I’ve Been Booked

(Sigh) As if I didn’t have enough to write about already…

Just like 7th grade, I’ve been tagged by Jason the Youth Minister, this time for my take on the following book categories:

1. One book that changed your life: C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity–nothing else comes close. It’s the main reason that I remained a Christian through a period of very intense doubt. Kudos to the Harding University Bookstore for daring to carry the work of a pipe smoking, ale-quaffing Anglican literature professor who wouldn’t have been welcome as a student or professor at that fine, teetotalling institution of higher learning.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once: I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe. I’ve read all his novels, but this one is my favorite. Required reading for anyone sending a kid to college in the near future.

3. One book that you’d want on a desert island: Sneakers: The Complete Collectors’ Guide. No explanation necessary.

4. One book that made you laugh: Portofino by Frank Schaeffer. Schaeffer, the son of famous Protestant theologian Francis, converted to Orthodoxy and caused quite a stir when he published this, the first of the Calvin Becker triology. I had to keep my inhaler by my side as I read this wheeze-inducing send-up of the goofy side of evangelicalism.

5. One book that made you cry: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. I really, really wanted Inman to live.

6. One book you wish you had written: The Lord of the Rings Triology, JRR Tolkien. High epic fantasy that tells it like it is.

7. One book that you wish had never been written: A three-way dead heat between Mein Kampf, The Communist Manifesto and My Prison Without Bars by Pete Rose

8. One book you’re currently reading: How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization by Franklin Foer. Not for everybody, but if you like real football, current affairs and political science, this one’s for you.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul by Tony Hendra. This is Spinal Tap‘s Ian Faith tells all (well, mostly) in this spiritual memoir.

10. Tag five others: (with sincerest apologies) JRB, Brady, Nancy French, Greg Fielder and Full Professor Elrod. You will not hurt my feelings if you decline. But it will make for some seriously messed-up karma.

  1. Eyegal

    Wow! You came up with those quickly! I would have had to think a lot more. Good choices though. I wish you’d written the Lord of the Rings Triology too. I’d also like to put a book on my list written by eyeguy…get to it!

  2. Mike the Eyeguy

    Be still my heart, Eyegal just left me a comment! O happy day!

    I’m adding you to my tag list even though you don’t have a blog. There’s always a guest spot available for you.

  3. Brady

    Eyegal can take my spot, if she wants. I was disappointed that Calvin and Hobbs didn’t make it on the CHANGE YOUR LIFE question…

  4. Hal

    Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll need to pick up a few of those to read.

    Tom Wolfe went to my alma mater, W&L, and I’ve never read any of his books. Since my oldest is now a sophomore in high school, I guess I should read “I am Charlotte Simmons.”

    It’s great to see a comment from Eyegal. I hope to see more.

  5. Mike the Eyeguy


    Ah, come on, if you feel that strongly about Calvin and Hobbs then “play the man” and post! πŸ™‚


    I had completely forgot you were a W&L man. Number One and I visited there a year ago and payed homage at Lee’s tomb. I left a few coins at Traveller’s grave.

    IACS is a bit disturbing, but not far off the mark (if at all). Wolfe was roundly criticized for his skewering of elite college culture, but in talking with friends who teach in some of these places, their response generally was “too close for comfort.”

  6. Scott

    Crap, now that the ending is spoiled I can take Cold Mountain off of my “to read” list.

    Thanks Mike πŸ˜€

    Mere Christianity is one of the most important books ever written, in my estimation.
    I’ll have to check out portofino

  7. Mike the Eyeguy

    Sorry Scott, I just assumed that most had seen the movie even if they hadn’t read the book. It would still be worth it for Frazier’s lyrical prose. He has a new one coming out this Fall–Thirteen Moons.

    Lewis’ MC is a touchstone for me–I’ve read it so many times that I’ve lost count. I’ve since come to hold Chesterton’s Orthodoxy in high regard as well–sort of MC on steroids.

  8. Tarwater

    It’s a shame Lewis didn’t live 5 more years and witness the Lambeth Conference of 1968. He would have swam the Tiber for sure.

    Lewis is the only non-Catholic (well maybe Karl Barth and Hamann, and maybe Kierkegaard in his own way) writer that really feels as though one were for the first time breathing fresh air. He opens up horizons and vistas in one’s mind and heart that others can’t achieve. He is bracing. He is far deeper and wider and has an intuitive theological aesthetic that is better than just about anyone in 20th century Protestant thought. He understands the role of wonder and splendor that enraptures and draws one out of self into the Beauty of Being. Someone once said that reading Lewis is like ‘being invited to a feast.’ Indeed. His erudition is remarkable. I can think of no other non-Catholic (Eliot?) who was as read in Literature and able to bring that learning to bear on the everyday Human Condition. One must turn to the great Catholics to find comparable fare.

    Chesterton is dangerous, one who reads him may follow him. Orthodoxy is a romp. His book on Aquinas is great. The Man Who Was Thursday is thrilling.

  9. Mike the Eyeguy


    Have you read C.S. Lewis and the Catholic Church by Joseph Pearce? (click here) Basically, the author draws the same conclusion–Lewis would have “gone all the way” had he lived into the late 60s.

    So if Lewis had converted, as well as Rich Mullins (who was on the verge of “crossing over” when he was tragically killed in a car accident in 1997), imagine how different the evangelical landscape might appear today. Hmmm.

    Say, what’s with the new moniker? It’s a little too close to “Tarheel” for my taste. πŸ™‚

  10. Tarwater

    Tarwater is a character in a Flannery O’Connor novel. I feel a little kin to him from time to time.

    I haven’t read Pearce’s book, but I know Lewis was as Anglo-Catholic as you can possibly be without being in Rome. I didn’t know that about Mullins, I guess his ‘monastic’ streak led him that way?

    If Lewis swam, don’t you think Americans would dismiss that part of his life as not very important? It seems like what happens with Chesterton, yes? Everyone has read Orthodoxy, who even knows he wrote The Catholic Church and Conversion?

  11. Tarwater

    BTW, this meme has been going on for weeks now. It all started on July 26 over at Faith and Theology.

  12. Mike the Eyeguy

    Oh, Ok, gotcha. I’ve read a lot of O’Connor’s short stories (I have her complete works), but never one of her novels. Typical O’Connor character name, though.

    You’re gonna love this–Mullins started down the path toward Rome after reading Orthodoxy. He apparently got so excited about the book that he bought copies and gave them to his friends over the years. I’m guessing that his conversion would have raised more eyebrows in evangelical circles than Lewis’ would have. It would have been hard to sing “Awesome God” or “Step by Step” without envisioning Rich kneeling at the altar!

  13. Nancy


    You’re making me think over here…

  14. Mike the Eyeguy

    It’s good for you, Nancy.

    Say, I wonder if your new book will make my list someday? Hopefully, but not under #7. πŸ™‚

  15. Mark elrod

    Sorry I missed being booked last week — I’ll work on this over the weekend.

  16. Mike the Eyeguy

    You’re a good sport! But don’t let it get in the way of the food and fun this weekend.

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