- Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe â€“ I freaked out when Crusoe saw the footprint! I loved how he took me on the journey with him.
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding â€“ I love how the suspense builds and how it portrays the true nature of our lost souls. I see myself in several of the characters. I have also wondered how I would fare on a desert island.
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne â€“ Pearl is a child who has to live in the world of her motherâ€™s decisions have made for her. Itâ€™s a picture of how we all should be wearing a scarlet letter but just were never caught in the act. It is a picture of a world where there is no compassion even though it is but deeply rooted in religion. A must read for anyone who is a leader in a church.
- Uncle Tomâ€™s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe â€“ Itâ€™s interesting to compare this pre-Civil War book with the next (To Kill a Mocking Bird) in how black and white Southerners work through racial issues. As a southern white male I was able to immerse myself in these novels. They opened my mind and helped me to understand some struggles with this topic in my own life.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee â€“ I enjoyed seeing a man fight a fight he was doomed to lose, but he fought it anyway. I also love how the allegory (or metaphor?) of the mockingbird is shown at the end of the book. It also is a picture of injustice and justice and how it plays out in a community. People are people wherever you go.
- The Odyssey by Homer â€“ When Odysseus strings the bronze bow, shoots the arrow through the holes, and then the doors close on the hall â€“ I loved it!
- Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmond Rostand â€“ I wish I had that kind of quick whit and sharp mind, and was a true romantic. I am none of these but I admire the characteristics in Cyrano.
- Fahrenhet 451 by Ray Bradbury â€“ I love the idea of one man memorizing an entire book and being the depository and guardian of that idea. We should always guard the freedom to think new ideas and explore creativity. Bradbury warns of mindless chatter on television and the ideas found in books.
** 1984 and A Brave New World are in this same genre and are great books as well, only much darker.
- The Pearl by John Steinbeck â€“ A story of how a desperately poor family handles sudden riches. Riches do not bring happiness.
- Animal Farm by George Orwell â€“ â€œAll animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.â€ What happens when power is allowed to go unchecked â€“ itâ€™s end result is always the same.
Ok just one more.
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain â€“ I love Twain’s works and his brilliant use of words and whit. He has a way of describing events and characters that are truly enjoyable. The painting of the fence is my favorite scene and helped to develop my understanding of leadership.
*** Please note that I am a Southern Baptist Pastor who has been in ministry close to twenty years â€“ so yes the Bible is the best book ever written. However, I do not put it in such a category because it stands so far above the rest.
Do you have a favorite that is not on my list? Let me know and I’ll put it on my reading list.