I love books. Some are my friends. So when I was asked to compile a list of my five favorite books for Golden Gate’s Pacific Northwest Campus I enjoyed thinking back over my favorites of the last 30 years. I could have gone further back, to The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, which I read in the 8th grade and dearly loved. But I decided to stick with books read in adulthood. It was difficult to keep it to five, but I kind of fudged. Here they are:
1. The Autobiography of John Paton. Paton was a missionary to the New Hebrides Islands in the latter half of the 19th century. Amazing story and well written. When people speak about the danger of cannibals to early missionaries, John Paton is often referenced. And when you think of stories in which entire peoples repented and came to Christ, you again can think of Paton.
2. Freedom at Midnight, Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. It was hard to choose between this and O’ Jerusalem by the same authors. The first is the story of India’s independence from Great Britain. The second is the story of the founding of modern Israel. I love all of Lapierre’s books, including City of Joy, about the poorest slum in Calcutta (there, I mentioned 3 books in one slot!)
3. South, Ernest Shackleton. The story of Shackleton’s ship getting crushed in the Antarctic ice around 1914 to 1916, and how he led all 28 men so that each survived. There is also an excellent book about this same event written by Lansing named The Endurance. Here’s a quote: “For scientific genius leadership, you want Scott; for swift and efficient travel, Amundsen; but when you are in a hopeless situation, when there seems no way out, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton.” You’ve got to love that!
4. Undaunted Courage, Stephen Ambrose. What’s not to love about the Lewis and Clark expedition, especially in the Northwest. We live within a mile of the Lewis and Clark trail. When they camped a few miles from where our house is, Clark wrote that they had trouble sleeping because the frogs and birds kept them awake. They still keep us awake more than 200 years later!
5. Safely Home, Randy Alcorn. Who will be the final martyr before Jesus returns? Read this book about the persecution of Chinese house church leaders and find out. Oh, and make sure you have some Kleenex close by. It’s one of the most emotionally powerful books I’ve ever read, and extremely well written.
There you have my list. What books would add to it? Some additional authors I would mention include the historian David McCullough – love his books. Also Simon Winchester, Philip Jenkins and Rodney Stark. If you like to read sermons (and who doesn’t!) try James S. Stewart, the Scottish master.
Okay, that’s enough for now. But don’t overlook the Journals of David Livingston or the African adventures of Henry Stanley, or ……