Books Etc

Books for a Desert Island

Someone at asked which five books I’d like to have with me if I were to be stranded on a desert island. Not an easy question. Here’s my answer. (Obviously part of my standard was sheer size, assuming I’m going to be there a long time with little else to do – wishful thinking.)

So, think about your own list for a few seconds before reading mine (actually I made two – Cheater!). I’m off this evening for a two-night church men’s retreat at Dancing Leaf Cultural Center about 30 minutes north of here. Too bad you can’t join us! But we’ll be busy; no need to take a bunch of books.

Hmm. Interesting. 5 books, eh?

1. A Bible, for sure (probably my single-column wide margin hardback NIV)

2. Michael Eric Dyson Reader to get a lot of contemporary history / sociology / etc, from a Black American Christian intellectual perspective (it’s a big book!)

3. 1 volume of the 4 in my edition of the massive Encyclopedia of Philosophy ed. Edwards (oh, but which volume?! – probably the first)

4. Elwell’s Evangelical Dictionary of Theology

5. P T Forsyth Soul of Prayer or Person & Place of Jesus Christ, probably PPJC. Forsyth is awesome.

Maybe that’s not my best selection, but it’s one I could definitely live with! Thanks for a fun question.

Maybe that list was a little self-indulgent. Here’s one likely more useful in light of the current crisis (assuming I’d get back from the island within a few years):

1. Bible, as above.

2. Preface to Theology, Christology and church history by John Howard Yoder

3. When the Powers Fall: Reconciliation in the Healing of Nations by Walter Wink, or maybe his Unmasking the Powers: the Invisible Forces that Determine Human Existence.

4. Martin Luther King Jr, the Making of a Mind, John Ansbro. It’s been re-issued with a new title. This covers everthing!

5. The Impossible Will Take a Little While, Paul Rogat Loeb. Hope and realism from many sources.

6. (cheating again!) A bag of books on current affairs: media, economy, war, current political crisis, …

Hard to pick just five (or ten or twenty!). So what’s your list? (And maybe we don’t want to ask this question, but ‘What do our lists tell us about ourselves?’)

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  • Hmmmm…tough question – how long will I be on the island?
    1. Bible
    2. The Divine Conspiracy – I need to read that again.
    3. A History of Israel
    4. The Prophetic Imagination – Walter Brueggeman
    5. A History of Civilization

    I’m pretty sure that would keep me for a while!

  • Here’s a list I got in an email response:

    “The first four:

    Varieties of Religious Experience (Wm James)
    Another Roadside Attraction (Tim Robbins)
    Old Man and the Sea (Earnest Hemmingway)
    (Tales from)Margaritaville (Jimmy Buffett)”

    An attractive mix …