6. Ken Bain, What the Best College Teachers Do
One of my colleague's assigned this book for his educational ministries class; I picked it and read it. It was earth-shaking in the way it viewed the educational process, the way students learn, how to invite students into a learning enviornment. It was such an important book that I got one for every faculty member, had them read it over the summer, and discussed it for a couple of hours at our August faculty retreat.
7. Nathaniel Philbrick, Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War
Stephen Ambrose-style meets the Pilgrims. I enjoyed the breezy way this was written as well as the emphasis upon Anglo-Native American relations. Philbrick was tone deaf when it came to theology and hence in interpreting the Pilgrim's worldview. Still, an enjoyable book--I wrote more about it here.
8. David Robertson, Awakening: The Life and Ministry of Robert Murray McCheyne
I think the test of any book, especially one that is essentially introductory, is whether it inspires the reader to attempt to find out more after the book is completed. Once I was done with Robertson's book, published in 2004, I wanted to go read McCheyne for myself and to read other books about the period. I wrote about this book here.
9. Iain Murray, A Scottish Christian Heritage
What I just said about Robertson's book applies here as well. While I don't think this is well-titled, the book is a collection of Murray's essays on aspects of Scottish church history. The biographical sketches in part one were especially fine: Knox, Robert Bruce, Thomas Chalmers, and Hortius Bonar. Also excelllent were the essays on Robert Moffat, the Scots Missionary to Africa, and on the Free Church of Scotland. I learned a lot and ordered a number of other books as a result of reading this one.
10. Gerhard Forde, The Captivation of the Will: Luther vs. Erasmus on Freedom and Bondage
I particularly appreciated the Lutheran Quarterly Books series that Eerdmans is publishing. All of the volumes that I have read thus far have made a real contribution to my understanding of Lutheranism. I was familar with Forde from his writing on the Heidelberg Disputation, and I found this book to be a powerful theological reading of Luther's Bondage of the Will.
One book that I'm reading right now that could make this list is Christopher Wright's The Mission of God, which is excellent. But since I have a ways to go before I finish it, I have not listed here in my top ten.