The unedited list of the top 10 books I’ve ever read

Posted on: 04/21/20 1:33 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Last week a Christian radio network asked me to provide them with  a little glimpse into my personal life, specifically the top 10 books I’ve enjoyed reading.

My first response was laughter…because my wife Lori always teases me how I don’t want to read at night. I always tell her, “Baby, after reading studies all day and writing…the LAST thing I want to do at night is more reading.”

But she loves reading, so we’ve compromised and I’ve found that I can relax if I escape to a fiction book. So many of my all time favs are fiction.

When I explained that disclaimer… the radio network said, “That’s great. Tell us your all time favorites!”

So here they are. My Top 10 books… the unedited list. Here’s the stuff I really enjoyed the most.

A Painted House, by John Grisham
I love this glimpse through the eyes of a 7-year-old boy growing up on a cotton farm in 1952, a reminder of how life was…and still is. Truly my favorite of all time. (And I’ll note that I also REALLY enjoyed his book The Testament and The Street Lawyer… it’s amazing how profoundly Christian The Testament is.)

Mindhunter, John Douglas
This behind-the-scenes peek into the life of John E. Douglas’ 25-year career in the FBI hunting and interviewing real life serial killers is entrancing. As a guy who has spent hundreds of hours diving into the mind of school shooters for my book Bystanders, I’m fascinated by John’s knack for psychological profiling (maybe because he’s the guy who really launched it).

Encounters with Jesus, Tim Keller
Keller has so many amazing books, but he truly captivates me with the way he walks me through Jesus’ day-to-day connections with people. I read this book like a personal devotional.

Along Came a Spider, by James Patterson
I’m taking liberty when I list this title, because honestly I love Patterson’s entire “Alex Cross” detective series. His keen insight into the criminal mind, his dedication to his family…it all started with this book.

Jaws, Peter Benchley
This is not only on my list of favorite books, but favorite films as well (the 1975 Steven Spielberg original, not the pathetic sequels).

Crime and Punishment, Dostoyevsky
How did a Russian book get on my list? This is the one book I read in high school that I’ve returned to countless times.

What’s So Amazon about Grace, Yancy
All Yancy’s books are great, but this one grabbed me on the first page (as all books should). A must-read for any Christian.

The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell
Maybe it’s just because I love research, or because I’m bewildered how a business book evaluates how Sesame Street keeps our attention and why.

The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller
Best marriage book ever, hands down. His contrast of the “covenant marriage” to the “consumer marriage” is worth the entire book. Groundbreaking stuff.

The Walking Dead Graphic Novel, by Robert Kirkman
Uh, yeah…I’m a nerd (and the author of a zombie survival guide for teenagers). And this is one of the greatest escapes into a post-apocalyptic world where you consistently ask yourself, “What would I do in this situation?” And that’s probably why we actually have provided discussion questions for each and every episode of the TV series so far. Really good stuff.  (Although I always have to wonder if Kirkman’s opening premise is a little too much like the truly terrifying Danny Boyle film, 28 Days Later). Hmmmmm.

That’s it! No holds barred.

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2 Replies to “The unedited list of the top 10 books I’ve ever read”

  1. It’s amazing how Amazon has worked their way into EVERYTHING!
    Auto correct can be such a bad thing.
    Great list though!

  2. I also loved The Testament. Pelican Brief is one of my all time favorites, as well as The Firm. I will definitely try this one. Thanks. No Jane Austen? LOL! : ) I’m also going to have to check out Mindhunter. I’m a bit off the societal acceptance of things, but I would check out The Tipping Point. I’d guess it might not fit into my worldview on how Sesame Street programs (cough cough) I mean shaped us, but sounds interesting. You might like checking out Vigilante Citizen and read *start here*. Very good article on how media has shaped us thru the years, if you are into that type of thing.

    This is great – sharing book lists. I find it really helps me see things I never would have otherwise found.

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