I’m sure it’s just me…but I sometimes panic when I realize how few books I will read during my life. There’s so much to read and so little time! Is there a phobia for this…The fear of not being able to read?
Look at it this way: The average reader reads only four books per year. Over the course of a lifetime of 80 years (with reading taking place between the ages 15 and 95), this would be only 320 books!
But let’s say you read more. Let’s say you are an avid reader, and read one book a week, or about 50 books per year. Over the 80 years of reading, that is still only 4000 books! That’s about how many books I already have in my personal library! So even if I never buy another book, I will not be able to read all the books I already own.
That is so depressing…
So I guess the lesson for me is that I must carefully select the books I read.
Every time I pick up a book, I ask myself, is this a book that I want as one of my 4000? It makes me sad to think of some of the pointless books I’ve read.
Books I have Read
So I decided to keep track of the books I read. Since I don’t know how many I have read up to this point, I went through my library and counted all the books I remember reading, and then doubled it. I remember reading many hundreds of books in my teenage and college years that I no longer own, so I figure this was a good starting place. This process brought me to 1500 books. Down below, I list some of the best books I have read during these years.
Then, I am going to keep track of the books I read from year to year, and update the count here.
Here is my count so far:
- Initial Estimate: 1500
- 4000 Books 2010: 45 (See comments below)
- 4000 Books 2011: 69
- 4000 Books 2012: 52
- 4000 Books 2013: 57
- 4000 Books 2014: ??
- Total so Far: 1723
Best Books I Have Read
Below are some books I am glad I have read, and may even read again, thereby taking up not just one, but two spots on my list of 4000 books. These books have shaped my thinking in amazing ways. In the future, if I read some list-worthy books, I will include them in the comments.
- The Bible. I know, I know. Do I really have to include the Bible? But it should be one of the books you read regularly, which over the course of your life, will take up multiple spots on your list…60 spots or more if you read it annually from age 20 onward.
- The Reign of the Servant Kings by Joseph Dillow
- Transforming Mission by David Bosch
- The Grace Awakening: Believing in grace is one thing. Living it is another. by Chuck Swindoll
- The Epistle of James by Zane Hodges
- Rediscovering Expository Preaching by John MacArthur
- All books by CS Lewis
- Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton
- The Gutter: Where Life is Meant to be Lived by Craig Gross
- God at War: The Bible & Spiritual Conflict by Greg Boyd
- Satan & the Problem of Evil by Greg Boyd
- The Shaping of Things to Come by Frost and Hirsch
- The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church by Alan Hirsch
- The Last Word by NT Wright
- Jesus and the Victory of God by NT Wright
- The Other Side of Calvinism by Laurence Vance
- Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism by C. Gordon Olson
- God’s Strategy in Human History by Marston and Forster
- Pagan Christianity? by Frank Viola
For more of my favorite books, see my Burning Books List…books that set my mind on fire.
That’s all I can think of right now off the top of my head. By including these books on this list, I am not saying I agree with everything written in them. All I am saying is that these books stretched my mind, and brought about paradigm shifts in my life and thinking. A few of them caused earthquakes.
Oh, and novels are good to read as well. Novels can sometimes shape your life and theology more than a book on theology. One of the novels I am glad I have read is Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I’m not really into Sci-fi novels, but it was so good, I read it twice.