I've been not writing for awhile now. I may come back. I imagine no one is reading. But I've got to finish this little book list project off with my top 5 auto-biographical works. This is tough to do because the line can be fuzzy between autobiography and non-fiction, which is why books like Orthodoxy and Tinker Creek which could have been included here are actually on one of my other lists. Also, this is where it can have less to do with the writing and more to do with the person so it can be little more than a list of heros or personal influences. However, as you'll see, there can be more to it than that.
5. Green, Melody - No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green
I didn't read this because I'm a particular fan of Keith Green's piano-tinkling, although I like some of his church songs and appreciate his lyrics. Nor did I read this because of any sort of familiarity with the ongoing ministry led by his wife. But I heard this guy was a radical and a good guy and wanted to know the story. And its a story worth reading, not only for the radical aspect of his life and faith, but also for the maturing process of his later years. It would seem Keith Green died too young. But its one of those mysteries I guess. I wonder what he'd be saying and doing if he were alive today. You can't read this book and not be challenged.
4. Pearce, Joseph - Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of GK Chesterton
You probably wouldn't enjoy this unless you were interested in the man who is Gilbert Keith Chesterton. But there is lots about him that is relevant to today and I found this a thoroughly enjoyable picture of a very unique character whose genius and eccentricity can often overshadow the truly inspiring humility and joy at the core of his being. He seems like he's a guy everyone would be better off for having known. Since we can't go back to the 30s, I highly recommend curling up on a couch and getting to know him through the pages of this book.
3. Lewis, CS - A Grief Observed
This isn't a life story, but a very personal snapshot of a colossal Christian figure during a very tough time in his life. It is his journal from the months after the death of his wife. It is so personal and so filled with questioning and lament that you almost feel guilty reading it. But it is more than just sentimental gut-spilling. It is thoughtful and ponderous and in the end very wise.
You feel for the man and you appreciate life. You also lament death, ask questions of God, and feel like it is okay to do so. And in the end you get the sense that even though God never speaks in the book, you are better equipped to dialogue with him in suffering, and even over time to hear his voice.
2. Dallaire, Romeo - Shake Hands With the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda
Another situational account from an incredible experience in this man's life. I've actually written a review of this book somewhere else on this blog, but let me just say if you've ever wondered if there are any Canadian heros, or if you have ever wanted to better understand the UN, or have ever wondered what's going on in Africa, or even want a fuller perspective on the role of the military, or want a dose of reality ... pick this book up and read it. It won't take long. I won't say I enjoyed it, but I couldn't put it down.
1. Yancey, Philip - Soul Survivor: How My Faith Survived the Church
This challenges my top two non-fiction book as perhaps the most impactful book I've ever taken in. I was originally turned off by the title because I don't really go in for church-bashing like I used to be, but it really isn't like that. It is an honest account of a thoughtful man's experience wading through church crap to find the gold that is still there by the grace of Christ. He doesn't take credit for it, but points to the positive examples in Christianity who were for him shining lights in a time when he really needed them. I think we still really need them, and while I encourage us all to look for them in our current context (and better yet to be them), it is incredibly beneficial to have their legacy live on through the printed page. Obviously I'm a big proponent of reading as a primary way of growing, and so I offer my book lists, and this book in particular to all those who read and are always on the lookout for good stuff, but also to those who don't read much and are totally missing out.