Growing up in church, I’ve always heard the Bible given promotional tag lines to make it sound more appealing to non-readers– “It’s the best-selling book of all time” and “You need your basic instructions before leaving earth”. I’m fairly certain that these statements only appeal to people who already love the Bible. Then again, I love the Bible and I disdain reducing the Word of God to a P.R. campaign.
Yet the Bible is the top choice for people across demographics according to the results of a recent Reuters study (read article). While I enjoy other books on the list of the 10 books Americans love most, I have to say that I’m pleasantly surprised the Bible is numero uno. When asked the question, “What is your favorite book?” I generally answer, “Philip Yancey’s The Jesus I Never Knew, Henri Nouwen’s The Inner Voice of Love, and the Harry Potter books.” I used to say the Bible when I was in high school, but it seemed so cliche. Of course I love the Bible, I reasoned, I’m a Christians and all Christians love the Bible.
Not only do Christians love the Bibles, lots of people do–for its rich history of the Jews, its moral lessons, and the enigmatic figure of Jesus Christ. Full of narrative, poetry, history, and theology, is it any wonder that the Bible fascinates so many?
Yet I realize that the Bible really is my favorite book. When I feel hopeless, I turn to Psalm 46. As part of my discipline as a Christian, I read the Bible to hear from God. I look for answers to questions (and end up with more questions. When I misplace my Bible (it usually falls under my chair or bed), I feel panicked. I need my Bible with my notes, my highlights, and my familiar cover which I decorated with pictures using clear mailing tape. I take it on trips with me and hold it over my heart when my eyes are too full of tears to read. No book has ever provided as much comfort for me as the Bible. It’s a power that far transcends the book as it is the living, inerrant Word of God, the breath of life, the one thing that is true.
Here’s America’s Top 10:
1. The Bible
2. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (I could never get into it.)
3. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (Love ’em! Especially the fact that the characters break out into random song so much, which is sadly downplayed in the movies.)
4. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (America’s got taste!)
5. The Stand by Stephen King (King’s a genius, but I’ve not read this book. I do like the purple raven on the cover though. Read about my fascination with ravens.)
6. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (I could not get into this book at all!)
7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (On my must-read list)
8. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown (Not going to bother)
9. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (never even heard of it)
10. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (Love it!)
Naturally, I know that you are all dying to know why my Top 10 favorite books are…
2. The Jesus I Never Know by Philip Yancey
3. The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen
4. Harry Potter books
5. Dangerous Wonder by Mike Yaconelli
6. Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis-Higgs
7. Gnomes by Will Huygen
8. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
9. Bunnicula series by James Howe
10. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Honorable Mentions: Captivating by John & Stasi Elderedge, Jesusland by Julia Scheeres, Sex God by Rob Bell, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Til We Have Faces& A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis, Under the Overpass by Mike Yankonski, Wicked by Gregory Maguire, Where is the Mango Princess? By Kathy Crimmins, LIfe: The Movie by Neal Gabler
So what books do you love from America’s Top 10 or My Top 10?