What books could Christians give out on World Book Night?

Readers everywhere have the opportunity to take part in World Book Night. This new celebration of books falls on the anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death and the anniversary of Cervantes’ death – April 23.

Claude Monet (The Reader) - Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Gallery: National Gallery of Art, Washingon, DC, USA

The idea is to celebrate World Book Night by giving books to those who cannot get them. For Americans, it is suggested that we take books to nursing homes, hospitals, jails, soup kitchens, senior centers, and to others you know can’t afford to buy books.

Each year, the organization promoting World Book Night picks 30 popular books of the year to distribute. The books are reprinted especially for this giveaway. In 2012, more than 2.5 million books were given out by 80,000 people.

You can view the list for 2013 here, and review 2012’s giveaways. Or visit the main webpage to get more details about the event.

Scanning the list, I see some famous, but questionable books – and no Christian books (at least that you can tell by the title or author).

Here’s my suggestion – pick a day and give away some of the top Christian books. It can be the same day (April 23) or we can pick another day to differentiate from this secularized promotion.

Before you pooh-pooh the idea, think a minute. God gave us language. He gave us a creative spirit. He told man to tell his history through stories handed down for generations until the printing press was invented.

Societies and worldviews opposed to Christianity, or that don’t want an educated populace, turn to banning or burning books. They want you to listen to what they say, not read and learn and become an independent thinker.

God has shown us how important books can be. He’s also shown us how dangerous books can be. If anything, we Christians should be handing out books left and right to teach people how to learn and grow.

Now of course we’ll have to give out the Bible. I’d say it’s a given that Christians giving out literature would give out the Bible. Why not hand someone a good Christian worldview book (fiction or non-fiction), and give them a Bible. Include a tract or two if you’re nervous about talking to them. Give them a bookmark with the Gospel or quotes from the Bible showing the Roman Road or Law/Grace.

So, if you’re on board with the idea, there’ just one last question.

What books would you want to see on the “approved” giveaway list?

The official World Book Night is heavy on fiction, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t give out non-fiction books.

Here are three suggestions to get your creative juices flowing:

The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe… (or any of the other titles of the unabridged version of this book) by Daniel Defoe – Like many people, I read the child’s version of the story, and read an abridged adult version (unbeknownst to me) as I got older. I finally got the full text last year on Kindle. Most editions cut out some very significant parts of the story – his faith, for example. Crusoe’s faith is what sustains him on the island, and guides him as he makes decisions. The unabridged version is a great fictional example of Biblical truths – love of God, love of our fellow, fallen man. His witness is a great example for us all.

The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul – This may be one of the greatest summaries of the holiness of God (a similar book by Jerry Bridges is terrific, too). Sproul takes us not only into the throne room of heaven, but does a great job of explaining God’s grace and mercy and and love how they are inseparable.

Slave, the Hidden Truth about Your Life in Christ by John MacArthur – Another life-changer, this book is great for reminding us that Christ’s death and resurrection is the price paid to save us from death through sin. Since Christ paid the price, believers are His and He has the right to expect us to live up to His commandments. We are no longer slaves to Satan, the world, or even ourselves – but to Christ.

Have you got some better ideas? What Christian literature or non-fiction books have influenced your life with Christ? What Christian books would you want to give out? What books would you recommend people avoid?

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2 thoughts on “What books could Christians give out on World Book Night?

  1. It’d totally give out “The World-Tilting Gospel” by Dan Phillips (TeamPyro blogger, twitter handle @BibChr). I have not read a book before this one that tried to show the Gospel in the context of the whole of Scripture and write like it makes a difference whether you believe it or not. Dan constantly references back to the Bible, making it his foundation, and touches on worldviews that kindof look Christian-like, but under the scrutiny of the Word show to be merely high-hopes.

  2. World Book Night…what a great idea! Some of the literature I’d add to this list include: any fiction by J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Madeleine L’Engle. Also “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo, “The Brothers Karamazov” by Dostoyevsky, “Something Wicked This Way Comes” by Ray Bradbury, and short stories by Flannery O’Connor. Many of these works don’t quote the Bible or describe themselves as overtly religious books, but I think they contain strong Christian themes that have the power to transform minds and hearts.

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