Sunday, November 16, 2008

Top Five Books

My girlfriend at work brings her Oprah magazines in for all of us to read.  There are a couple sections in them that I like a lot.  Each month, she features a guest who lists his/her top 5 books which have changed their life in some way.  It made me think about what mine are so, here goes:  
I found this one at the library about 5 years ago.  I love free books...to borrow that is.  I used to go to the library when I wanted to know more about something.  I'd pick out some books that sounded like they would do the job.  When I found this one, I was wanting to learn about the history of Jesus Christ.  I grew up Christian, but I didn't know hardly anything about Jesus himself.  I wanted to know what historians had written about him.  This book covers his life as recorded by the few historians of that time as well as the lives of the people around him.  The book goes into the history of the parts of the world that effected Jesus Christ.  I learned more about Jesus Christ in this book than I learned in my entire upbringing in Christianity.  It's a great book.
I was so lucky enough to live with my grandparents for the majority of my undergrad years. They have about a million books lining the walls like wallpaper. When I wanted to read something good, I would pick one out. I had been wanting to read something non-fiction from CS Lewis and stumbled accross this small book among the many. I loved the way it was written analytically. I can just imagine him at his type writer, typing every thought as it entered his head. The whole short book is about his wife's dealth and his feelings about the loss of life and about God. His writing is tangential and I love the way he thinks and doubts and we get to read about it.
Studs Terkel is one of my favorite authors and he has recently passed away. He lived a full life though. I first was introduced to him in a Social History class in college.  I dreaded taking History, but as soon as we were assigned our first book, I was hooked.  This book completely made me fall in love with history. Terkel accumulates oral histories from certain eras and the end result is a diverse wealth of knowledge from that time. This one in particular covers poeples memories of WWII including women entering the work force, people who had witnessed Pearl Harbor, African American soldiers and I remember specifically the white European soldiers' dismay at how the US treated even their black military at that time. It's so well put together and it really makes you consider all aspects of that time.

I love the Dalai Lama. I actually have a few books written by him. This one is co-authored by a psychologist who meets with the Dalai Lama a bunch of times, asks him questions, and reflects on the responses and how the Dalai Lama lives. I love the simplicity of the Dalai Lama's philosophy and way of life. His practices seem like they would be obvious, but actually reading them in this book helped them to sink in on a deeper level for me. Most importantly, having compassion instead of hatred or anger for someone who has done you wrong of even if you feel you were handed a raw deal in life. The information in this book really helped me feel at peace with a lot of issues in my life.
Can I put a workout book on my list? I read this book about 8 years ago. I read a lot of health/fitness/nutrition books. It's funny because my aunt does too and we end up sharing our information usually on the latest nutrition trends. But of all the books like this I have read, this one is the best. I have lost weight and felt great on certain workout regimes and the one he outlines is just the standard for the best workout. The nutrition section is simple and not rigid. And...there's lots of before and after photos that totally get you pumped up to get in shape. One tip in the book, I know has worked for me in the past, is to work out in the morning before eating a huge meal and the importance of stretching.

2 comments:

Karen said...

I really enjoyed this post, Chelsea. It helps me know you better and may inspire me to read more. Very good writing too.

lauren said...

good post, now come visit me more