A Book Hoarder Set Free

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I’m a recovering book hoarder, which is interesting considering I hated reading until I was in my mid-twenties. It became a dream of mine to have a huge personal library with hundreds (ok, let’s be honest, thousands) of books. It would be a visual reminder of all the knowledge that I soaked up but had most likely forgotten. Of course, I would regularly reference those books and reread them. People would come over and after we perused the spines, we’d sip tea and discuss deep questions of life found in a book’s pages.

Then I moved a few times and had to pack up all those books that adorned my shelves and I was quickly convinced to rid myself of most of them. Plus, I never had anyone come over to peruse some spines and drink tea.

My view of books has changed. Most books I treat as an experience which I enjoy while reading and can pass onto others. Most of the textbooks I’ve read for my degrees, I’ve rarely referenced. And the random goal I had to read every book by so-and-so author wasn’t thought out well. Only a few have I actually read a second or third time. To this day, though, I am still holding onto a Garfield book that was my favorite in elementary school.

So, I’ve been periodically whittling down my book collection to only the most impactful books and authors. These are the books that changed my way of thinking, transformed my soul, woke me up to a new level of awareness, and ones that I have and will read again.

I’ve linked them below if you’re looking for a great book to read. I’ve also included a few runner-ups.

East of Eden, by John Steinbeck

The Way of the Heart, by Henri Nouwen

Live of the Beloved, by Henri Nouwen

Wounded Healer, by Henri Nouwen

New Seeds of Contemplation, by Thomas Merton

Thoughts in Solitude, by Thomas Merton

Concerning the Inner Life, by Evelyn Underhill

Strength to Love, by Martin Luther King Jr.

Ragamuffin Gospel, by Brennan Manning

Lion and Lamb, by Brennan Manning

The Preacher and Prayer, by E.M. Bounds

Jesus and the Disinherited, by Howard Thurman

Becoming Human, by Jean Vanier

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, by Ruth Haley Barton

Invitation to Solitude and Silence, by Ruth Haley Barton

The runner-ups:

Just This, by Richard Rohr

Reclaiming Conversation, by Sherry Turkle

The Prodigal God, by Timothy Keller

Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson

The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander

Mere Churchianity, by Michael Spencer

And most importantly, Garfield in Space, by Jim Davis.

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Nathan Albert