Writing this article was spiritually dangerous for me, for underlying such a task was the subtle but persistent temptation to impress rather than to help. (And I am not at all sure I have successfully avoided that temptation.)
When, however, I realized the assignment was not actually to list "My Choice of Books" but to honestly record the books that have profoundly influenced my life, the temptation lost its power, for while I wish I could tell you how deeply influenced I was as a child by reading Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, Shakespeare and Milton, such was not the case. So I will share simply something of the pilgrimage of my mind and soul.
Soon after my conversion as a teenager, I was particularly drawn to the Book of Romans, which I studied for two years. I read the rest of the Bible too, but always I came back to Romans. Why? I'm not sure except that a youth pastor encouraged me. It wasn't stuffy and academic to me as it was to some—to the contrary, every verse seemed to throb with ...1