One Sunday many years ago, when I was shaking hands with people leaving church after the service, a woman said to me, "I read a book." I smiled and waited for her to tell me which book she had read or what she had gotten from it, and she could tell I didn't really understand the importance of her statement. "No," she said, "I read a BOOK." And again, as I raised my eyebrows in delight, "I read a book all the way through."
Think about what that must feel like, to tell someone who had read a hundred or two hundred books a year for most of her life, "I read a book." The woman was ecstatic. She was deservedly proud of herself, a school dropout who could now call herself a reader.
She wanted me to know because she had joined my Bible study class only after she was sure I didn't call on people to answer tough questions or ask class members to read aloud. She had quit going to Sunday school because that teacher DID have people read out loud, one after another. If you've ever tried to say some Bible names, you can imagine how daunting that could be for a non-reader. Because I made studying "safe," she had started reading and had now completed a whole book. It was a glorious day.
I don't remember if she ever told me the title of the book, but today I'm thinking about all the lists we book bloggers run across. On a web site for teachers, I found a Lifetime Reading List. There were 91 books on their list, which seems like an odd number. And I started wondering whether there are any books I think we should read.
So tell me, is there a book you think everyone ought to read before they die? Why that book?