After giving away a few thousands books–dealing with the ministry, history, cartooning, and a hundred other subjects–I’ve pared down my collection to a stark 500 or so. And, painful though it is, I’m still trying to shrink that number.
Adrian Rogers stood in my pastor’s study once, perusing the titles on the shelves. “I’m a book-aholic,” he said. “I cannot throw a book away.” He paused and said, “I even have ‘None Dare Call it Treason,'” perhaps the worst book of the 20th century. Well, it is if we rule out Mein Kampf, and I’m in favor of ruling that one out forever.
Some books are such keepers, they are practically enshrined on my shelves. They had something–a chapter, a story, a paragraph, a line, a fact–that left an indelible imprint on my soul, and are as dear to me as it’s possible for an inanimate object to be. I keep Jeff Christopherson’s “Kingdom Matrix” just because of the story he tells of his parents.
Two or three are books I read in elementary school and never forgot. So, when I stumbled across them in old, used bookstores, I had to have them. A few are Bible commentaries, but most are not. Some are history books, my major field of study in college and seminary. Three of them tell the same story, basically, of the life of one of the 20th century’s most fascinating characters, Mitsuo Fuchida, who led the Japanese bombing raid on Pearl Harbor in 1941, triggering U.S. involvement in the Second World War. Later, he was converted to Christ and spent the last quarter-century of his life spreading the Gospel across the globe. The most fascinating aspect of his never boring story is how the Lord reached him. Two of the books are biographies of Fuchida and one is his own account of his life.
An entire bookcase is devoted to books dealing with World War 2. Two of them, sitting side by side, deal with incidents in 1940, arguably the most dramatic year of the century (due to the Nazi invasion of the low countries, the coming to power of Winston Churchill, the bombing of Britain, and all the hemming and hawing going on in this country as America tried to figure out what to do, what to do). 1940 was the year both my wife and I arrived on the planet, so that might figure into the choice, but I doubt.