I’m putting together a book list. Titles I’ve read that I can recommend to my kids or to anyone. I got the idea after listening to a Tim Ferris podcast interviewing Jordan Peterson during which he mentions Peterson’s list on his website. It is a fantastic list of 100 books.
I copied the list into Evernote, reformatted it to add a checkbox, and went through to see how many I’ve read. So far, I’ve read twenty-eight of Peterson’s recommended books. His is weighted heavily to volumes by Freud and Jung. Understandably, since he spent years as a clinical psychologist. I’ve never read entire books by either psychoanalyst, but I’m familiar with their work and ideas. I will read their books. I’ll read the remaining seventy-two on the list over the next several years, God willing. Peterson said, there’s a whole education in there. So true.
A couple of his titles are by Dostoevsky and Hemingway. Two of my favorites, though they couldn’t be more different stylistically. Their works are on my list, too. With an extra two Hemingway’s that Peterson didn’t include on his.
In looking at my incomplete list, standing now at some 40 titles that off the top of my head I deem to have had the most impact on my life, I’m struck by how many are works of fiction. There are two non-fiction works that have wrought change in my systems of thinking and emotional awareness, but the bulk of the really life-altering books I’ve read are works of fiction.
Great writers can capture truth and the essence of life or some aspect of existence so wonderfully, that it grafts into the reader. Some character, or some scene can make you see the world in an entirely new, more complete way. And that’s good.
I have a heartache already that I will not be able to read all of the truly great books I wish to read, but I’m gonna go for it for sure. What’s on your own list?