What Do You Think Wednesday – What Book Should Every Person Read?

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This isn't entirely true. I want my handsome prince on the other end of the sofa, reading with me. And he often is, so my wish came true!

This isn’t entirely true. I want my handsome prince on the other end of the sofa, reading with me. And he often is, so my wish came true!

I’m always a little baffled when people ask me, “What do you like to read?”

“Uhm…. words?”

I will read fiction, non-fiction, my Bible, newspapers, magazines, cereal boxes, instruction manuals….

There really isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t spend at least a little time reading something and my tastes vary fairly widely, though if I think about my all-time favorites, they are all fiction and they all definitely have challenged my beliefs and pushed me to grow in my personal faith in some way.

Some of my favorites (in no particular order) include:

One Door Away From Heaven by Dean Koontz

The Taking by Dean Koontz

Christ the Lord by Anne Rice

Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

The Clan of the Cave Bear Series by Jean Auel

The Mittford Series by Jan Karon

Thinking about all this made me wonder – is there a single book that stood out, head and shoulders above the rest?  Is there one book I’ve read that shaped my life and made me a better person in profoundly powerful ways?

My first inclination was to say, The Bible. I do believe that everyone should read The Bible and, certainly, it has changed my life but, in this context, I was thinking more of the kinds of books that a person might casually pick up at a thrift store and say, “Hey! This story looks interesting.”

If I had to pick just one perspective, one story, one writer through whose eyes I think everyone should view the world, even if just for a moment or two, I think I would have to pick Gandhi’s autobiography.  I can’t imagine anyone reading it and not coming away a little more compassionate, a little more caring, a little more conscious of their place in the great inter-connected web of life.

What do you think?  What book should every person read? 

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22 responses »

  1. I don’t have just one. The Shack by William P Young, was really good! (Enough that I bought it for all the important ladies in my life a couple Christmases ago) But I love all the Hannibal Lecter stories too. I’m a big Stephen King fan, but I also love The Left Behind Series too. I don’t have much time to read anything longer than a couple paragraphs at a time these days, so I rarely crack a book open anymore.

  2. “The Confession of Nat Turner”…I read this in high school, during the summer one year…my mom required me to pick 10 books off the ALA banned book list to read each summer, and this was one I read. Its a hard book to read…in terms of content, its no worse than the Bible–its got murder, slavery, rape, and redemption. Unlike the Bible, its awfully short on hope. Its a very cold, hard look at the history of this country thru the lense of a single event, and about what drives a good peron to do horrific things….about the danger of Othering and of denying humanity to one another.

    And, since I can’t just pick one…”The Lorax” by Dr. Suess. We need more people to speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues. And I’m telling you ma’am, at the top of my lungs…unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot… Yeah, I’ve read it a few times, lol.

  3. I could never pick one book above all others. There are just too many good ones. But I agree with you… I read, something, every day. I am a cereal box reader too! LOL Reading is so important I have started doing the classics with my oldest, the ones with no pictures *gasp* and he loves telling me what his mind’s eye sees from the words. So many chilren today really miss out on so many great adventures because they don’t pick up books. I don’t care what my children read, as long as they read…. books, magazines, newspapers…. something!

    • I agree. I think we learn and grow from any kind of reading. I’m as happy to see my kids with a comic book as a biography. There is something about the written word that just seems to spur the mind into action!

    • I know what you mean. I go through seasons like that as well but after a while I just can’t take it any more! I bet, as a blogger, you read lots of blogs though… you read this one today! 🙂

  4. Reading is such a ingrained part of who I am. I been reading as long as I can remember and jumped to full size novels around the age of 10. There have been so many books over the years but there are two that stick out to me.

    One that I recommend for everyone is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It is so inspiring and uplifting. It’s a book that I give to every college graduate that I know.

    There other one is for all Christians no matter where they are in their walk with God, but especially for those who are having a really tough time feeling ‘good enough’. It’s called Messy Spirituality by Mike Yaconelli. Again very inspiring and I credit this book a lot for opening my eyes that God would forgive me for ‘turning’ my back on him for so many years as a young adult. It was nice to know that I wasn’t the only one struggling with these kind of issues.

  5. I have so many favorite books. I think the top of my list would have to be Redeemed by Francine Rivers and next in line are her Mark of the Lion series. I did LOVE the shack. I had the opportunity to listen to him speak and loved the book even more.

    • I read the mark of the Lion series in college and really enjoyed it but haven’t read anything of hers since. Maybe it’s time to go back and check out her other stuff.

    • I haven’t heard of that one. I’ll have to look it up. I do love Anne of Green Gables though. Anne reminds me a lot of Sweet Hippie Daughter. I should read those books with her.

  6. I read Ishmael by Daniel Quinn a long time ago but this was the book that popped into my head as soon as I read your question. Now I will have to read it again. Hopefully it will still be relevant to me now that I am out of college and have a family.

  7. Other than scripture, the book I would recommend to everyone would be The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. It’s such a brilliant examination of human behavior. When I read it in high school it changed me. I think that’s a powerful statement about a book. When I read it years later, as an adult, it changed me again. Definitely my favorite.

    Fun post. Stopping by from SITS.

    • I had to read the Screwtape letters for a class in college and I agree – it really was brilliant and life changing. I should read it again, with the perspectives I’ve gained since then. As I remember it was a fairly quick read, but powerful none-the-less.

  8. I think that everyone should read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It will change the way you relate to the people you’re closest to in such a great way. I’ve seen it literally change the quality of peoples lives/relationships. Even if it doesn’t absolutely change your life, it’s a great read! 🙂

    – Brooke –

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