Reading Sticky Books

books

No, not children’s books that have been handled by little sticky fingers.

A sticky book is a book that you’ve read that sticks with you – even changes you – no matter how long ago you read it.

Over the weekend, I was reminded on two separate occasions how good books stick with you.

First, I was reading an interview with a scientist who recently published his latest book. In the interview, he referred to at least three books that he read in the 1950′s and early 1960′s that helped determine his scientific thought. I found it interesting that books that he read over 50 years ago still influence him today.

The second occasion was the message by Steve Davis in last Sunday’s services at TrueNorth. He’s teaching a series called “Who Do You Think You Are?” – a string of messages helping us identify who we are in God’s eyes. One of Steve’s primary resources for this series (besides the Bible, of course) is a book written over 20 years ago titled, The Search for Significance by Robert McGee.

The Search for Significance is easily in my top ten list of best books of all time. I remember reading it in the mid-1990′s. It made a big impact on how I think about myself, my relationship with others, and my relationship with God.

Steve shared with us one of the key statements in that book. “I am deeply loved, fully pleasing, totally forgiven, accepted, and complete in Christ.”

I wrote that sentence in red ink on an index card and laid it prominently on the dashboard of my car for a long time after I read The Search for Significance.

So, I was reminded in those two ways how important reading good books can be. As I sit here on my living room couch staring at the bookcase in front of me, I can look at specific books that I’ve read and recall the big “take aways” from each one.

Sticky books have given me:

  • Foundational truths that have stuck with me for many, many years.
  • “Aha!” statements that truly changed the way I think about myself and others.
  • Memorable stories that illustrate a point.
  • New revelations that set the course for my future.
  • Solid teaching that laid the groundwork for years to come.
  • Inspiration when I needed a shot in the arm.

This is one reason why reading can be addicting. Once you’ve read a book that transforms the way you think, you can’t wait to dive into another one to see what else there is to learn about yourself and the world around you. Of course, there will be some duds. But the adventure of reading is discovering new thoughts, new paradigms, and new angles that stick with you.

Have you read anything sticky lately?

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2 Responses to “Reading Sticky Books”

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  1. Amy says:

    That is really true. There are many books that have been sticky books for me, some read long ago. It seems to be that sometimes it is something within the book that just makes sense or the overall push of the book, either way, it does propel me to keep reading.
    John Piper has a great quote, “Books don’t change people; paragraphs do, Sometimes even sentences.” (from “A Godward Life: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life” which I did not read). I think there is a lot of truth in that as you mentioned in your post!
    Blessings to you, Gene!

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