I have been challenged to list 10 books that have stayed with me in some way. They don’t have to be great works of literature or international best-sellers, just ones that have affected you in some way. But try as I might, I just couldn’t get it to ten, so here is the expanded list with reasons and links.
So, in no particular order:
1. Leisure the Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper. One of my favorite books of all time. It is short, easy to read, and a great introduction to the life of the mind.
2. Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C Clarke. This book single-handedly made me love science fiction. The basic theme that an alien culture won’t want to take us over, or enlighten us, but would most likely be apathetic about our existence was a head trip.
3.The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. Cathedrals, knights, monks, the black death- what’s not to like.
4. The Stand by Stephen King. I am an enormous King fan so this stands in (get it? OK maybe that was lame.) for his cannon.
5. The Iliad by Homer. Studying classics in college was one of the best things I ever did. The Iliad just reminds me of that period of my life.
6. The Teaching of the Twelve by Tony Jones. One of the best books about what Christianity should be about. Gave me permission to let go of a lot of theological baggage.
7. Crunchy Cons by Rod Dreher. I was an avowed, card-carrying, GOP following, Republican. Then I read this book. Still a Con(servative) but it means something else now.
8. The Historical Jesus by John Dominic Crossan. I have read a lot of historical Jesus books. This is the best of the bunch, and while I don’t buy everything he is saying, placing Jesus in his cultural context opens up the Gospel in a fresh way.
9. Watership Down by Richard Adams. It’s The Lord of The Rings & The Odyssey with bunnies. And it’s better than you’re thinking right now.
10. American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Another favorite author that I had to limit to one book. You’ll never look at the Norse gods the same.
11. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. The only book more influential than number 4 on what I think and believe.
12. Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. Classic explanation of what media has done to our political discourse. A must read if you are politically inclined.
13. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. RULE. NUMBER. ONE.