I have put together a list of My Top Five Books. I have also included a list of My Top 10 Books of Literature. Personal, eclectic, even eccentric as any such list must be these days, nevertheless, these are great books, books that have hugely influenced my life and my thinking about things. I hope you find them helpful.
I met a woman at a reception recently who told me she has read almost every book I have recommended over time. Yikes! I was astounded. You mean people are actually paying attention to these suggestions. I always pass on my recommendations because these books have been meaningful to me, but in a world of splintered tastes and interests, I am never sure if they are meaningful to others.
I am a big reader. I believe in reading. I have written elsewhere that I think I came to reading great literature through the nightly Bible reading that took place at my childhood dinner table. I believe that books provide vital insight into our lives and the world we inhabit.
But I am also fully aware that we are not all reading the same books, just as we are not going to the same movies or listening to the same music anymore or drinking the same Starbucks order. Our culture has splintered and individualized so dramatically. That worries me, but it also forces me to try to find the good books. I listen and watch all the time to suggestions others are making. This is the way we discover good reading for our time.
I love to read literature, but only good literature. I have little patience these days to finish a mediocre book. I realize in these postmodern times it is quite difficult to determine what is good literature and what is not. Who’s to say? Isn’t it purely a matter of taste? Well, not totally, I must say. There are good books and there are books that aren’t so good. We can talk about what those criteria are, but there are ways to judge. Once you develop the taste for truly good writing, you know it when you read it.
In addition to great literature, I love to read philosophy, cultural and intellectual history, maybe especially theology and biblical studies. I fully understand these interests are not always the interests of others. And yet, still, there is much to learn from these incredible books.
In any case, I thought it might be helpful to share my list of good books. I hope you enjoy. I hope you will give me your thoughts about my list. I hope you will add to my list.