On My Shelf
I remember being at a Rebecca St. James concert years ago, during which she paused her set to take questions from the audience. I was interested in what music she, a musician, listened to. So I grabbed the mic and asked my question.
Similarly, I recently read a blog called, “On My Shelf” which asked Matt Chandler (one of my favourite preachers/authors) what books he was reading.
While I’ve dabbled with words and music, I would not claim the mantle of author or musician. Nevertheless I was interested to see which books I had devoured in the past year. So I got out my pencil and a pad of paper and searched the various bookshelves in my home trying to remember which ones I had read. The resulting list was a variety of fiction, non-fiction, spiritual growth, and just plain brain candy.
For the record:
-The Bible (yep, I read the all-time best-seller cover-to-cover again…once per year!)
-What Is The Gospel?, by Greg Gilbert
-The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan
-Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, by Eric Mataxas
-Father Brown, by G. K. Chesterton
-The Explicit Gospel, by Matt Chandler
-Follow Me, by David Platt
-The Final Storm, by Jeff Shaara
-The Scriptures Testify About Me, by D.A. Carson
-God’s At War, by Kyle Idleman
-A Man On The Moon, by Andrew Chaikin
-The Right Stuff, by Tom Wolfe
-Twenty Years After, by Alexandre Dumas
-A Great Game, by Stephen Harper
-Outlaws of Sherwood, by John Bredon
-To Live Is Christ, by Matt Chandler
-Don’t Waste Your Life, by John Piper
Rarely do I stop to self-reflect, but as I look back at the books I’ve read, I notice several things:
-most of the authors I read are living
-all of the authors are male
-many of the spiritual books I’ve read in the past year are by authors of reformed theology
-There is a mix of authors I’ve frequently read (Dumas, Chaikin, Shaara), and new-to-me authors (Metaxas, Wolfe, Harper), and why-haven’t-I-read-them-before authors (Bunyan, Chesterton, Piper).
-I only read one biography last year (although Bonhoeffer was superb and I highly recommend it!)
This leads me to set some goals in my reading for the coming year:
-read more books by dead people (On my to read list include: Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis, Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Orthodoxy, by G. K. Chesterton)
-read more books by women (my wife has encouraged me to read One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp)
-expand my spiritual selections by reading more authors from the non-reformed camp (the first of which will likely be Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience In The Same Direction)
-read more than one biography (I’ll likely begin with Eric Mataxas’ Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign To End Slavery)
A wise man once said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” (Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut). So I encourage you think about the places you’ve been and the places you will go. What’s on your shelf?
Oh, and by the way…Rebecca St. James said she was listening to Delirious, and Matt Chandler’s list can be found here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2014/04/17/on-my-shelf-life-and-books-with-matt-chandler/