Saturday, July 9, 2011

A nose in a book, or 5.

{Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers} ~ Charles W. Eliot

I have always been a reader. I have happy memories of school holidays spent devouring books from my local library - and then the not-so-local libraries, once I had chewed through the selection once or twice! I started with books by Enid Blyton (Cherry Tree Farm was a definite favourite, The Adventure series, The Famous 5, The Magic Wishing Chair - they bring back so many memories!), who I can thank for my love for the written word! I would read out on my trampoline, on the top bunk, in the car, in the cubbies we would make, or under the covers with a torch when I was supposed to be sleeping. I don't even know how many books I've read in my lifetime, so for lovely Jo to pose the question "5 Books that changed who I am" seemed near impossible!
I didn't know where to start... so I started with my bookshelf. I figured if it really 'changed who I am' it should be lurking in there somewhere, no? 

So out came 5. And I don't really know if they actually changed who I am. Can a book (other than the Bible, which certainly is continuing to do so) really do that? I don't think any really did change who I am but the books I chose definitely enhanced, revealed and inspired what already was within me. 

So we'll start with the top...
1. "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. 
I found this in our bookshelf at home when I was 11. 
I remember being immediately captivated by the period in which it was set, and I've had a fascination with both the period and the setting (the deep south of America) since.
I also have this book to thank for my love of language. I studied it at 16 in my English Literature class, and re-read it a few years later. I think it's time to read it again!
"The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box.  As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it - whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash." (Atticus) Chapter 23

2. "Extraordinary" by John Bevere
God wants us to live extraordinary lives.
Unfortunately, Christians don't often live up to the call, and most of the time we are the opposite - ordinary and lifeless... but it's His plan for us to live beyond a normal existence! And John Bevere wrote this book to help us embrace the extraordinary life we were created for:
"How intriguing that the bulk of the most popular movies of all time are not love stories, murder mysteries, espionage thrillers, war movies, true life accounts... No, the top box office draws are films that center on extraordinary characters doing remarkable feats, with a good number of them possessing beyond-human abilities or powers. Why? Because "extraordinary" is how we were created to live. It was God's plan from the beginning."

3. "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren
We recently read this as a church, and I think it was about my third or fourth time. It's so good to get back to basics, totally necessary for a perspective shift - my life is not all about me, me, me. 
Every time I've read it, it's been like depositing gold nuggets into my heart - read it, I dare you!
"Sometimes procrastination is a legitimate response to a trivial task. But because love is what matters most, it takes top priority. The bible stresses this repeatedly. It says, "Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone." "Use every chance you have for doing good" "Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it. Never tell your neighbour to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now" Why is now the best time to express love? Because you don't know how long you will have the opportunity. Circumstances change. People die. Children grow up. You have no guarantee of tomorrow."

4. "Blue Like Jazz - Nonreligious thoughts on Christian Spirituality" by Donald Miller
Donald Miller is hands down one of my favourite authors. 'Blue Like Jazz' was there for me when I questioned the basis of my faith. I questioned God, and the reality of Him. This book was like a breath of fresh air to a stale Christian existence. I love this book. A lot. 
"If you would have asked me, I suppose I would have told you there was a God, but I could not have formulated a specific definition based on my personal experience. Perhaps it was because my Sunday school classes did much to help us memorize commandments and little to teach us who God was and how to relate to Him, or perhaps it was because they did and I wasn't listening. Nevertheless, my impersonal God served me just fine as I had no need of the real thing. I needed no deity to reach out of heaven and wipe my nose, so none of it actually mattered. If God was on a dirt road walking toward me, He was on the other side of a hill, and I hadn't begun to look for Him anyway."

5."Meet Me at Mikes" by Pip Lincolne
I remember the day I found this book. It was a rainy, wet day, and two of my gorgeous friends and I caught the train into the city. We ended up in Borders, downstairs browsing. When I spotted it, it was like a rush of "Ohmygoodness I love this stuff. I used to love crochet, and sewing, and embroidery... what happened to me?!" I hadn't had much time, with having babies and the like, to do anything crafty. Not since the quilt I made before my first baby was born. This book was like a reawakening of the creative side in me. And it's so good to be back!



  1. I just love Christian autobiographies or biographies...I have just reread "I Dared to Call Him Father" by Bilquis Sheikh..just loved it, very inspiring. I recently reread "Chasing the Dragon" by Jacqui Pullinger and Brother Andrew's "God's Smuggler"..a few of my favourite books.

  2. Those are some amazing books! I am reading through The Purpose Driven Life at the moment. I agree with this:
    "I don't think any really did change who I am but the books I chose definitely enhanced, revealed and inspired what already was within me."
    I have to read 'To Kill A Mockingbird'. So many people mention this classic. And I'd love to take a look at the other 3 books too.
    *sigh* I love books...I really do! Thanks for linking up with me. I have loved looking at your list xo


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