If it were even possible to compile a complete list of the books that formed and shaped me, I'm sure it would contain dozens of titles. Books have shaped so much about who I am. They've opened my eyes to truth, taken me to places I'm far too much of a wimp to go to, chastened me for being such a wimp, and helped me discover the beauty of words. I devoured books when I was a girl. Now, I chew more slowly but I love them just as much. Here are just five of the many I have been fed by:
1) The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. I've read this many times since I was in my early teens. It's the true story of one family's loving defiance against Hitler's anti-Semitism in World War II, their own tiny world war waged by hiding Jews in a secret space in their home in Holland. Their defiance came at a great price, but it also resulted in great faith. I wish I could do this book justice in my brief review, but I can't. Honestly life-changing.
2) Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot. I've read this one multiple times, too, and every re-reading provides me with something new as well as a fresh dose of wisdom and passion. Although some will argue with me (I'm looking at you, Anastasia Lambert!), this book is incredibly romantic with a unique authenticity and genuineness. It has changed who I am by exposing me to new thoughts about love and romance -- true love, which is so much more than happily ever after -- and pointing me back to the Author of it all.
3) A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliot. This is Elliot's biography of feisty, courageous Amy Carmichael, a poet who crossed oceans and cultures to break down the boundaries of caste exclusion and rescue young Indian girls from temple prostitution -- all of this in an era when frank discussions of sexual crime were highly taboo, especially from a middle-class, church-going single lady. Amy Carmichael said that she would rather burn out than rust out, and her burning is a challenge to my cravings for comfort and ease. [edit: Elliot's autobiography? I must have been half asleep]
4) On Writing Well by William Zinsser. This 'classic guide to writing nonfiction' might seem an unlikely inclusion in a list so far dominated by thoughtful discussions on life and faith, but writing is a big part of who I am, and this book has molded that to some extent. It's a brilliant handbook on the craft of writing and, though it has a decidedly journalistic focus, its sage advice rings true whether you write stories, review records, or scribble plays. Obviously, I'm still a work in progress as far as writing is concerned; this is evident by the fact that I crammed three cliches into two successive sentences. Awesome.
5) The Billabong Books by Mary Grant Bruce. Any number of books could also have gone here in the list, the spot reserved for fiction that I consumed like a starving creature as a young teen. But the Billabong Books (yes, I'm cheating by including a whole series here) are special in that they are so distinctly Australian. They are not brilliant works of literature (though they are good) and yes, they're decidedly dated when it comes to issues such as race, class, and gender, but they preserve so much from an amazing period in Australia's history. Written from about 1915 to 1940, they cover war, the depression, and the remarkable shifts in culture and society in Australia during that time. They are also wholesome, good fun adventure books which made me proud to be an Aussie kid. I read these books so many times I'm sure I could quote whole passages even now. They made me love living in a rural area, they made me love story-writing, and they made me wish I had an awesome older brother. Where is my Jim?
What would be on your list? I love talking books so I am opening this meme up to everyone. I tag you alllll! If you don't have a blog, feel free to leave your reply as a comment.
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Laura Elizabeth -- YES. I love the clashing, joyful riot of colours that God puts together in nature. So unlikely and yet so right.
Samantha R -- it's so hard to get good shots when you're powering through the countryside :).