The Book Meme from Brant from a few weeks back is much appreciated, and Matt’s list offers some unexpected books. I’ll throw in my list for added texture.
After four years and about 60 volumes of reading habits in common, Matt and I have spent the last three years going widely different directions. This list should demonstrate that thriving variety (and the respective stain-on-the-brain that results.)
1. One book that changed your life:
The Way to Love, Anthony de Mello
In his simple, clear, and comedic manner, de Mello tackles what he considers are the three big idols and errors in the way of human happiness: false beliefs, attachments (disproportiate loves), and conforming to society (fear of man). He challenges the believer to rest in God, whose presence cannot be lost, and to forsake false beliefs about God, to let die all lesser loves, and to forsake the striving of political competition with your fellow human beings.
2. One book that you have read more than once:
It gets better every time. (John Ciardi provides an admirably simple and lovely translation for first-timers)
3. One book you’d want on a desert island:
The Cherubinnic Wanderer, by Angelus Silesius.
A deep and spiritually sophisticated series of Alexandrian couplets covering topics of God, divinity, man, love, nature, time, riches and poverty.
4. One book that made you laugh:
Lost in the Cosmos, Walker Percy. The irony of victory, the tragedy of defeat. A hilarious and convicting work.
5. One book that made you cry:
Angelus Silesius again. Two-line minimalism somehow acheives the emotional impact not possible in novels or two-hour movies.
6. One book you wish had been written:
Now That I’ve Gone Insane: A Retrospective
The personal memoirs of Fredirich Nietchze after he resigned his sanity and bowed out of rational human existence. Oh, what do you think now, you who signed your letters “the Crucified”? What do you think now?
7. One book you wish had never been written:
Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
David Hume in his intolerably pompous and odiously self-contented manner manages to obscure already difficult philosophical questions and to posit impossibly unreasonable answers to them. It took the mountain of a man GK Chesterton to offer the antedote in a sufficiently reasonable and jolly manner.
8. One book you are currently reading:
Proclus, Elements of Theology
9. One book you have been meaning to read:
Kingdom Triangle, by JP Moreland. I’m in his class so it’s really unacceptable that I haven’t read it. His “most important work,” I know, I know!
Bonus Item: One book that made your mind bleed:
The sermons of Meister Eckhart. A mind-reeling blend of theology, philosophy and mysticism, contracted into a ten-minute homily inflicted upon unsuspecting parishoners of small Rhineland churches. Yet so penetratingly insightful and morally praiseworthy that he has offered me much inspiration and encouragement the last year. His controversial teaching (or rather, his confusing expression) was condemned and later approved with qualification by the Roman ecclesiastics. The sermon on sanctification challenges, enlightens, frightens, and wakes me from my sinful slumber every time I read it.