We love lists of ''essential works,'' especially when their descriptions are marked by brevity and verve. Peterson, a Presbyterian pastor and presently professor of spiritual theology at Regent College, has compiled just such a list in this delightful compendium: his life and ministry have been directed and changed at crucial points by specific books, and his personal interaction with all the books he mentions make his recommendations all the more compelling. Peterson knows that spiritual reading extends beyond the bounds of what most people call ''religious'' books, so the categories he uses to structure his list include poetry, novels, detective mysteries, and history, as well as more expected sections such as prayer, spiritual formation, commentaries, and saints' lives (Catholics and Orthodox will profit from this Protestant's appreciation of the saints, and from his interaction with the spiritual experience of the Fathers and the mystical tradition). And if when reading this book, you are moved with the unquenchable and immediate desire to obtain one of Peterson's recommendations, just contact Eighth Day Books. We were delighted to find that we already stock just about every book he mentions, at least the ones currently in print.
An Eighth Day View:
Spiritual reading has fallen on bad times. Today, reading is largely a consumer activity, done for information that may fuel ambitions or careers-and the faster the better. Take and Read represents Eugene H. Peterson's attempt to rekindle the activity of spiritual reading, reading that considers any book that comes to hand in a spiritual way, tuned to the Spirit, alert to intimations of God. Take and Read provides an annotated list of the books that have stood the test of time and that, for Peterson, are spiritually formative in the Christian life. The books on this list range from standard spiritual classics to novels, poems, and mysteries, and include an equally broad spectrum of authors-from Augustine and C. S. Lewis to William Faulkner and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Annotations following each entry offer Peterson's own significant insights into the power of each work.