Thursday, July 11, 2013

Your Top Ten?

"The more that you read,
the more things you will know.
The more that you learn,
the more places you'll go."
-Dr. Seuss

My Ideal Bookshelf, edited by Thessaly La Force with art by Jane Mount holds over a hundred interviews with creative people from a variety of disciplines around the world. Each of the contributors interviewed  listed the books they would have on one small bookshelf.

The suggested categories:

  • My Favorite Book
  • the Book that Changed My Life
  • the Book I Read Again and Again
  • the Book I Love the Most
  • the Book that Made Me Who I Am
  • the Best Book I Ever Read
  • the Book that Makes Me Cry Every Time
A sample page, sort of randomly chosen
The artist designed and drew the spines of each book, creating a variety of displays, books stacked different directions, sometimes with decorative props or bookends, each shelf a colorful, interesting display in itself. 
Some of the lists are predictable: the chefs are cookbook fans, the designers hold biographies of famous designers, the professors stack up the classics in their genre. Favorite children's books are lined up with difficult philosophical works. Fiction and non-fiction, practical and fantastical, science fiction, textbooks, political and spiritual - the variety was amazing. Many of the books were not familiar to me.

I did not make a list of to-reads. Mostly, I was fascinated with their lists, looking for a glimpse into the character, the loves, the interests, the education of each person. Each facing page includes an interview. I didn't have the chance to read them all. Some couldn't define why a certain book was on their list, why they loved that book so much. Some just liked the design of the cover. Others had life-changing, life-determining events inspired by the books. 

The last page is for the reader to fill in. With pencil, because your list today may be different from next month or next year.

Okay. This is the hard part. A challenge.

Make your own list. Your ten books to put on your one small shelf.

"Your favorite favorites. A snapshot of you in a moment of time."

Here is my attempt. If you know me at all, limiting the list to just ten is tough.
  • the Bible
  • My Daily Meditation, John Henry Jowett
  • Lord, Teach Me to Pray, Kay Arthur
  • L'Abri, Edith Schaeffer
  • Winter Solstice, Rosamunde Pilcher
  • The View from Saturday, E.L. Konigsburg
  • Walking on Water, Madeleine L'Engle
  • One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp
  • Square Foot Gardening, Mel Bartholomew
  • Passionate Gardening, Lauren Springer and Rob Proctor
Okay. I did it, edited it to ten. Phew. Would be easier if I could do it by categories. Ten of each category. And this list is not written in concrete, but in pencil. These books stand the test of time, have been read many times, have made a difference in my life. Yes, there are more, but for today, this is my top ten.

What does your list look like?


  1. I'm going to have to give my Top Ten a lot of thought. Like you, the Bible will be on the top of the list. I think The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink will also be there. Hmmm.

  2. It does take a lot of thought. I went back through my list of books read, but mostly, these were from memory - ones that stand out in my mind as books with impact.
    Don't think I ever finished Attributes. Will have to add it to my list :)