Of making many books there is no end… -Ecclesiastes 12:12
The passage above speaks a truth that grows ever more obvious each year in America. There are a huge number of books being written and published in this country, and we are just a part of the overall production in this big world of ours. As a pastor who likes to read, I find myself at times inundated by emails from publishers trying to tempt me to read the latest book that has hit the market. I cannot keep up with all the books being published, and I have reached a point in my life when I have little desire to do so. I have determined to become a much more discerning reader, so I am beginning to slow down a bit and re-read some of the best stuff I have enjoyed over the years, with an eye toward hitting some of the classics that I have missed during that time.
So, I give you my reading list for the past six months or so, for what it is worth. If it motivates you to read more, wonderful! These are the books I read by choice and recommend, not books I read because a professor told me to.
*The Unquenchable Flame by Michael Reeves: A wonderful short recap of the Protestant Reformation.
*The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis: The story of a bus trip for those in hell to the outskirts of heaven. It sounds weird, but it is incredibly insightful.
*Songs of Heaven by Robert E. Coleman: An overview of fourteen recorded hymns in the Scriptures. Beautifully written.
*The Consequences of Ideas by R.C. Sproul: Sproul, who recently passed away, was a consummate writer, pastor, theologian and philosopher. This is a wonderful recap of philosophy, philosophers and the impact their ideas have had upon our world and our faith.
*The Doctrine of Repentance by Thomas Watson: Watson was a Puritan preacher who was born in 1620. He’s dead now (smile), but he still has much to say on this very important topic. Not an easy read, but worth the effort.
*Collected Essays by Mark Twain: Twain is one of my favorites—funny, insightful, a wordsmith, and for an avowed non-Christian, he knew the Bible better than many Christians I know.
*Ghosts of Tsavo by Philip Caputo: In 1898, the British government hired 140 workers to build a railway bridge in Tsavo, East Africa (Kenya). Two male lions stalked these poor workers. To this day, the lions of Tsavo (descendants of these two bad guys) are more inclined to attack humans than anywhere else in Africa. Yeah, we all need a little weird and gory history in our reading.
*Nine Man Tree by Robert Newton Peck: I loved Peck’s books as a boy. Silly classics entitled Soup, Soup and Me, and Soup for President. I read them to my daughters too. This book is a bit more serious, but so well written. I have a rare upside-down printed version that somehow made it to press. I read it standing on my head (just kidding).
*Grounded in Heaven by Michael Allen: Great little book which reminds us that, although life on earth is vitally important, it is no shame to look toward heaven, and to realize that God created us to long for it.
*Don’t Make Me Pull Over! by Richard Ratay: My sister, also an avid reader, recommended this one to me. It’s just for fun, a great way to pass a few hours. It is the author’s informal history of the family road trip. Lots of talk of old cars, old American highways and filling stations, and family antics on those forgotten pathways.
My current and upcoming reading list includes: Jesus Wins by Dayton Hartman, Keep in Step with the Spirit by J.I. Packer, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and A Biography of Susannah Spurgeon by Ray Rhodes Jr.
Some of these books you may want to read, some will not interest you at all. I cannot, however, recommend reading to you more highly, particularly as Christ-followers. Never put your Bible aside to read another book, of course, it is the mainstay of our lives and our faiths. But there is a world to know out there, one that God made, and although many, many books are not worth the paper they are written upon, there are many that can spur us on to great heights of greater knowledge and greater joy. Make time to read!
Grace and peace,