I have decided to list the books that changed my life . . . not the best books I have read. How to get on the list? First, I have read it more than ten times. Second, I can see the cover of my first copy in my mind’s eye. Third, it is a book I have carried to an event that had nothing to do with the book. Fourth, I sometimes quote it by acccident. These are not all great books, or even good books, but at some time in my life they moved me to action.
1. The Bible
I don’t remember a time when the stories of this book were not being read to me and I read it every day. My parents raised me in an atmosphere super-saturated with this Book of Books.
2. That Hideous Strength (C.S. Lewis)
Torrey is based on the image of Saint Anne’s in this book. This is the truest account of the state of the West written in the last one hundred years. I have read it every year since I was ten (or so).
3. Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien)
I have read this book every year of my life since seventh grade. Even the smallest hobbit can do great things for God.
4. Republic (Plato)
The two years spent with this book and Al Geier were the most academically productive of my life. Since then, I have come to find almost every truth needed in the pages of this book, saving only the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
5. Nicholas and Alexandra (Massie)
This book seized my imagination and still makes me cry.
6. A Severe Mercy (Vanauken)
My favorite book on love, marriage, and the problem of pain.
7. Chronicles of Narnia (Lewis)
I still hope the elevator in Sutherland (my college building) will open to Narnia someday.
8. Divine Comedy (Dante)
The most influential book of the last four years of my life.
9. Timaeus (Plato)
This is the first and last word on science for me.
10. Reason in the Balance (Johnson)
The book that still shapes the educational experience at Torrey.