one more Top 10 list

Read-books imageI’m not one to blindly do something just because everyone else is doing it. That’s exactly why I’ve managed to successfully ignore requests to play Candy Crush, plant rows of veggies in Farmville, find out what 90’s teen celebrity I’m most like and even stop watching videos of people taking the Ice Bucket Challenge.

I’m not quite sure why the challenge to make a list of my Top 10 favorite books was something that caught my interest. From Facebook to Twitter, these lists are popping up in my news feed at an alarming rate and I can’t stop reading them. Over the past month, I’ve read lists from dear friends as well as public figures and with each post, I’m reminded of books that have lay dormant in my own mind. Occasionally, people “cheat” and list the title of a book AND go on to say “and many others by this author;” as if limiting themselves to just 10 books in some way diminishes their intellect or contribution to the reading community.

As opposed to requests for carrots or wheat in my friend’s farm, I do think the book list a great use of social media; it’s prompted me to do some honest reflection (and narrowing of my own choices) and given me a list of “new” titles to add to my shelf on

Following is my condensed list, listed in the order they came into my life; and then, a second list of books to read from all those great Friends who recommended them.

Kristen’s Top 10

1. Inside, Outside, Upside Down, Berenstain Bears. Including the unforgettable phrase:”Mama Mama I went to town…”  I remember being so proud I could read this whole book and discovering, many years later, that my mom despised it. Perhaps because I wanted to read it out loud ALL THE TIME.
2. The Bible, Eugene Peterson’s The Message paraphrase. I grew up with the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible but for sheer readability, I love The Message.
3. Little House in the Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder. {spoiler alert!} Discovered this book in my elementary school library. I loved the TV show and then found out that there was a real family that the show was based on. Never liked Laura…always imagined myself as Mary–until she goes blind.
4. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell. Read during my sophomore year in high school. First “adult” novel and I was swept away.
5. Betty Crocker Cookbook. Tim and I started married life with a basic knowledge of cooking and planning meals. But when I was stuck in those first years, I flipped open this book to find out just how to cook corn on the cob, and other essentials.
6. Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis. In a group of women during a long hot summer, we read and debated the values proposed by Lewis. This was the first time I was in an honest dialogue with people who disagreed about some fundamental tenets of the Christian faith but conversation was always sprinkled with love.
7. A New Kind of Christian, Brian McLaren. First book I read that turned religion upside down and I really kind of liked the view from this angle.
8. The 8th Habit, Stephen Covey. I’m a sucker for people who make lists, especially when those lists promise a better way to do life. Covey’s book of leadership/life principles and the accompanying DVD with short video clips was foundational to my understanding of what a good leader is and does.
9. Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster. When I decided to get serious about spiritual formation, I started with a Quaker mentor. His gentle approach to presenting the disciplines allowed me the courage to try them out in my own life. Since then, I’ve facilitated this book in other small groups. I find that I can always learn more with each reading.
10. Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach, Jane Vella. A super-practical approach to adult learning through dialogue education. Vella’s case studies illustrate the principles in compelling ways that completely changed how I taught small groups.

List of To-Read Books

1. Lit by Mary Karr
2. Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber
3. Let Your Life Speak, Parter Palmer
4. Help, Thanks, Wow, Three Essential Prayers Anne Lamott.
5. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams.
6. The Blue Castle, L.M. Montgomery
7. The Reading Group: A Novel, Elizabeth Noble.

You can check out more books that I’m reading listed on our website here.