Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Book Lists

MataH tagged me for the latest book meme. Although the questions ask for one book to be identified in each category, I find that restriction not only impossible, but unrealistic. So, I'm going to change the question to two books, which to me is the bare minimum in any situation:

1. Two books that changed your life.

The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan Watts.

I read this as a young man before going to college. It was a relief to find someone else grappling with some of the paradoxes of life. It reassured me that I might not be insane after all!

I discovered the next transformative book as I was completing my undergraduate studies and a few people had started talking to me about seminary. Most of the volumes I found regarding the priesthood were Roman Catholic, and simply did not resonate with me. Then I stumbled across this treasure:

Ministry and Imagination by Urban T. Holmes. If you are considering a vocation to holy orders, I strongly recommend this book. It is a bit theoretical in parts, but the chapters that address the many facets of the priesthood are worth slogging through the sections that focus on Holmes' rather complex system. I've referred to his definition of the priest as a "mana person" in a previous entry.

2. Two books that you have read more than once.

The Christian Priest Today by Michael Ramsey.

This small volume can easily be read in one day. I try to read it at least once a year. It is very helpful in reflecting on priorities. One of the definitions of a priest that Abp. Ramsey offers is "a priest is a person of prayer, with the people of God on their heart."

The Passion of the Western Mind by Richard Tarnas.

This is a large volume, which I refer to often, as it is the best compliation of Western ideas presented in an understandable format that I have ever encountered. There is an excerpt from Tarnas in this post.

3. Two books you'd want on a desert island.

I'm afraid that my answer to this will be a bit predictable: The Book of Common Prayer and the Bible. Actually, I could get away with one volume for this category, as the two resources have been fused. I do want to mention that I've listed these two by priorites; the Prayer Book would be my first choice. It is 2/3 scripture. That's why so many Episcopalians are so fond of the bible, btw: it contains so much Prayer Book! Why would the Prayer Book be my first choice? If I was stranded on a desert island, I would need the Daily Office as a constant reminder that we are never alone.

4. Two books that made you laugh.

I'll just list the most recent ones I've read:

Thud! by Terry Pratchet.

Skin Tight by Carl Hiaasen.

5. One book that made me cry (I'm sticking to one here...avoiding becoming too depressed).

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt.

6. Two books that you wish had been written.

Pay Attention to the Money
Sometimes Victimhood is a Matter of Perspective

7. Two books that you wish had not been written.

Anything by Aleister Crowley, including those penned during his sane years. He has too darkly tainted all metaphysical studies.

The Anarchist's Handbook. A popular volume when I was young. It offered way too much information on topics that I probably would have been better off never knowing.

8. Two books that you're currently reading.

Other Voices, Other Worlds: The Global Church Speaks Out on Homosexuality by Terry Brown (editor).

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

9. One book you've been meaning to read.

The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions by Karen Armstrong.

Now, who to tag?

Demi (hello, my dear!)





And anyone else who wants to talk about books. If you don't have a blog, feel free to use the comments.


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