Thursday, August 27, 2009

15 Books That Will Always Stick With Me

I found this new meme and had to do it. Join in on your blog, as I'd be interested in reading your responses. Alice, Jamie, and Rach (if you'e reading!), Lauren. In face, if you're interested, just link to your own list in the comments and we'll share the book love around!. You're not allowed to list the Bible, because... that's too easy. :)

Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.

1. A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Van Auken
I read this in the middle of a period of cynicism with the church and wondering if God ever truly moved to change hearts towards Himself. There's a lot of romance in this book, but what left me weeping on a Chicago bus was the story of the Van Auken's moving from atheism to belief.

2. The Chosen by Chaim Potok
My first college lit book with Dr. de Rosset, and I loved it. It opened my eyes to Jewish history and theology, and is beautifully written.

The Poisonwood Bible

3. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Something about this book will always stick with me. It's extra compelling because it is set on the mission field, but the writing is absolutely brilliant and the personalities of the three girls is fascinating.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

4. A Thousand Splendid Suns (and Kite Runner) by Khaled Hosseini
A pop culture favorite that is deserving of its fame and is such a compelling read. The history of Afghanistan comes alive...

5. The Pursuit of God - A.W. Tozer
Other than the Bible, I think Tozer's thoughts challenged my spiritual life more than any other as a teenager. I wonder what I'd think if I re-read it now.

6. The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Mark Noll
In my college anger with the American church (which was influenced by the book Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory), Noll helped me understand the history of evangelicalism and WHY we are the way we are. He also gave me a clear vision for the change I pray to see. I can't recommend Mark Noll's works highly enough.

a fine balance
7. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
This may be cheating because I just finished this one, but it was AMAZING. Like Potok and Hosseini, it's an incredible novel with a rich historical setting (this one is in India) that I learned from. I've never gotten so angry at characters in a novel!

Atlas Shrugged
8. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
I know, I know, she's an extreme capitalist with no sense of morality. Still, another incredible novel, and she clearly winds her incredibly consistent philosophy throughout it. I learned SO much from Rand, even if I disagree with her. However, I did skip the 100 page monologue towards the end!

9. Wild Swans by June Chang
Another one of my favorites - great literature set in history. This is the true story of several generations of family in China. The motivation behind Communism and Mao-worship came alive, and my respect for the US Constitution grew immensely.

The One Ring

10. Lord of the Rings Trilogy by Tolkein
I know I know, everyone loves Tolkein. I have to admit Isaac and I are both obsessed.

11. The Spirit of the Rainforest by Mark Ritchie
Read this one for a class on the supernatural world. The world through the eyes of a shaman, pre and post conversion to Christianity, blows my little western mind. Such a great read. Counters both a missionary and a anthropologist's perspective. It's also just... interesting!

12. TCKs by Ruth Van Reken
This book was given to me at a fitting time, when I was struggling to understand who I was in an American culture that felt so unfamiliar. This was like reading an autobiography, and helped me understand my my own grief and struggle with transition and cross-cultural relationships.

Jane Eyre

13. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I like classic novels but I didn't know it was possible to love one this much. Jane Eyre is a masterpiece. Everyone should read it.

14. The Sacred Romance by Eldredge and Curtis
I think this was a book that I read at just the right developmental stage. That we are all haunted by our longing for something transcendent... that discussion sticks with me. Can't say I'm a particular fan of the rest of the book now, but it does stick with me!

15. Peace Child and Lords of the Earth by Don Richardson
Compelling missions stories from the Papua, where I grew up.

Honorable Mention:
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
(high school reading group - amazing!)
Anna Karenina
Graham Greene's books, particularly the Holy Trilogy
The Narnia Series
Shusaku Endo's books
Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot (influenced my views of love and dating in high school)


Jaimie said...

I did one for movies. For some reason, movies come easier for me to remember, and I felt like I would leave a lot of books out. Or not look as pretentious as I am in my head. :P

Okay, so pretention-free...

1. The Hobbit, Tolkien
2. Till We Have Faces, CS Lewis
3. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
4. Oh dangit. I'm going to make this into a blog post. Haha.

So wait for the rest.

(This coming to you, unedited, signed me)

Lauren said...

See, this is why you are awesome.
1. Nobody knows Tozer, it seems. Every time I mention him, people are all, "who?" - His Truth, Holiness and the Presence of God is just as fantastic as The Pursuit of God.
2. Sacred Romance - I feel the same way! Except, the part about the "Message of the Arrows" - not sure about all of it, but that part stuck with me.
3. A Severe Mercy - again, no one ever knows this book, but I thought it was amazing.
4. Jane Eyre - amazing.
5. I nodded like a bobble-head at your honorable mentions.
6. I admit I'm not a fan of Dostoyevsky, but there some history with him and me that's unpleasent.
7. I did not like Elizabeth Elliot, but I have a hard time explaining why. Seems like an entire generation of Christian women were raised on that book, so I can't discount it, but I did not like it.
8. I may have to do this myself....
~ L

weelass said...

I love Poisonwood Bible! A friend gave it to me in Scotland. I also love Anna Karenina. And of course, The Lord of the Rings trilogy. After I read that I saw everything in life through that book: the struggle and the strength gained through every stage to make it through the next.
The Scandle of the Evangelical Mind was one of those pivotal books I read at Moody. It helped me put into words the tradition I grew up in and wanted to break out of. Knoll is so angry which is difficult to swallow, but I really appreciated his insight. I have been trying to get people to read it since college but no one is interested.

Alice said...

I love so many of the books on your list. Jane Eyre just feels like part of my soul. I love Their Eyes Were Watching God and am a huge Greene fan. I want to read A Fine Balance now! I also think you would enjoy a book called The Piano Teacher. I wish we could meet up sometime and talk books. :-)

I did my list here...

Kacie said...

Weelass, I don't think of Noll as being angry - do you mean the author of Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory? I felt like he was angry, and that made me angry, but Noll helped me understand and know how to react in a helpful way...

Anyways, I LOVE how many of my friends love books! So fun.

weelass said...

Hmmm...It was Scandle that I read and remember him as being angry. It has been years, but maybe I interpreted his cynicism as bitterness and anger. I remember my classmates making similar comments. Just scanning the book I came across a couple of sentences I underlined: "The fundamentalist filter may have strained out enough atheism to preserve a kernel of supernatural Christianity, but for intellectual purposes, fundamentalism also strained out most of the ingredients required for a life of the mind." and "Not only were the nation's universities alien territory for evangelicals, but fundamentalists, the most visible evangelicals, had made a virtue of their alienation from the world of learned culture." I grew up in fundamentalism so he really struck a cord for me.

I was reading Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down at the same time and I remember Marva Dawn being very cynical and bitter too, so maybe I lumped the two together. This is another very good book, by the way. I based my Senior Seminar paper on it.

Jack Clark said...

Good list. Most I haven't read so if you recommend them, I'll look for them (except Jane Eyre - no thanks). I loved the Don Richardson books and funny - I loved Liz Elliot too. My favorite book in the last couple years is "The hole in the Gospel" by Richard Stearns. For you, it may be a bit of preachin to the choir... but honest/poignant points.


Kacie said...

weelass, you're probably right - it was probably just MY attitude that was mellowing, and so I read him through that lens!

Jack - Alysa's been talking about Stearns' book too! I've got to read that and Crazy Love.