Ruthie and Michael Dean grew up down the street from each other, but fell in love only later, when Ruthie lived in China and Michael lived in Germany. Now happily married, the Deans love to run, take advantage of Sunday coffee dates (without technology) and can often be spotted driving around Nashville in Michael's classic Ford truck. Their book, Real Men Don't Text (Tyndale, September 3, 2013) aims to help women understand what men are thinking and how to attract Mr. Right. You can learn more about the Deans, and share your own stories of dating, love and romance on Ruthie's blog, ruthiedean.com; on Twitter @MichaelDean10 and @Ruthie_Dean; or at RealMenDontText.com.
On your nightstand now:
Ruthie: When Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey, Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist, Looking for Alaska by John Green.
Michael: The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis, The Art of Manliness by Brett McKay, Fight Like a Man by Gordon Dalbey, The Confession by John Grisham.
Favorite book when you were a child:
Ruthie: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I hold a treasured childhood memory of my dad reading The Chronicles of Narnia to me before bed each night.
Michael: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. This book took me places that I had never been before. It was a coming-of-age story for a young boy that I wanted to be a part of. I wanted my strength and resolve to be tested like his was.
Your top five authors:
Ruthie: Anne Lamott, Harper Lee, Brennan Manning, Shauna Niequist, C.S. Lewis.
Michael: C.S. Lewis, Oswald Chambers, Andy Stanley, Victor Hugo.
Book you've faked reading:
Ruthie: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. It seems like a book I should love, but my attention span wouldn't allow me to read it entirely. I opted for the movie!
Michael: Any deeply theological book. I'm a little embarrassed to admit it even though I'm halfway through my master's degree in religion.
Books you're an evangelist for:
Ruthie: Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott; Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend; Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man by Steve Harvey; Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. Traveling Mercies gave me permission to doubt and not fit myself into a neat religious box. I had the privilege of meeting Anne Lamott in Nashville, and I could not even string a coherent sentence together I was so nervous.
Michael: Surfing for God by Michael John Cusick. This is the best book on overcoming sin and redemption that I have ever read. Cusick's story gripped me from the very beginning.
Book you've bought for the cover:
Ruthie: Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple and The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards.
Michael: The Art of Manliness by Brett McKay. Not only the cover, but the title drew me in. There is something about capturing what it means to be a man and putting it into writing that so inspires me. All of us want to be counted as a real man--one with integrity, honor and character.
Book that changed your life:
Ruthie: The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning.
Michael: Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller. I read this book when I was single and living in Germany. It changed the way I viewed my relationship with God and how much he actually cared about what I was going through day to day. I didn't want it to end.
Favorite line from a book:
Ruthie: "Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It's knowing you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do." --from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
Michael: "Sometimes heroism is nothing more than patience, curiosity, and a refusal to panic." --from Peace Like a River by Leif Enger.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Ruthie: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. John Green is a genius, and Michael and I actually have fought over his books.
Michael: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I had never felt the draw of a novel like this one. I had to read this book for school in the ninth grade, which usually means you buy the Cliffs Notes. I read every word and was completely enthralled by the power of its story.
Author you'd offer your right arm to meet?
Ruthie: C.S. Lewis or Taylor Swift (oh, did you say AUTHOR?). If I could have anyone read and become an evangelist for Real Men Don't Text, it would be Taylor Swift.
Michael: Oswald Chambers. The language he used never ceases to challenge and amaze me. I always come away with a nugget of wisdom.