Movies and Books

Top 10 Books

I am reminded by the folk at America’s best magazine, Touchstone, that C.S. Lewis published a famous “top ten list” of the books which most influenced his life. I am not listing the best books or the books that impact me now, but the books that have influenced the course of my life. To make the top ten list (or the close 20) is to have read the book more than five times, carefully, and not for work. The top ten list must have influenced my life for more than five of my forty years. Books in the top ten list should still be meaningful, thus giving some slight preference to the grown up me.

1. The Bible

I don’t remember a time when the stories of this book were not being read to me and I read it every day. My parents raised me in an atmosphere super-saturated with this Book of Books.

2. That Hideous Strength (C.S. Lewis)

Torrey is based on the image of Saint Anne’s in this book. This is the truest account of the state of the West written in the last one hundred years.

3. Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien)

I have read this book every year of my life since seventh grade. Even the smallest hobbit can do great things for God.

4. Republic (Plato)

The two years spent with this book and Al Geier were the most academically productive of my life. Since then, I have come to find almost every truth needed in the pages of this book, saving only the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

5. Nicholas and Alexandra (Massie)

This book seized my imagination and shaped my view of politics forever.

6. A Severe Mercy (Vanauken)

My favorite book on love, marriage, and the problem of pain.

7. Chronicles of Narnia (Lewis)

I still hope the elevator in Sutherland will open to Narnia someday.

8. Divine Comedy (Dante)

The most influential book of the last four years of my life.

9. Timaeus (Plato)

This is the first and last word on science for me.

10. Reason in the Balance (Johnson)

The book that still shapes the educational experience at Torrey.


Top 5 Movies

1. Passion of Joan of Arc
2. Anything by Andrei Tarkovsky
3. It’s a Wonderful Life
4. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
5. Sense and Sensibility