Building (and Rebuilding) Your Library

About a week or so ago, Nathan Harbottle asked me a great question on Twitter:

If you had to start your personal library over, what would be your first 3 purchases?

Interestingly enough, this something I’ve had to do before. When I first started my library, it was books by Rob Bell, Erwin McManus and I think one book by Craig Groeschel. (I even had a copy of Wild at Heart. I never read beyond chapter 3.)

It was not a terribly robust library, nor was it terribly deep.

Then, for some reason, I decided to get a copy of 18 Words by J.I. Packer, and it rocked my socks. It also set me on a path to building what I think is becoming a fairly well-rounded, theologically sound library.

So, back to Nate’s question. What three books would be my first purchases if I were starting over again?

Aside from a good study Bible (I profiled a few here in the “Get Serious About Your Studies” series), I’d recommend getting the following books to start off:

The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul (Cover)

The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul

Why? In The Holiness of God, Sproul helps believers gain a better grasp of this all-too-often neglected attribute of God. Sproul is a master at communicating complex subjects in a way that is completely understandable for the average layperson and encouraging a deeper passion for the Lord in his readers.

Knowing God by J.I. Packer

Why? Knowing God is one of the first books I ever read that left me in awe. Packer’s insights into the central pursuit of the Christian life—not simply knowing things about God, but knowing God intimately—are a great gift to believers.

Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know by Wayne Grudem

Why? In Christian Beliefs, Grudem addresses 20 essential doctrines of the Christian faith in a way that is clear and accessible. It also includes chapter review questions that are perfect for private reflection or group study. This is a book that I wish I had had the day after I got saved. Seriously.

As an immediate fourth pick, I’d also recommend getting a copy of Knowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul. It’s packed with great principles on how to study the Bible in a way that will keep you from winding up in some pretty scary places theologically.

What three books would you recommend?

Discovering a Solution to My Organizational Nightmare!

The other day, I was lamenting trying to properly catalogue and keep track of my books. I’d checked out; and while it’s very cool, it doesn’t have the functionality I need.

Perhaps four hours after the post went live, I got a Facebook message from a friend suggesting I try Books for Mac OSX. It’s an open-source program that some of his friends had tried and thought was terrific.

I spent a good chunk of Monday afternoon messing about with it, and it’s pretty phenomenal!

Check this out: [Read more…]

An Organizational Nightmare: Help me with my books!


So, like most folks who read more books than is possibly healthy for them, I’ve got a lot of books. Since I started blogging, my collection has grown considerably, with somewhere around 30 titles being added to my home library (some from publishers and programs, others purchased by me). One of the great things about having a lot of books is that I can loan them out to friends who want to read them. It’s a really helpful way to introduce friends to books they may not read otherwise, new authors and some great concepts.

Despite the great things that come from having a fairly decent pile of books, I’ve got a problem: My bookshelf is an organizational nightmare!

Currently, I have no system in place for keeping track of them all, aside from looking at the shelf. And if a book is on loan, I only have my memory to rely on or a piece of paper if I’ve remembered to write it down.

You can see how this is a problem, I’m sure.

I’ve been slowly working on a spreadsheet listing everything by author, title, publisher, and subject, as well as track a particular book’s availability;p but, this is extremely time-consuming, and I’m hoping there’s an easier system.

So, book lovers, can you help me with my books?

Do you use a spreadsheet? Is a good solution?

How do you keep track of everything?

Your help is greatly appreciated.