In 25 Books Every Christian Should Read (2011) editor Julia L. Roller presents us with much information. With each chapter a brief background is given about its author. What follows after is a summary of each book's major themes.
To help readers, there is a guidance and some reading strategies. What is included is key excerpts that have been selected from each. At the end of a chapter there is a study guide with questions.
It was recognized that the Bible cannot be supplanted as a premiere text of study and devotion, so it was not included as one of the books in the text. Excluded too were the works of all living authors. The book compiles a reflection of saints, poets and thinkers over 2,000 years.
It provides us with much profound thinking about our faith. It showcases the real cost of following Christ and is a call for discipleship. It gives food to the contemplative.
There are many benefits from reading such a work. It will lead to a renewal of the soul. Within a reader a spiritual passion will be kindled and their will be a transformation of his life. This material is challenging and should be read and reread. For there will develop an intimacy with Jesus Christ and a lifelong quest for thought and reflection.
Of the 25 entries eight stand out for this reviewer Confessions St. Augustine was noted as the first Christian spiritual autobiography; The Imitation of Christ Thomas a Kempis offers much instruction about Christian living; Dark Night of the Soul St. John of the Cross comments about the journey of purification; The Cost of Discipleship Dietrich Bonhoeffer expands on submitting to the yoke of Christ; Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis puts controversies of the moment in proper perspective; and in The Return of the Prodigal Son Henri J.M. Nouwen gives the reader an affirmation of love.
The selected 25 books are not a list of the best Christian classics. They were however presented chronologically. These works represent various literary genres from poetry, fiction, biography and others. The authors dig deep in their subject matter and its content is not superficial. Many of these works are available free on the website of Christian Classics Ethereal Library (www.ccel.org)
A reader's quest may be seen more in terms of spiritual formation rather than that of mere information seeking. This book itself will be most beneficial for readers in small groups.