These Nine Books

I was tagged in one of my favorite college professors facebook post. The challenge is to list nine books that have greatly impacted you and to tag nine friends to hopefully do the same. I hardly ever do the facebook games, but when it comes to beloved books…I couldn’t resist. And considering this professor gave me my favorite book on this list, I thought I’d give it a go! Here are my 9(ish).

1. “The Chosen” by Chaim Potok

          My favorite, hands down. I read this my last year of college when I was in studying abroad in Israel. The story is simple, at least for the majority of the book. There’s a solid 20 pages towards the end that I re-read every few months. Such a significant book at a vital time in my life! I even copied those 20 pages down in a journal I had at the time…yeah THAT good.


2. “The Life of the Beloved” by Henri Nouwen

I also read this book in Israel and though just about every one of Nouwen’s books are on my favorite-reads list, this one has to be my favorite. His writings about the life of Christ and the believer are pure nuggets of truth.

3. “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers 

This novel is a fictional portrayal of the Old Testament book of Hosea. The only book I’ve read twice. The theme of relentless love resounds deep throughout this book!

4. “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch

My favorite childrens’ book my mom would read to me as a child. If I read it today, I’ll surely boo-hoo. Ok, the only (other) book I’ve read multiple times!


5. “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett 

Any book that navigates breaking down walls between human beings, whether it’s walls of racism, sexism, or any sort of –ism, has my attention. I thought “The Help” was both masterful and entertaining. (I actually listened to this book. It was read by multiple voices to individualize each character. So good!)

6. “Under the Overpass” by Mike Yankoski

I read this book in high school. It’s a story of a guy (Mike) who takes it upon himself to experience what it’s like to be homeless for five months. I don’t remember much about the details of his journey, but I remember it made a huge impression on my view of those who don’t have the luxury of a roof and warm bed.

7. “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller 

There’s a part of Miller’s story where he talks about setting up a confession booth at a wild college party. The idea was for partiers to come in and confess. Instead, Miller used the opportunity to apologize on behalf of Christians who’ve used the namesake of Christianity to harm others.

8. “Yearnings” by Rabbi Irwin Kula

Maybe my second favorite book (behind “The Chosen”)? I read it at the end of my first semester of Divinity School. Nearly every line of this book is underlined, highlighted, or starred. This book is filled with pages of truth for life perspective.

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9. “The Dark Night of the Soul” by St. John of the Cross & “The Dark Night of the Soul” by Gerald May

St. John of the Cross is one of my favorite mid-century mystic writers. His (painful) faith journey resonated deep in my soul when I read his work and spurred the majority of my graduate research focusing on mysticism. Gerald May has written a great companion book, also entitled, “The Dark Night of the Soul”. May breaks down St. John’s work wonderfully.

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 9.30.58 PMComment below with some of your favorite books that have impacted you!



4 thoughts on “These Nine Books

  1. Great selection! I enjoyed Nouwen’s Life of the Beloved a lot. I’m also quite interested in the psychological piece on the Dark Night of the Soul. Some of my favs:
    1) Tom Wright’s, The Challenge of Jesus
    2) Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the God of Israel
    3) Clark Pinnock’s, Flame of Love
    4) James KA Smith’s, Thinking in Tongues
    5) Christian Smith’s, The Bible Made Impossible
    6) Tozer’s classic, The Pursuit of God

    P.S. – Where did/do you go to div school?

    • Gerald May’s book is a great companion to the psychological aspect of the Dark Night. Good book list yourself! I went to Wake Forest School of Divinity…graduated May 2012. Best day of my life. ha jk!…sort of. You?

  2. I’m a sucker for book lists myself.

    1) Treasure Island (the only book that I’ve read twice)
    2) Crime and Punishment (the psychological depth of the characters was amazing and it read like a TV series with its cliff hangers)
    3) If Disney Ran Your Hospital, 9 1/2 Things That would Change (it’s a good book on how to manage/treat/motivate people)
    4) Cooked (basically the history of Cooking)
    5) The Lords of Discipline (the only book I’ve thrown across the room after completing)

  3. I’ll definitely check it out! The concept of the Dark Night has intrigued me quite a while now – especially as depicted in the Scriptures. And thanks about my list!

    Totally get the “best day” sentiment. Seminary is great, but can also be…well, rough.

    I’m a student a Princeton Sem. We’re presently freezing to death over here.

    Did you focus on anything in particular in your program?

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