Ah, social media challenges – love them or loathe them, you’re not immune to them! Unless, of course, you’re not on social media. (Awkward) One of my favourite recent challenges is to “List 10 books that have impacted you”. I secretly hoped someone would tag me, and I was not disappointed. My good friend Deevs, who is a revolutionary, Hillsong College training, Jesus loving hippie, nominated me to share my book list.
You know you have those out-of-the-box thinking friends who, anything they recommend, you immediately want to see/read/discover for yourself? Yeah, that’s Deevs. I was delighted she had tagged me – firstly because I was curious to read her list, and secondly because I was excited to create my own. Thanks to her book list, I’ve added a few more to my “want to read” list. Unsurprisingly, a couple on her list are also on mine - can you guess which ones?!
Once I actually got down to the nitty gritty of compiling my own list, however, my excitement dwindled and was replaced with confusion and anxiety. How could I narrow it down to just ten?! Do I choose books that are meaningful for me now, or those that have been formative throughout the years (even if that meant adding a book to the list that I’d most probably hate if I were to read it now)? Maybe I should do less than 10, the very bare bones of books which have greatly impacted me. Maybe I should screw the number and add as many as I liked. I sent frantic messages to Deevs, asking for her advice and sympathy. Finally, realising that in the grand scheme of eternity, my book list is not that important, I settled on a solution – choose whatever the heck I wanted, and write explanatory notes for why I’d put these books in my top ten (with a disclaimer that these are some of the books that have impacted me, and I reserve the right to at a later date amend this list, and that there are probably books not here that should be, and so on).
So, to echo Deevs’ original post, here are my top ten books that have impacted me in some way, given in no particular order, and requesting you refrain from judgement, but welcoming you to comment and question, should you feel so led ;)
The Brain That Changes Itself – Norman Doidge
Doidge excels in communicating the complex subject of neuroplasticity in a way that anyone can pick up and understand. Not only that, the translating of this specialised scientific topic into layman’s terms offers anyone who reads it a glimpse into the brilliance of their own mind, and gave me so much hope when I read it. I refer to this book often.
Outliers – Malcom Gladwell
Given to me by my brilliant Sociology lecturer, I came alive reading Outliers. A fascinating book about human potential. Read it.
The Sacred Canopy – Elements of A Sociological Theory of Religion – Peter Berger
I discovered this book through the same lecturer, and its discussion of world construction changed the way I see the world and the individuals in it. I even wrote an essay on it.
Harry Potter – J. K. Rowling
When I grow up, I want to create worlds as awesome as J.K. Rowling.
She Who Is – Elizabeth Johnson
People make jokes about my feminist views and my quest for equality, but I felt very conservative reading She Who Is. The way I relate to God has grown as a result.
On Writing – Stephen King
A hilarious, almost autobiographical look at the world from the eyes of an author, with a lot of wisdom and constructive insight into writing. A must read for anyone who wants to be a writer.
Theology for the Community of God – Stanley Grenz
Not for the faint hearted, but gives a broad overview of many Christian doctrines and differently held beliefs. This book helped me to better articulate my Christian worldview, to address areas where I had just absorbed poor theology without studying for myself, and to strengthen the building blocks of my faith.
How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
I am occasionally a socially awkward person. Learning how to win friends and influence people has helped me to be a better friend and leader.
Why You Do The Things You Do – Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy
I understood myself and how I relate to people in a new light after learning about attachment theories. Hopefully I am a bit more gracious and understanding with people, as I try to understand their relational model and how it impacts their interactions.
I’m Not Who I Thought I Was – Christine Caine
What book list would be complete without the auto biography of my hero? I’ve learned so much from this incredible person throughout the years and hope to follow her example. She follows the narrow path. Unfortunately, this book is out of print, so good luck finding a copy. I’m not parting with mine. But you can read much of it and a lot more in a newer book, Undaunted.
I Am Malala – Malala Yousafzai
“When the Taliban shot Malala, they showed what they feared most: a girl with a book.” Someone give this girl the Nobel Prize already! Oh, wait…
Evolving in Monkey Town – (now called Faith Unravelled) – Rachel Held Evans
My new favourite author and blogger. I wish we were best friends. She asks the questions of her faith that I wish I had the guts to. And she makes the world a better place.
I could keep going, but I’ll leave it there for today. Would love for you to share your top books! Over and out xx