Sunday, November 18, 2012

Recommending Books

I recently took a trip to and saw a list of the "best christian books" as voted by users.  I looked up good christian nonfiction because I'm tempted to think that good christian fiction is an oxymoron.  (The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass being a shining counterexample)  The first book was Mere Christianity, which I have no problem with.  Second was a book by Francis Chan that I haven't read, but I'm certainly sceptical about its position in the number two spot.  Third was one of the Lee Strobel apologetics books.

I'll forgo a in depth critique of the list.  Let it just suffice as another damning example of the ills of democracy.  It's a nice idea to give everyone a voice into choosing what are the best books, but the end result is an uninspiring list.

In contrast to the goodreads list, I went over to Philip Yancey's website where he has a list of his favourite books.  Now I understand that I'm pretty biased towards Yancey, and his individual point of view cannot offer the breadth of opinion that a democratic list would, but regardless his list is far superior.

In many of his books, Yancey describes how these authors and books have shaped him and consequently I've chosen to read many of them.  It's interesting to find what influences people, especially when it's a person you admire.

It made me think about what I'd include if I had a list of books that had most shaped me, if only by challenging my way of thinking.  Upon short reflection, here's my list.  I've spent little to no time ordering it.  Books with asterisks are those I read because Phil recommended them.

1. *Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton
2. Reaching for the Invisible God, Philip Yancey
3. What's So Amazing About Grace, Philip Yancey
4. Mountains Beyond Mountains, Tracy Kidder
5. Shake Hands with the Devil, Roméo Dallaire
6. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, John LeCarré
7. Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis
8. *Becoming Human, Jean Vanier
9. The Practicing Mind, Thomas M. Sterner
10. Lullabies for Little Criminals, Heather O'Neill

I think that I should read more of the books that Yancey recommended.

A question for my either of my readers.  If you could choose one person, whose list of book recommendations would you pick?


PsySal said...

Hey Eddie I'm glad your blogging again.

The first one that comes to mind would be Salman Rushdie, because I follow him on twitter and he seems to be really well-read. But he is definitely more into fiction.

Have you ever checked out the website ""? It's the new york review of books, they review some interesting books there.

PS: the "your" in the first sentence was my way of teasing you. Hahahaha :)

wychykibwp said...

Maybe it's my lack of facebook that's inspiring the blogging!

Interesting choice of Rushdie. I've been meaning to read something of his for a while as I've heard of him a lot but am completely unfamiliar with his work. Interestingly enough, he once had a dispute with John Le Carré in the Guardian letters to the editor section. Looking for the link I discover that they just reconciled now after 15 years. The letters make a good example of how two brilliant men can let anger make themselves look like fools. Three men actually, as Christopher Hitchens also waded into the fray.

You should write your list of books!