Friday, January 18, 2008

One Book (more or less)

Jennwith2ns tagged me for a meme. I am honored and genuinely charmed to have been asked. Generally speaking, I don't do memes, but I really like her blog and I really like this meme because it is about books.

1. One book that changed your life. I don't care in the slightest if it is cliche, without a doubt that would be "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. I was a smart-alecky sophomore in a high school English class for smart kids, supposedly. I was bored and disdainful. As a preemptive disciplinary measure, by the end of the second week I had been persuaded to occupy a seat directly in front of the teacher's desk. Instead of doing whatever work I was supposed to be doing, I would attempt to engage the teacher, Mrs. Pam Sibley, in a discussion about literature, philosophy, or history or some other topic on which I was unassailably authoritative. One afternoon, probably in a bit of a peeve, Mrs. Sibley asked me if I would like to read something really challenging. Of course, I said, thinking that at last someone had recognized that my intellect was being wasted on this 10th grade curriculum. She said she had a book of her own that she would loan me if I promised to read it and that write a summary report on it for extra credit. She was certain that it would challenge me, she said. I eagerly picked up the gauntlet and received the book. Well, C.S. Lewis rocked my little world. Until that time I had never heard of, or even considered that a reasoned understanding of Christianity was possible or worthwhile. That is still a book that I try to read at least once a year. I regret that I never thanked Mrs. Sibley properly. I will one day, though.

2. One book that you have read more than once. "Know Why You Believe" by Paul Little. I love the way this thin little volume so effectively encapsulates the fundamentals of Christian belief. Concise and smartly written, it is another book that I try to read once a year and it is one of my favorite books to give away. There are a number of books, though, that I've enjoyed reading multiple times for different reasons...but I'll stay focused and not digress.

3. One book you would want on a desert island. "The Bible" is the one title that I could have used to answer several of these questions, but I suspect that answer transcends the spirit of this meme. However, if I'm stranded on a desert island with only one book, I really do want it to be my trusty Scofield NIV.

4. Two books that made you laugh. "Book of Nonsense" by Edward Lear. I love Lear's limericks, nonsense verse, and illustrations. "Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller is very funny. And very serious. But funny, too.

5. One book that made you cry. "Safely Home" by Randy Alcorn. I couldn't help it...this is a really unique book. I was completely unprepared for where this book took me emotionally and found myself completely unwound more than once. Before reading this book, I would not have thought that a work of fiction could go where this book goes. It is not perfectly rendered, but it is amazing in its reach and scope. Read it.

6. One book you wish you'd written. "Heaven", also by Randy Alcorn and non-fiction. This is an amazing and detailed study on Heaven. Alcorn has painstakingly compiled and synchronized all that the Bible teaches about the place we would all rather be. Well, we would, wouldn't we? Among a lot of other things, Alcorn answers questions like "What will we do in Heaven?", "Will there be space and time?" and, of course, "What about the animals?" This is a book that positively changed the way I think about the future.

7. One book you wish had never been written. "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" by Dave Eggers. That was one of those books that everybody recommended, that received rave reviews, and was supposed to be a model of great contemporary literature. Hated it. No, really...HATED it.

8. Two books you are currently reading. and "Messy Spirituality" by Mike Yaconelli and "This is Your Brain on Music" by Daniel Levitin (still, and again).

9. One book you've been meaning to read. There is a big stack of books that fall into this category, but the one that is on the shelf beckoning at this moment is "The Android's Dream" by John Scalzi.

10. Five people that I'll tag: GRP, Heidi, Sharon, Evan, and IzzyBeth


IzzyBeth said...

Well, thanks . . . I think. At least I know what I'll blog about tomorrow!

Jenn said...

Nice choices. I actually liked (?) "A Heartbreaking Work . . . " but not in a let-me-recommend-it-to-everyone kind of way. Don't, however, let the fact that What Is The What is by the same author prejudice you against that book. That one I *do* recommend. Totally different. Much more mature, for one thing.

What I really liked about this post was your story surrounding "Mere Christianity," though. Thanks for that.

Heidi said...

Great meme! And you tagged me! I had better to get to work on it!

(My husband is reading Heaven right now and finding it very interesting. I will have to get to it next.)