Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Question for You "Book People"

Because you're reading this, there's a good chance that you're a book person. Book people are a subset of human beings. Not only can they read, they almost always like to read. Something. Anything.

For book people, reading is a love affair, an acute fever. However, like people who are really into wine, the tastes of book people are discriminating. Book people both know and prefer the good stuff. The fact that there's a lot of rock-gut reading out there is, for book people, one point in favor of the doctrine of original sin.

Book people know in their bones that the Internet does not portend the extinction of the book. For part of the glory of reading is the peculiar smell of a fine book, the way it feels in your hands, the texture of the page, the quality of the print. Book people do not merely read books. They experience them.

At any given time, there are at least a couple of books hanging around book people. Books lying on night stands, riding in cars, sitting on desks, tucked beneath arms, lounging on porches . Book people have figured out that different places and different times of the day call for different types of books. So they arrange their books. A small collection for every place, and every place with its books. (No, I have no books in my bathroom. But some book people have some in theirs).

Most book people would go so far as to say that they love their libraries. It's been said that the great scholar J. W. McGarvey, just before going on a trip, would sit quietly for a few minutes in the presence of his books, looking at them, communing with them. To non-book people, this sounds bizarre. To book people, it strikes a chord.

Book people know that some books bear re-reading every other year or so. Some books are that delicious, that significant. Such books are not merely read. They are consulted, interviewed, loved for what they are.

So here's my question, book people: Which books do you read every so often? What titles have you have gone back to over and over again? Why?



Hey there brother. I kind of shared my love for books and which books on my blog today.

I do have some books I love more than others. They just seem to speak to me. Or, in other words, they relate to me.

Finish Strong - Steve Farrar, so simple, yet so powerful.

Ray Fullenwider did a book a few years ago called "The Servant Driven Church." I have more dog-eared pages in that book than any other. It's so user friendly.

I'm enjoying your blog. I hope they're being nice to you over at the big SJCC. That's where I grew up.


John Alan said...

I've probably read THE DIVINE CONSPIRACY three or four times. I keep getting more out of it each time. Ditto for HEARING GOD (also by Dallas Willard).

Seems both of those books always coincide with other things I'm learning at the time.

Oh, and Henri Nouwen.

And C.S. Lewis.

I feel drawn to re-read their stuff every couple of years.


I read the Great Divorce by Lewis about 3 times, but gave it away. Other than that, I dont have too many repeats. I will definitely consult good books several times, but not reread them too much.

The exception is N.T. Wright. Not the big ones really, too much to reread. (However I read Climax of the Covenant 2 and 1/2 times - minus the Hebrew passages.)

But The Challenge of Jesus, For All God's Worth, Following Jesus and (going outside of Wright, but his students all the same...) Colossians Remixed by Walsh and Keesmaat all make my list of multiple readings. Cannot get enough Wright. He is truly biblical in a deeply rich and uncommon sense. The New Testament comes alive as it plays on the stage of the Old Testament. The first century historical insight and depth of this scholar is a marvel for the Bible Student!

And I like a lot of books. Mostly modern Bible scholars, but Wright blows them all away hands down every time.

Walter Wink is rich and exciting too, but some of his liberal ideas are deeply upsetting along the way.

Brueggemann has some exciting work too. But again, Wright is what I reread!

But as for the whole how-a-book-feels-in-your-hands or looks-on-your-shelf thing, I don't really get all that. Love my library for sure, but I don't really get into it at that level.

Great post. Great question. Thanks for asking...

Jesus is Lord!

Carisse said...

Dorothy Sayers' novel Gaudy Night. I reread it annually. Why? It's a well-written book; it raises questions of the academic vocation for women; it has a fascinating love story; it's funny; and it had many allusions to music, literature, and languages.

michaelhanegan said...

For me it has been the following three...

(1) The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis
(2) Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon
(3) Reclaiming God's Original Intent for the Church by Wes Roberts, Glenn Marshall, and Lawrence J. Crabb

Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

I am glad I am not the only one that notices a book that has a certain smell to it.

I have probably read the Arthurian Legends at least a dozen times.

I have read the Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis no less than five times.

I read Helmut Theilicke's A Little Exercise for Young Theologians every January.

I read the Sermon on the Mount every monday morning.

I read the Illiad and Odyssey every other year and have since high school. In fact I just finished reading "The Children's Homer" by Padraic Colum with my girls.

I read the Declaration and Address by Thomas Campbell every year.

I read the Confessions of Augustine periodically.

I have read Star Wars a dozen or more times ...

Lots of good books to have enjoy with a cup of java or ...

Bobby Valentine

Frank Bellizzi said...

Thank you for your comments. I take them as recommedations.

Some of the books I go back to over and over again are:

1. Two collections of essays by C.S. Lewis: "Christian Reflections" and "God in the Dock." If a title strikes my fancy, I'll read that essay, turn it over in my mind, maybe write a little. By then I've got my fix.

2. Years ago my friend Ken Danley introduced me to "Generation to Generation" by Ed Friedman. I think I've read the whole thing at least once. But it's one of those books you can pick up and start reading almost anywhere. Sometimes I do that.

3. If I'm going to teach or preach from a certain book of the Bible, if it's a N.T. book, I like to read the chapter in L.T. Johnson, "The Writings of the New Testament." If it's an O.T. book, then I go for the chapter in "Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture" by Brevard Childs. Those two have taught me a bunch about the Bible.

Jim said...

1. As you noted, "Generation to Generation." I have read this several times.

2. I too find myself returning again and again to Luke Timothy Johnson's, "The Writings of the New Testament."

3. I have read Stott's "The Cross of Christ" several times. Also--"Mere Christianity" and several of Nouwen's works.