Books That Change Lives
Yesterday I pulled a book off my shelf that deserves a closer examination. 100 Christian Books That Changed the Century by William J. Petersen and Randy Petersen (Revell, 2000) I have a lot of respect for Bill Petersen who has been around Christian publishing for many years as a magazine editor and as a book editor. They are clear in the preface about their own personal biases for this process. In fact, they say, “These are not necessarily the best books, but those that have helped change people, other thinkers and writers, churches, and movements, and society in general.”
I’d encourage you to follow the Amazon.com link and look inside the book at the Table of Contents. How many of these books have you read and they’ve influenced your own reading and writing life? If someone asked me, I don’t make a conscious effort to read classics. Yes, I read many classics in high school and college and I understand their on-going popularity and beauty. The bulk of my reading time is tied up in unpublished manuscripts or forthcoming or brand new books (fiction and nonfiction). It’s a challenge to squeeze anything else into my reading.
How many of these influential books had I read over the years? When I listed them, I had read over 38 of these books. I found it surprising and encouraging. I’ve read more classics than I thought at first. These books have had a profound impact on my spiritual life and my professional life.
I doubt any of these authors intended to write a classic. They simply wrote the best possible book on their topic and worked hard to craft their words and storytelling. These books have endured and become classics. You and I can follow the same course of action in our writing life. You have to craft the best possible story. It’s not easy—but I have confidence that you (and I) can do it.