A Book Hoarder Set Free
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
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.