Reason #1: To enjoy, experience and learn from a compelling story. A well told story, in print or on a screen, will grab me every time.
The Brutal Telling, Bury Your Dead, A Trick of the Light, The Cruelest Month, and A Beautiful Mystery, all Chief Inspector Gamache mysteries by Louise Penny. (Nothing like a good mystery.)
Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy
The Dove Keepers by Alice Hoffman
Gone Girl by Gilllian Flynn
The Monk Downstairs by Tim Farrington
The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick
Reason #2: To understand why a book has endured for centuries. It must have something important to say.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Reason #3: In anticipation of a good story based on an author’s previous work. This keeps me reading even when, after a couple hundred pages, I don’t really like the characters and I don’t care about the outcome.
That sums up my experience with J.K. Rowling’s A Casual Vacancy
Reason #4: To stretch the mind, the heart and the soul; to grow.
To Change the World by James Davidson Hunter
How I Changed My Mind about Women in Leadership a collection of essays
The Blue Parakeet by Scott McKnight.
The Grace Effect by Larry Taunton
On Writing by Steven King
Jesus Made in America by Stephen J. Nichols
When the Kings Come Marching In by Richard J. Mouw
Sit, Walk, Stand by Watchman Nee (This little gem of a book might also qualify in the “classics” category. If you’ve never read it, I highly recommend it.)
The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges
The Hole in the Gospel by Richard Stearns
King’s Cross by Tim Keller
Reason #5: To know the heart of God, to recognize the truth of God, and to hear the voice of God.
Each of the above reasons for reading applies to reading The Bible.
(1) It is packed with drama, mystery, complex characters, incredible plot twists, and it is a story beyond anything we could have ever imagined. In fact, much of our fiction is inspired by truths found in the Bible.
(2) It has endured for millenia and holds profound messages of cosmic truth for those who persevere in its study.
(3) It can be a challenge to keep reading, for many passages are tedious and difficult. (Sorry, but it’s true.) My analogy breaks down a bit on this one, because the Bible does not ultimately disappoint us while many books do.
(4) Your perspectives will be challenged, your heart, mind and soul expanded as you read. You will grow.
Most importantly, (5) you will know and communicate with God as you read His story and understand his crazy love for you.
This is the one book on my list every year.
What are your primary motivations for reading? What books have you read this year?