Friday, 21 August 2015

A "Self-Portrait" in Books

My birthday was this week, and to celebrate it, here are 45 books I have loved during the past 45 years.

Because I'm limiting this list to books that are available in English, I've had to leave out a lot of my Finnish favourites, and so the "self-portrait" is not quite accurate. But it's a fair glimpse into my reading history and what sort of books appeal to me.

An another caveat: I didn't include the Holy Bible in this list. It's the book I read the most, but it's really in a category of its own.

Ten favourites from my childhood 

 A.A. Milne: Winnie-the-Pooh

Elisabeth Beresford: The Wombles

Kenneth Grahame: Wind in the Willows

Eleanor Estes: The Moffats

Astrid Lindgren: Vi På Saltkråkan (Seacrow Island)

Enid Blyton: the Adventure series

Laura Ingalls Wilder: Little House in the Big Woods (and the series)

L.M.Montgomery: Rilla of Ingleside

L.M. Alcott: An Old-Fashioned Girl
James Aldridge: The Marvellous Mongolian

The last one gets to represent my horse phase. Most of the horse books I devoured were by Finnish or Swedish authors, probably not available in English.

From teen years and early twenties

Mary Stolz: By the Highway Home

John Steinbeck: Travels with Charley

J.R.R. Tolkien: Lord of the Rings

Douglas Adams: The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy

Fynn: Mister God, This is Anna

It was difficult to think back to those years. I know I read a lot, but what did I enjoy the most? I must have forgotten many good books, but if I remember a book as a significant reading experience about thirty years later, it must have been important.

Jane Austen - and other fiction favourites from the last two decades

Jane Austen: Persuasion

Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen: Mansfield Park

Jane Austen: Northanger Abbey

Jane Austen: Sense and Sensibility

Jane Austen: Emma

Elizabeth Gaskell: Cranford

Barbara Pym: Excellent Women

Josephine Tey: The Daughter of Time

Dorothy L. Sayers: Gaudy Night

C.S. Lewis: The Screwtape Letters

Adrian Plass: The Sacred Diary of of Adrian Plass Aged 37 3/4 (and the entire series)

Adrian Plass: Stress Family Robinson (and its sequel, The Birthday Party)

Jeff Lucas: Helen Sloane's Diary (and its sequel, Up Close and Personal)
Robinson, Marilynne: Gilead

For all other authors, just one favourite book (or series) has to represent them. But Jane Austen and Adrian Plass are special.

A bunch of biographies and other Christian non-fiction

Sheldon Vanauken: A Severe Mercy

Joni Eareckson: Joni

Corrie ten Boom: The Hiding Place

Norman Grubb: Rees Howells: Intercessor

Brother Andrew: God's Smuggler

Elisabeth Elliot: Through Gates of Splendour

J. Gunnar Olson: Business Unlimited

Nick Vujicic: Life without Limits

Eric Metaxas: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyt, Prophet, Spy

Karen Swallow Prior: Fierce Convictions

C.S. Lewis: Mere Christianity

John White: The Fight

Loren Cunningham: Making Jesus Lord

Jennifer Saake: Hannah's Hope

Tim Kimmel: Grace-Based Parenting

The last category was a hard one to select and limit. I've read so much. I tried to pick those books that meant a lot to me at the time I read them and that have stayed with me a long time after I read them; the ones I'd recommend and buy as presents to others etc. But I could have added many others, too. (And again it's not the full picture, because many influential books have been by authors whose works have not been translated into English.)

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