OK, I’ve been tagged by one of those infernal book memes, courtesy of the Grumpmeister at Top of the World–not sure whether to be honored or hassled, but here goes. This may be difficult, as I never learned to read…
- Number of Books I Own
Hundreds, thousands–who’s counting? There’s books everywhere–on the floor, window seats converted to bookshelves, piled in corners. My wife’s a former children’s librarian, and a book addict, and I collect big, thick books just to impress other people. Hasn’t worked so far, but hope springs eternal…
- Last Book I Purchased
Actually, that’s the last book I purchased which I read. The last book purchased: PHP and mySQL Web Development by Welling & Thompson. This falls into the category of Big Thick Books to Impress–or more accurately, the fantasy thinking that by buying a big reference book, I will immediately become a highly proficient PHP/SQL developer. Kinda like buying new golf clubs will make you Tiger Woods. Most people stop thinking this way when they grow out of the Terrible Twos. Not me.
- Books That Mean a Lot To Me
The Bible: Yeah, I know, it’s either a cliche or a sign of being a near-illiterate moron–sorry, but it is the most remarkable collection of writings ever assembled–absolutely breathes life. It’s a looking glass for the soul: when I’m self-absorbed, out of touch, cold in spirit, it reads like deadwood–hollow words with no meaning, a pure chore. When I’m drawing nearer, with some measure of humility and dependence, it’s like laser surgery for the spirit–it has the most amazing ability to zero in on exactly the things I least want to see about myself, confounding my assumptions and presumptions and flipping my viewpoint a full 180. Read and re-read hundreds of times over thirty years time, and still reads like new. Every time. Amazing.
Postmodern Times–A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought & Culture by Gene Edward Veith Jr.: This is a worldview book, which clarifies the fast-moving craziness of our culture and world. Check this out, written in 1994:
The postmodern brand of warfare…is terrorism. The terrorist cell is in fact a model of postmodernism and its dangers. A group segmented from the rest of society, insulated by its own self-identity. The group recognizes no values that transcend its own. Fueled by a sense of victimization, self-righteousness, and group solidarity, the terrorist cell will have no qualms about blowing up buildings…
Again, written in 1994. The book is full of astounding insights like this. Not preachy, just rock-solid. A must-read.
How Tom Beat Captain Najork & His Hired Sportsmen by Russell Hoban: Goodnight Moon–cited by the Grumpmeister as a favorite–is one of mine as well: read it to the kids a million times, and loved it every time. This book, though, is killer: one of the best children’s books ever, in my opinion–and married to a children’s librarian, I got to read some really great ones.
No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith by Fawn M. Brodie: A historian and a Mormon, hired by the Mormon Church to write Joseph Smith’s history, she did just that–then got booted from the church for being too honest. Fascinating history of early Mormonism and the American culture of that time, superbly written.
The Spirituality of Imperfection by Ernest Kurtz & Katherine Ketcham: simple, yet profoundly deep–a roadmap for a perfectionist like me in an imperfect world. Beautiful, powerful stories which convey more wisdom in a few pages than dozens of other books I’ve read. If you want to understand grace, read this book
- Challenge Five More
This would be easy if I knew five people. But I can pretend–here goes:
There you have it.