Friday Book Recommendation: 25 Books

Roller, Julia L., editor. 25 Books Every Christian Should Read: A Guide to the Essential Spiritual Classics.
Renovaré/HarperOne, 2011.

I’m beginning to start reading my way through our new Faith Integration collection, to read the books I have yet to read (which is always a long list!). C.S. Lewis once wrote on the importance of reading new books – but returning to read “old friends” and I have many books which have become just that.

In some ways, this is the essence of this book – what are the books Christian leaders return to again and again as the most important books in their spiritual life? This book represents the wisdom of the Renovaré  leadership, and includes recommendations from Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Phyllis Tickle, Gayle Beebe, Chris Webb, and Richard Rohr.

The Renovaré group accepted recommendations from people all over North America as to the top 5 books that impacted their life as a Christian. Nearly 400 books were nominated. The Renovaré editorial board edited this list down to 25 books which they believe to be “the best guides for living life with God.” The list excludes books by living authors and excludes the Bible, believing that “time spent with Bible, on our own and in our communities, is vital and well-spent.”[1]

Each of the twenty-five books represents a chapter in the volume. The chapter begins with a short introduction to the writer, an explanation as to why the work should be considered essential, tips on how to read the work, short excerpts of the work, and a study guide with questions. In the center of each section is a list of “My Personal Top 5” books from Christian leaders involved with the Renovaré movement. So while the book has the top 25, it also includes 125 recommendations. If this weren’t enough, the book concludes with a section on “Best Contemporary Authors” and highlights some of the best spiritual writing over the past fifty years with living authors (who, as mentioned, were excluded from the 25 list).

This would be a wonderful resource for personal growth – and would also be a wonderful starting point if you are in a small group/book club. I’ll admit that while I’m writing about the book to introduce you to our Faith Integration collection, this is a book I’m going to purchase for myself as I have a feeling I’ll be referring to it for a long time. So come, check out this new title, and see if you might find new books to add to your “essential” reading list.

[1] From the Introduction, p.xii.

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