That is, according to a book recently published by Harper under the auspices of Renovare, the evangelical-ish spiritual renewal movement. (Actually, since this book has the list, aren’t there 26 books every Christian should read? Seems like some sort of paradox there…)
In any event, here’s the list, with titles I’ve read in bold. An asterisk means I’ve read at least selections.
1. On the Incarnation, St. Athanasius
2. Confessions, St. Augustine
3. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, Various
4. The Rule of St. Benedict, St. Benedict
5. The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri*
6. The Cloud of Unknowing, Anonymous
7. Revelations of Divine Love (Showings), Julian of Norwich
8. The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis
9. The Philokalia, Various
10. Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin*
11. The Interior Castle, St. Teresa of Avila
12. Dark Night of the Soul, St. John of the Cross
13. Pensees, Blaise Pascal
14. The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan
15. The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence
16. A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, William Law
17. The Way of a Pilgrim, Unknown Author
18. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky
19. Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton
20. The Poetry of Gerald Manley Hopkins*
21. The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer
22. A Testament of Devotion, Thomas R. Kelly
23. The Seven Storey Mountain, Thomas Merton
24. Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis
25. The Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri J.M. Nouwen
Of the ones I haven’t read, I most feel like I should read Benedict and Julian. One glaring omission that jumps out at me is Martin Luther. If I were adding something it would probably be his On Christian Liberty.
Anyone care to suggest other titles they’d add to (or subtract from) the list?
UPDATE: Tony Jones offers an alternative list he and some friends came up with here. It includes some good additions like Origen, Anselm, Wesley, and Luther, as well as some worthy books from more recent times (Barth, Gutierrez).