I normally try to resist these things pretty firmly, but this one I had to fall for, both because I was “tagged” by Doug Bass at [Apprehension]( http://www.douglasbass.com/blogger.html), and because of my book addiction. Books are the only kind of collecting that has ever made me happy. It’s also the only kind of materialism I truly [revel](http://www.neumatikos.org/2005/06/easton-press/) in. No man can ever have too many books. Obviously, the answers below only apply to me. Valerie will have to answer for herself.
Number of books owned – lifetime – Honestly, this is an unfair question. I never count the books I throw out to make room for new books. I only count the books I currently have. BUT. If I remember correctly, it was in the thousands before college. I’d run home and count, but they’re all in boxes and have been for months, waiting for the next big move when we get married. Let’s be conservative with a lifetime number of 3,000.
Last book I bought – [*The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945*]( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/sim-explorer/explore-items/-/1882926129/0/101/1/none/purchase/ref%3Dpd%5Fsxp%5Fr0/102-4058046-1064158) This is actually a really fascinating history book. There’s just something about watching ideas evolve that gets me right here.
Last book I read – Finished reading? *The Earthsea Trilogy*. It’s classic fantasy writing until the last book, which has some fantastic theological/philosophical applications. Currently reading? The *Foundation Trilogy*. Both were birthday presents.
Five books that mean a lot to me – Oy! What’s with the hard questions?
I’m going to opt out of listing the Bible. That’s sort of like listing Earth as one of your five favorite planets. Let me do 2 lists: fiction and non-.
#### Fiction ####
A truly great work of fiction is hard to come by. Light, enjoyable fiction is easy, but something that pulls you back like an old friend is very rare. Here are my best five:
* [*Emma*]( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0553212737/qid=1120143885/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/102-4058046-1064158), by Jane Austen. I read this book and came to the realization that I’d been consistently dating the wrong sort of girl. Immediately following, I started seeing the girl I’m about to marry. No joke.
* [*Till We Have Faces*]( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0156904365/qid=1120143981/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/102-4058046-1064158), by C.S. Lewis. One of the best fiction books on how to be a Christian I have ever read. Ditto for
* [*Hinds Feet on High Places*]( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0842314296/qid=1120144012/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/102-4058046-1064158), by Hannah Hurnard. One gives a vivid description of the heart change necessary to *become* a Christian, the other gives the best picture of what *growing* in the faith is like.
* [*The Changed Man*]( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0812533658/qid=1120144200/sr=2-2/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_2/102-4058046-1064158), by Orson Scott Card. Ok. I cheated on this one. It’s not a book, it’s the title story in a collection of short stories. Beyond any doubt, this is the most powerful short story I have ever read. In 20 pages, I learned who I was, what I was doing wrong with my life, and how NOT to fix it. I was *terrified*.
* [*The Final Quest*]( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0883684780/qid=1120144852/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/102-4058046-1064158), by Rick Joyner. Man, I still don’t know what to do with this book. When I first read it, I was convinced that the doctrine of the closed canon was wrong. I came down quickly from there, and now when I read it, I can detect some of the human elements in the story, but it’s still a very powerful picture of the modern Chrstian’s spiritual purpose.
#### Non-Fiction ####
Non-fiction is a new experience for me. When I was growing up, “non-fiction” meant news and encyclopedia articles, neither of which really appealed to me. History was the book length version of the front page of expired newspapers: dry, brittle, frail. Then I discovered something akin to philosophy. Now I can’t get enough of the stuff. Some favorites:
* *[The Way the World Works]( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0895263440/qid=1120144963/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/102-4058046-1064158)*, by Jude Wynnasokki. This was probably the first book I ever read that presented non-fiction ideas as combative and slightly invigorating. It’s the best introduction to economics I can imagine, even if you don’t agree with his position. In fact, I’d love to hear this book used as a text in an economics class, with a professor who profoundly disagrees with him. Wyannasokki was an investigative reporter in the mid-70’s who decided to get a firm grip on economics, since everything seemed to hinge on it those days. So he started researching economics like it was a Watergate scandal. Wow, what a fight!
* *[Nichomachean Ethics]( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0879753781/qid=1120149161/sr=2-2/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_2/102-4058046-1064158)*, by Aristotle. Sounds scary huh? Well, it actually is, because Aristotle didn’t write it. He lectured it, and his students published their compiled notes. And apparently they were really good notetakers, because they recorded every apostrophy for posterity. Nevertheless, he has some fascinating ideas: He considers right and wrong the way a medical doctor would consider health. Just as it can be determined from the world God put us in what parameters we have for a healthy life (even though all of us are usually sick at least a little), we can look at human nature and determine the parameters for a “good” life, even though all of us are evil. Remember it was written before Jesus, and ask yourself if Aristotle would have been a Christian.
* [*Gospel and Law: Contrast or Continuum?*](http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0960263810/qid=1120140434/sr=8-2/ref=pd_bbs_2/102-4058046-1064158?v=glance&s=books&n=507846), by Daniel Fuller. Fuller was John Piper’s professor Hermeneutics in Seminary, if that means anything to you. Did for me in theology what Wyannosokki did for me in economics.
And since I seem to be pivoting around theology and economics, I’ll list last two books I haven’t read yet. I’m waiting to get them in a modern English Translation:
* *[The Institutes of Christianity]( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0664220282/qid=1120166297/sr=8-2/ref=pd_bbs_2/102-4058046-1064158?v=glance&s=books&n=507846)*, By John Calvin, and
* *[The Wealth of Nations]( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0679424733/qid=1120166470/sr=8-2/ref=pd_bbs_2/102-4058046-1064158?v=glance&s=books&n=507846)*, By Adam Smith.
Oh, who shall I tag? I tag family…
My [mom]( http://mingobird.blogspot.com/) (and dad), my [sister]( http://on-fragile-wings.blogspot.com/), my Fiancé, and how about my father-in-law-to-be? (If you don’t have a web site, I say you should post in the comments below.