Foundations are important. Really important.
Don't know your math facts well? Good luck with algebra. Don't know algebra well? Good luck with calculus. I know this from personal experience.
Don't want to practice those scales, arpeggios, and triads? Good luck with playing Chopin, Bach, or Debussy or anyone else really great.
The foundation of a building is important. My neighbours across the road are trying to sell their house. It's been on the market for over 2 years. It's not selling. Why not? Among other things, the foundation is cracked. No one wants a house with a cracked foundation.
Women read a lot of books. Women read a lot of Christian books. Sometimes, the arrival of the Christian Book Distributors catalogue is a lot of fun, and other times, I'm horrified at what the "best sellers" are. Some of my fellow Christian friends think that just because Zondervan or Bethany House published it, it must be good. On a side note, I have to wonder at almost anything Zondervan puts out these days. I reviewed a book for Zondervan once, a book called Half the Church. I didn't recommend it. They haven't asked me to review any other books since; funny how that works.
The ability to make a decision about whether or not a book is good must rest with more than just who published it or who wrote it. We can look for reviews, and I think that's wise. Tim Challies has a great selection of book reviews, but he's only one guy, and he can't review everything. Even finding a good review of a book can be hard, because publishers tend to send review copies to people they think will say good things, not bad. And it can be hard finding a good book review that is balanced.
In choosing books, we want biblical content. We want the book to reflect a solid, doctrinal foundation. If we don't have that, we need to get on the job and get one. I want to share a few resources that, over the years, have helped me begin building a biblical foundation. I'm not really all there yet, but I'm growing. Here are some things that helped me. It is understood that the Bible is the first and most important book, but here are some others:
Knowing God, J.I. Packer - a classic. Great overview. One of the first books I read when I first began to feel frustrated with evangelicalism.
The Holiness of God, R.C. Sproul - another classisc. This what what clued me into the fact that I didn't have a really good understanding of who God was.
No Place for Truth, David Wells - crucial in my understanding that there were people in evangelical circles who were thinking. At the time I read it, I wasn't sure.
Practical Theology for Women, Wendy Alsup - a really readable little book, full of encouragement.
40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible - one of my favourite "how to" books for bible study. The chapters are short, and don't necessarily build on one another, so you can pick and choose which ones to read.
Reading the Bible for All Its Worth - this is a great book. It goes into detail about how to pay attention to the genres of literature in the bible as well as taking the reader through practical examples. If I was to recommend one book to read about how to study the bible, I think this would be the one. If you have room in your budget, do get more than one, though.
According to Plan - this is a book about biblical theology. If you don't know the difference between biblical theology and systematic theology, buy this book! It's important to know the difference. I'm almost done this book, and I can tell you, I wish I'd had it years ago.
You will note that most of these books are from a Calvinistic view. Sorry, that's just who I am. I am also complementarian. Someone from a not-Calvinistic view and a not-complementarian will read this list and scream because I recommend these. I'm not hear to convince you to adopt my theological bent; I'm just making recommendations for the already convinced.
I'm still building my foundation, but as I think about what women want to read and what is marketed to them, I long to see meatier books directed to them. They are out there. What I would like to see even more is women knowing the difference between something solid and meaty, and something that is better left on the shelf. The key to evaluating a book's worth, whether it supports biblical thought, is to have a proper biblical/theological foundation to begin with.