Friday, February 05, 2010

Why Book Lists?

Trying to catch up on unfinished projects today.

One was a short list of reasons why I keep a list of books that I read and why I broadcast that list here.

I started my first list like this in 1999.  I was rookie pastor, and I wanted to do a kind of audit, to keep track of what my diet was.  It gave me a record to go back to to see how was balanced my book intake.

I remember hearing a message by John Piper around about the same time where he asked how many seminary guys were reading books by Tom Clancy and ignoring books by Jonathan Edwards (or something to that effect).  I was reading books by Tom Clancy.  How many truly edifying books was I reading to balance that out?

So, I started to keep track of that.  And it also helped me to motivate myself to read more.  I enjoyed getting to put another title down on this list.  Still do.  It's very satisfying!

Now, when the kids came, the list went from 100 a year to 35.  And that was hard for me.  Reading is my chief hobby.  But it also felt right.  My priorities were in the right place.

Every year, I go over the list and think through what those books have taught me, what I've enjoyed, and where God has brought me.  Each has a memory to it.  And it's great for going back to reference something.

As for posting the lists, it seemed natural to do that because this blog originates from what's important to me.  And if you want to know ME, you gotta know about BOOKS.  I'm a bibliophile.

It's also a way that can give recommendations to others.  I enjoying pointing people to good books, and this is a starting place for that sort of thing.  My goal is to start writing 2 sentence reviews of the books to go along with each title. We'll see if that remains an unfinished goal or not...

My friends and family read this blog, and it is a goad to them to be reading good books (You know who you are!  You will remain nameless...Dan, Mark,...).

My church also reads this blog (at least some of our folks do, I think), and this gives them a view into (1) what I'm up to and (2) what they might want to think about reading.

And now, my daughter has taken up the practice, too.  I think it will be fun for us to compare notes as the year progresses.  She's reading up a storm right now - 40 books in 36 days!

One concern that I have is that the list can seem impressive and give someone a sense that I think that I'm a real somebody.

But my heroes are guys like DA Carson who reads an average 500 books per yearThat's impressive!

If I have achieved anything, it's because of the grace of God to me.  I'm thankful to get to read those books and have them influence me.  They have truly shaped me--for better or for worse.

Tolle lege!

[Translation: "Take Up and Read!"  Part of the story of Augustine, where he heard a voice say to do that and was converted to Christ by reading the Bible.]