and nonfiction recommendations to add to your bookshelf.

In celebration of World Book Day, Marillac St. Vincent staff submitted book titles that have inspired them in the mission of MSV or informed the work they do in some way. The list includes titles on social, racial, and economic justice, faith, and classic fiction. With the current pandemic upending life at this time, we could all use some extra inspiration.

In addition to the list below, MSV staff were asked to recommend a children’s lit title as well. Their list of recommendations can be found here.

Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World

by Anand Giridharadas

Recommended by Carlos Trejo, Director of Annual Giving - "This book examines inequity in current power structures and critiques the elite who fight for equality and justice while obscuring their role in creating the problems they seek to solve. The author makes an argument for strengthening public institutions as a way of democratizing decision making in favor of a more equitable society."

Earth Abides

by George R Stewart

Recommended by Rita Carter, Teacher - "This book is perfect for the moments in life where you just want to give up. Everyone needs hope for a new future and George Stewart effectively provides that with his emphasis on new beginnings and optimistic realism.

The Great Believers

by Rebecca Makkai

Recommended by Hilary Waldron, Senior Services Program Manager - "This book follows multiple characters throughout the AIDS crisis in Chicago. The characters are so well written and it is so immersed in Chicago geography that it almost feels like non-fiction. The book helps contextualize the enormity of the AIDS crisis and represents a variety of different experiences of how the crisis affected people. It also highlights how everyday people were willing to step up and provide compassion and care for friends, family, neighbors and even strangers.""


by Lykecia Williams

Recommended by Tramaine Martin, Outreach Manager - "This book allows you to tap into life's struggles and pull out growth lessons. It inspired me to not ask "WHY ME?", but instead, why not me. Why not ME grow, Why not ME learn more, Why not ME get stronger."


by David Herbert Donald

Recommended by Daniel Summins, Director of Development - "Lincoln became president of a severely politically divided country not unlike today. He overcame many obstacles and lead the country by holding us, as a people, the founding premise of our country, that all men are created equal. An inspiring reminder that we have an obligation to try to continue to live up to those inspiring words."

Principled Ministry

by Loughlan Sofield and Carroll Juliano

Recommended by Sister Salvatrice, Mental Health Consultant - "This is a creative, practical, and easy-to-read resource for fostering a positive, faith-based work environment."

21 Lessons for the 21st Century

by Yoval Noah Harari

Recommended by Stephen Barker, Director of Marketing & Communications- "Because of technology and an oversaturation of information coming at us from every direction, the pace of life can feel really disorienting. This book slowed things down for me and helped evaluate what I value by asking and also answering some very big questions about our world and our individual place within it."

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

by Reza Aslan

Recommended by Francine Soliunas, Director of Mission Integration - "This is the first book that I have read about Jesus that, in my opinion, portrays him as the revolutionary that I always imagined he was."


by T.D. Jakes

Recommended by Darcel Stewart, Accounts Payable - "Bishop T.D. Jakes gives his testimony of how God brought him through painful situations in his life. He describes how God uses the painful moments to change us. He describes the process that grapes goes through to be fermented into wine and compares that to how God uses difficult situations to bring the best out of us.""

Tuesdays With Morrie

by Mitch Albom

Recommended by Olivia Daprile, Marketing & Communications Coordinator - "This book uses the inevitable death of a beloved Brandeis Sociology professor as an opportunity to examine how to live a fulfilling life. The concepts covered range from regret to love to self-pity, but the book manages to avoid superfluous figurative language. It is a relatively easy read packed with great stories, good reminders, and keen insight."

marillac st. vincent family services is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit organization, FEIN 36-2109717 privacy policy © 2015 made with ❤ in chicago we’re hiring! get our email newsletter!
  • Foglia Family & Youth Center
    2859 W. Jackson Blvd. Chicago, IL 60612
  • Marillac Social Center
    212 S. Francisco Ave. Chicago, IL 60612
  • St. Vincent de Paul Center
    2145 N. Halsted St. Chicago, IL 60614