I am 39 years old.  It’s not forty, but it’s close.  For a while it was just hazy peaks in some far off land.  But I am at the foot of them now. And as I climb to the cliffs of midlife, I have been pondering the man I am and the man I want to be.  This evaluation has led to a challenge of sorts. As I walk to forty years of age, I want to read the forty books that have made me who I am.  


Forty years.  Four decades. To be fair to the passage of time I am reading 10 books from every decade.  From youth, adolescence, adulthood, and whatever the crap they call our thirties. I have one year to read these forty books.  Here they are, grouped by their decades.  

I will be releasing reviews on each book and reflecting on its place in my life.  The ones from childhood should be pretty funny.   

0-10 (Childhood)

  • Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J Sobol
  • The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  • The Great Brain by John D Fitzgerald
  • Tales of a fourth grade nothing by Judy Blume
  • Where the sidewalk ends by Shel Silverstein
  • Scary Stories to tell in the dark by Alvin Schwartz
  • X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills by Chris Claremont
  • The Death of Captain Marvel by Jim Starlin
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak 

11-20 (Middle and High School)

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

The Stand by Stephen King

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

The New Testament

Mere Christianity by CS Lewis

More Than a Carpenter by James MacDonald

God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew

Home by Rich Mullins


21-30 (College and The Beginning of Life)

  1. The Brothers Karamasav by Fyodor Dosteovsky

  2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

  3. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

  4. Brave New World by Aldoux Huxley

  5. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

  6. The Old Testament

  7. The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee

  8. The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

  9. The God Who is There by Francis Schaefer

  10. Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton


31-40 (Marriage, Ministry, The Raising of Children) 

  1. The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson

  2. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay by Michael Chabon

  3. Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

  4. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

  5. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

  6. Unapologetic by Francis Spufford

  7. The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard

  8. In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen

  9. Just As I Am by Billy Graham

  10. Investing with Purpose by Mark Aardsma

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