So what did you receive for Christmas? The famous Christian humanist Desiderius Erasmus once said, “When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.”
Well, when someone asks me what I want for Christmas—it’s not food or clothes I ask for. It’s books! One of my favorite gifts to give and receive is a good book.
Books fill you up but are never fattening. They take you to all kinds of interesting places but are cheaper than travel. They allow you to interact with great minds and souls from different centuries, while sitting in your favorite chair. They shape the mind, heart and will without badly denting the wallet. They are still cheap yet can be purchased in varying formats (paper, ebook).
Mortimer Adler once said, “reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.” I know that not everybody believes this anymore. But I do.
This year, as usual, I gave lots of books for Christmas. I received about ten. Here are a few of the titles I will be reading in 2012 and why.
The Inklings of Oxford: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Their Friends, Harry Lee Poe, First of all, I am a lifelong Lewis fan. Second, with the Hobbit coming out in 2012, Tolkien will be back in the news. And third, while a student at Oxford, I lived about twenty feet behind The Eagle and Child pub, where, in their day, the Inklings met to discuss their essays.
The Fourth Turning: What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous With Destiny, William Strauss and Neil Howe. Are there patterns in history? A few friends have been insisting there are. This book is over ten years old, but I finally got it for Christmas!
Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck, Why Some Thrive, Despite Them All, Collins. Built to Last, Good to Great, How the Mighty Fall…..Jim Collins on leadership is hard to beat. This is his newest.
The God who is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story, D.A. Carson. Carson is one of my favorite New Testament writers. He writes this book explaining the story line of the Bible for university students unfamiliar with Christianity. We all need to understand better how the Bible fits together. Carson will be of immense help.
The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World, Stephen J. Nichols; The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation, Michael Reeves. I asked someone to recommend short introduction-like books that summarize the Protestant Reformation. Here are two of the three I will be reading.
Who Gets to Narrate the World? Contending for the Christian Story in an Age of Rivals, Robert E. Webber. Stories shape our world. The question is, which story will shape it most? The late Robert Webber believed that the question contained in his title is the most pressing issue of our time. He surveys the grand narratives that seduce and bind us and calls us to both understand and embody God’s story in the post modern world.
The Resolution For Men, Stephen Kendrick and Randy Alcorn. This is a book that came out of the movie Courageous, written with the passion that many men need to wake up from their prolonged adolescent slumber and resolve to lead their families with integrity.
The Four Seasons: Poems (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets) I love poetry. And I miss some of the seasons here in Florida. So if I can’t get them one way, I will get them another!
Goodnight iPad, Ann Droyd. This final book is a spoof on the famous children’s book—Good Night Moon. Only it is written for people who have iPhones and iPads. Okay….. it was given to me by my wife and she was making a point!
Like I said, these ten books do NOT comprise my entire reading diet. But they were given to me this Christmas and I WILL enjoy reading them. When? I am not sure. But let me share a brief story as I close.
In his second term as president, President George W. Bush and senior staffer Karl Rove had a running competition about how many books they could read in a year. Some years during the Bush presidency they read over 100 books each!
Now, that is amazing! The leader of the free world, busy as he was, kept reading and clocked over a book a week.
Hey….if he can do that…..with a little discipline, think how you can enrich your life by reading more in 2012.