Monday, May 25, 2009

Reading List

I have scads of little pieces of paper, index cards and emails I've sent to myself with books recommended or talked about by people I admire, I try to toss those little tidbits on my desk and then regularly do amazon searches and add them to my wish list so that at least somewhere I have a searchable record of those books. I began doing this when one of my favorite people in the world made his recommended reading list. I grabbed a few of those books and they changed my life forever. Nothing I had read up to that point had touched me as deeply as those books. I guess that's because the man who recommended them touched me more deeply than anyone else had before.

His name was Mike Yaconelli. He is no longer with us physically, but his writing and talks still pay forward in my life, and since I was only graced to see him once a year, it's almost like he's still around practically influencing my life.

I was doing some research for the talk I'm giving at church on Sunday and saved a transcript for the Bill Moyers Journal he had with Parker Palmer back in February - 17 minutes you will never regret - but don't listen until after Sunday if you go to my church! :) (Parker Palmer's Let Your Life Speak was the first book I read on that list and things shifted so dramatically within me that I will never be the same again) When I saved the transcript I found Mike's book list and I'm going to copy it here so that I don't forget again - there are so many books on this list I still get to read and I thought you might enjoy a couple of them too.

Here's Mike's Recommended Reading List (with a bit of advice thrown in) The only thing I'll add is Mike's own book Messy Spirituality:

  • Read like a madman.
  • Most youth workers don't read. Yet reading is absolutely essential to your spiritual growth.
  • Ask people you admire and respect what books they read. If you're drawn to someone, chances are they have the same reading interests you do, so trust them to get you on the right reading track.
  • Note those authors you resonate with, then get all their books. I have my own group of authors, who through their books have become my reading-world friends: Eugene Peterson, Barbara Brown Taylor, Walter Wangerin Jr., John Claypool, Earl Palmer, Henri Nouwen, Calvin Miller, Frederick Buechner, Alan Jones, Will Willimon, Evelyn Underhill, Philip Yancey. I read everything they write. Somehow, they know me, they name what I am struggling with, they put into words what I have been unable to find the words for. Put those few books that have really affected you in a bookcase close to where you work. In my study I have all my favorite books——my friends——just to the left of my desk, in arm's reach. I have lots more books in my study, but my friends are right next to me.
  • Interact with your books. Mark your favorite passages, make notes, mark then file the quotes that grip you. Books are made to be marked——and stained with tears, too. Reading is more than gathering information——it's a relationship.
  • Don't worry if you take a break from reading now and then. Sometimes your soul needs space and time to process what's going on in your life. At such times reading can actually distract you from soul work you should be doing.
  • Whatever you do, don't limit your reading to religious books. Read recent novels, old classics, biographies, short stories, essays, articles. Christians aren't the only ones speaking truth. Truth is truth, regardless of who says it.
  • Stop impersonating yourself.
  • For what it's worth, here's my recommended reading list. Let it start you making your own book list.
  • Robert Bensen, Between the Dreaming & the Coming True (HarperCollins)
  • Bob Benson, Disciplines for the Inner Life (Word)
  • Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination (Fortress)
  • Thomas Cahill, The Gifts of the Jews (Doubleday)
  • Christopher DeVinck, The Power of the Powerless (Zondervan)
  • Jacques Ellul, The Presence of the Kingdom (Seabury)
  • Suzanne Farnham and others, Listening Hearts (Morehouse)
  • Arthur Gordon, A Touch of Wonder (Jove Books)
  • Thelma Hall, Too Deep for Words (Paulist)
  • Abraham Heschel, Man's Quest for God (Scribner's)
  • Abraham Heschel, The Prophets (HarperCollins)
  • Alan Jones, Passion for Pilgrimage (HarperCollins)
  • Alan Jones, Soul Making: The Desert Way of Spirituality (HarperSanFrancisco)Thomas Kelly, A Testament of Devotion (HarperSanFranciso)
  • Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits (HarperCollins)
  • Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies (Pantheon)
  • Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude (Noonday Press)
  • Johannes B. Metz, Poverty of Spirit (Paulist)
  • Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith (Riverhead)
  • Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk (Riverhead)
  • Kathleen Norris, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (Houghton Mifflin)
  • Henri Nouwen, In the Name of Jesus (Crossroad)
  • Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love (Doubleday)
  • Henri Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak (Image)
  • Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak (Jossey-Bass)
  • Parker Palmer, To Know As We Are Known (HarperSanFranciso)
  • Eugene Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor (Word)
  • Eugene Peterson, Living the Message (HarperCollins)
  • Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction (InterVarsity Press)
  • Eugene Peterson, Subversive Spirituality (Eerdmans)
  • Barbara Brown Taylor, The Preaching Life (Cowley)
  • Barbara Brown Taylor, When God Is Silent (Cowley)
  • Evelyn Underhill, The Spiritual Life (Morehouse)
  • Evelyn Underhill, The Ways of the Spirit (Crossroad)
  • Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines (HarperSanFranciso)
  • Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew (Zondervan)
  • Philip Yancey, What's So Amazing about Grace? (Zondervan)

Are there any you'd add to this list?


Daisy said...

I loved Messy Spirituality. Mike Yaconelli seemed like a really good guy. Thanks for sharing the reading list, Heidi. I usually get my own reading list the same way you do.


Kel said...

while I've already read some of these, my amazon wishlist just got bigger with other potential books

thanks for sharing :)

Danielle said...

thanks so much for the book recommendations heidi! i've been part of a teeny-tiny book club that's just started up for the summer...perhaps one of these will be our next read?? ( ;

J said...

I just discovered Mike and Messsy Spirituality a few weeks ago. I'm waiting to buy the book, so until then I just read a little at a time every time I'm at Chapters. I would add Thomas Merton's No Man is an Island, and anything by Kalil Gibran. Thanks for this list.