If I Only Had 5 Books To Read For The Rest Of My Life…

If I Only Had 5 Books To Read For The Rest Of My Life… February 22, 2023

If I only had 5 books to read for the rest of my life, they would A) be mostly fiction (given how lengthy Tolkien’s works are) and B) not include the Bible. Not that I dislike the Bible, but as a heathen reprobate son of Satan, what do you expect?

Here’s my top 5, in no particular order:

I. The Lord of the Rings

Okay, so this one is both obvious, and probably cheating. It’s not really one book but three. I take that back, it’s actually a 3-part collection with two books per part. But this is my list and I don’t want to use up all of my spots on Tolkien, though as a complete nerd, it wouldn’t be surprising, now would it?

For those who don’t know me, this book is number 1 on my list for a variety of reasons, most of which I lay out in my forthcoming book, The Wisdom of Hobbits: Unearthing Our Humanity at 3 Bagshot Row.

II. Living Buddha, Living Christ

For me, this is the greatest non-fiction book out there. It’s simple. Direct. To the point. And written with a level of empathy, compassion, and wisdom not seen enough in the world. Thich Nhat Hahn is simply the best around, and though he passed away recently, his legacy will live on as long as humans are around. That much I can be sure of.

III. The Way of Zen

I have my best friend Michael Machuga for introducing me to Alan Watts. I can’t thank him enough, as Watts’ wisdom is both complex and super practical. It’s all about the law of least effort, of letting go, of letting the water settle in order to clear the debris. Anyone who has read Watts knows what I’m talking about.

IV. The Wrinkle in Time Collection

I really like L’Engle. Though she is super famous, I don’t think she gets enough credit. Plus, it seems she was a Universalist like myself, so there’s always hope for a happy ending in both her theology and her books.

V. The Experience of God

Okay, so this one might be a surprise, simply because it’s dense and about God. But if I only have 5 books for the rest of my life, I need something that will keep my brain engaged. The other books are mainly right brain works of art. This one is a left brain exercise, which I’ll need. So, shout out to David Bentley Hart, the man, the myth, the legend.




Also, if you’ve been digging my work on here, and want to see me be able to continue writing as close to full-time as humanly possible, please take a look at my Patreon page at www.patreon.com/mjdistefano. Even $1 a month helps bigly!

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