My Favorite 10 Books

Darrin asked me for my favorite 10 books. I hope he doesn’t abandon his Halo practice to start reading (he really needs it) but these are the books that I’ve read over and over and each time I get something new out of it.

Messy Spirituality, Mike Yaconelli
Actually anything by Mike Yaconelli. You can’t go wrong by reading Yaconelli but this is my favorite one. You can check this out to see what I mean. Messy Spiritually was probably the single most influential book on my life. It forced me to rethink biblically what spiritual transformation is and what it NORMALLY looks like and to be okay with that.

Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis
Another author that I have every one of his books and YES…I’ve actually read them. Only a one of his books gives me grief – Till We Have Faces. I’ve yet to finish that book with a clear understanding of what the heck is going on and a sense of enjoyment. Fortunately, this book is the exact opposite of that. It’s written clearly and plainly. In fact, the content of this book was lifted from conversations Lewis would have about Christianity in pubs and lecture halls across England.

The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis
I have 4 different sets of these books. I don’t really have a great reason why. My son has a set. I have two. Then there is the big family book that has them all in an illustrated coffee table book. Any book that a family has 4 copies of must make the list.

Into Thin Air, John Krukauer
I wrote a longer review here about the book. Tons of leadership lessons and incredible writing. It’s rare to get an author be so vulnerable with who they are and yet maintain a clear perspective on the subject. Krukauer does this. I’m actually going to pick up a couple of more his writings…thanks, Robert.

Instant Karma, Wayne Sheldrake
Here’s another author who has that rare gift of being incredibly vulnerable without being myopic. I wrote a longer review here. I’ve actually had the privilege of having a long e-dialog with him as well as meeting him face to face. We hit it off immediately. I can’t wait to read more of his stuff and he actually invited me to go skiing with him…both on snow and sand. I will do both…and wear a helmet and depends when I do.

D-Day, Stephen Ambrose
Band of Brothers, Stephen Ambrose

I could have listed a few more of his books here. Undaunted Courage was spectacular (Lewis and Clark expedition) as well as his treatise of Eisenhower. Ambrose wrote history as story and made it personal. We often get an unvarnished look at our heroes, heroes that were broken but resilient. There is no better book on the Normandy invasion than Ambrose’s D-Day and I’ve read about all of them. There is no better narrative blend of history and story than Band of Brothers.

The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning
How does Jesus REALLY heal? What does Jesus REALLY look and sound like in a room full of alcoholics who are trying to get sober? Does Jesus really love the poor or is he only reserved for middle-class white America? After reading Manning’s insight, I doubt you’ll ever be the same.

Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller
Miller didn’t set out to write the theology of twenty-somethings across America. He wrote to figure out his own journey to Jesus and to wonder out loud if the Jesus he was introduced to as a child was anything like the real one. I promise you’ll laugh out loud. I promise you’ll find something you completely disagree with.

Endurance, Alfred Lansing
Shackleton’s story of “failure” in the end becomes one the greatest stories of survival and leadership. I’m actually going to re-read this book this year so I’ll save my longer review for later.

Yes, I could have list more but I’ll stick with these right now. Any thoughts? Any you would add?

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10 thoughts on “My Favorite 10 Books

  1. OK…i love the fact that in the top 10 list that two of the books you’ve read within the last month (at least that’s when you posted your reviews)…yet, these are books you read over and over again.

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  2. Great list….I’ve actually read a couple of these, Manning and Yac…..if I had to add it would be Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri J. M. Nouwen and Abba’s Child by Manning. Both of these had a dramatic impact on my views of God and my own humanity.

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  3. Grant, I had to read Till We Have Faces my senior year in high school. I spent quite a bit of time talking about what this book meant with my teacher, what Christian principles and ideals were behind it. This is actually the one book the Lewis based only on mythology, he strictly kept it at that.

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  4. Actually, Wayne – I’ve read Instant Karma twice.

    So there.

    Considering the fact you read a book a year…I figure circa 2018 you’ll finish this list.

    Yes – I do all of my own math.

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  5. Wayne – I figured with all the slugging you do – you’d have plenty of time to read.

    Of course, I don’t really know even if you’re still in Houston. You could’ve punted the suburban life to fulfill your lifelong dream of being a disco DJ in some urban, downtown retro bar where wearing of bell bottoms and tight polyester is encouraged.

    If only you still blogged.

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  6. LOL — actually, we are still in Houston but you must have my dream mixed up with Heath’s. My lifelong dream is to be a Chippendale dancer. Chippendale dancers don’t have to read.

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  7. Can’t wait to hear Heath’s retort…

    And thanks for the mental image of the Stallion in Chippendale’s uniform.

    I’m definitely going to need therapy and lots of it.

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