Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Reading Lists

As many of you know, I love to read. I tend to devour books in short order but then not read another for a while. In other words, when I decide to read something, I'll read it cover to cover in virtually one sitting and then not read a book for a month or more. This is a habit that I would like to break. I would like to always have a book that I am working on, but not necessarily so voraciously. So, I am committing myself to reading 10 books I have never read by the end of the year. I at first considered 10 books in 10 weeks, which is certainly doable, but would involve ignoring Nancy & Sophie, which is probably unwise.

To accomplish this task, I am requesting help from the reader(s) of this blog. I am actively soliciting suggestions for reading material. It is my hope that I can find all 10 books to read through suggestions that YOU make. So PLEASE help me out and suggest a book that you have enjoyed, spoke to you in some way, or that you think I could benefit from.

Now, all suggestions are welcome, but I would like to read 10 books in 10 different categories as described herein:

1. Modern Fiction
I could go for a good novel, preferably something written within the last 5 years or so. A representative sample of books I have recently read that best describe this category would be Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Life of Pi.
2. Classic Fiction
These are the types of novels you are made to read in school and don't appreciate until much later. Think A Tale of Two Cities, The Great Gatsby, The Brothers Karamazov, etc...
3. Modern Christian Literature
I used to read quite a bit from this category, but have largely avoided it over the past few years, as the sheer volume of books being written here made finding the ones that are actually worth reading somewhat difficult. At least, that's what I told myself. That is an attitude both cynical and lazy and attests to the very reasons why I should be reading these books more! I would prefer something written in the last 5 years.
4. Classic Christian Literature
I have read a great deal of this, and obviously there is no new classic literature being produced. Nonetheless, I have certainly not exhausted this treasure-trove of teaching. Although I would prefer older books here (think Imitation of Christ) we could possibly entertain authors as recent as Bonhoeffer or C.S. Lewis.
5. Business Book
In general, these books say basically the same thing and are of limited usefulness if you have read more than one. Still, one should try to keep up to date. I have heard good things about Blink, so I am thinking of entering that in this category. Don't hesitate to add others though!
6. Cultural Studies
I really enjoy books in this category. This is probably what I have read the most of over the last few years. Think Freakonomics & Fast Food Nation.
7. Sports Book
As posted on this blog, I have recently read Moneyball and The Blind Side and enjoyed them immensely. I am interested in reading Game of Shadows, which seems appropriate at the moment.
8. Fatherhood Book
9. Marriage Book
It would be nice to find a book here that we could read together. So, I'm not really looking for husband-specific books here.
10. Popcorn
I am looking for something here that does not fit into any of the above categories OR a second book from one of them.

Thank you in advance for your comments and suggestions! I'll post the list here when it is assembled.


Rob said...

1. "Zig Zag" by Jose Carlos Somoza
2. "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand
3. Anything by Pete Grieg (via Derry), my faves: "Waking The Dead" by John Eldredge, "I Am Not, But I Know I Am" by Louie Giglio, "The Barbarian Way" by Erwin McManus, and "Being The Body" by Charles Colson
4. Can't beat "Screwtape Letters"!
5. "Good To Great" by Jim Collins
6. "The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron" by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind
7. "Shadows" is alright, but slow moving...I'd recommend "A Civil War" by John Fienstein, which follows the Army and Navy football teams through an entire season.
8. "What a Difference a Daddy Makes" by Dr. Kevin Leman or "What A Daughter Needs From Her Dad" by Michael Farris
9. "Love And Respect" by Dr. Emerson Eggerich - best biblical marriage resource I've read...
10. I'm a big fan of good Christian ficton whenever I can find it, and there is no better I've found than the Circle Trilogy by Ted Dekker, "Red", "Black", and "White". A fun read with a great message!!

Good luck with your reading, and feel free to share your favorite with us...I'm always looking for something new to read!!

Dan & Nancy Erickson said...

Thanks for your suggestions Rob! Here are a few others I have received from e-mail commentors (thanks to Dan and Mom):
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Slow Man
A House for Mr. Biswas
Midaq Alley
Lord of the Flies
Velvet Elvis
Sex God
Blue Like Jazz
Screwtape Letters
A Tale of Three Kings
Made to Stick
In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day
Guerilla Marketing
The Color of Water
The Glass Castle
Devil in the White City

Dan & Nancy Erickson said...

More e-mail suggestions (big thanks to Robby):
Modern Fiction: Peace Like a River by Leif Enger and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseni.

Classic Fiction: The Odyssey, or “The Death of Ivan Ilych” by Leo Tolstoy

Modern Christian Literature: Shusaku Endo’s Silence.

Classic Christian Literature: Dante, The Divine Comedy.

Business: Blink

Culture studies: Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman

Sports Book: My Losing Season by Pat Conroy (author of The Prince of Tides). This could also fit under the category of fatherhood—as in for god’s sake don’t be like Conroy’s father.

Fatherhood Book: The Kite Runner is in part about Fathers and sons. And so is Maus: A Survivor’s Tale (parts I and II). Or, try Gilead by Mariann Robinson.

Marriage book: Try reading this one aloud with your wife… Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

Popcorn: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. I also highly recommend Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.

Jon Sampson said...

Grete told me I should comment, so here are a few thoughts :). I'll probably think of better ones later when I can look at my bookshelf, but here are a few off the top of my head.

Modern Christian Lit:
Blue Like Jazz
Velvet Elvis
(Interesting perspectives/takes on Christian thought/life. I especially like Blue Like Jazz for it's narrative storytelling and honesty...)

Seth Godin has some interesting stuff (mainly on marketing). I have Purple Cow and want to read Idea Virus.
Another one I've heard great things about that's on my reading list is Made to Stick.

I might count Blink in cultural studies, but that's just my opinion :)

Oh, and looking over the other comments, none of these are new now, but they may help reinforce some suggestions...

Aaron Helman said...

Hey, my mom checks your blog just about every day, and she said you were looking for some good books. These should fit into one of your ten categories. By the way, I think I would get along with this Robby fellow.

2. The Aeneid, The Divine Comedy.
3. I'd try Messy Spirituality. Also Crowder's Praise Habit.
4. Lewis's The Problem of Pain.
5. I thought Blink was more a social theory book than a business book in a lot of ways. I liked Thank You for Smoking.
6. Blink. Also The Social Atom except the last three pages.

Also, anything by Bill Bryson, in fact, everything by Bill Bryson. Into the Wild is superb. Maus is really great. Read Ultramarathon Man.

That's about it.