Monday, September 15, 2014

Book Challenge

Lately it seems that social media has played a big part in heightening everyone's awareness of certain things (like ALS) as well as thrown out quite a few "challenges" to engage the social community with what they're thankful for or what their song choices are.  My favorite challenge as of yet (which I'll admit I'm slightly bummed that no one has challenged me with this one) is the book challenge.  Basically this is simply motivation to recall the top 10 books that have changed your life.

With the approach of our new Book Community starting this week, I would like to offer my top ten (whether you are interested or not!) in no particular order.....

1. "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis
As an immature 16 year old, this book was far over my level of comprehension the first time I read it. However, I've picked it back up a number of times throughout the past 12 years, each time finding new truths and bold proclamations of what the Christian faith consists of.

2. "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott
This was the first "big" book I ever read by myself.  I don't know how old I was, but I think I was pretty young (second grade?) to have such a large book on my bookshelf.  No more kid books for me!  I was so pumped when the movie came out, too, because I could fit in with the adults who had also read the book.  My little sister was out of the loop, which of course I enjoyed, showing off how smart I was ;)

3. "The Seven Storey Mountain" by Thomas Merton
I got into reading about this monk because of seminary, but have drawn so much deeper in faith because of his dedication to a bi-vocational lifestyle of monk and writer.  My draw towards Merton's writing can be seen in the past 8 (?!) blog posts, but his struggles with coming to faith and consistent pursuit of God resonates with my own journey.

4. "The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis
Ok, a lot of Lewis on my list, but what can I say? This book, written as satire, gets me.  Reading from the perspective of the devil really allows for a deeper perspective of the way the enemy is out to seek, kill and destroy.  I continue to learn a lot from this book each time I pick it up!

5. "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Another great one from my childhood!  I read this book, saw the plays, watched the movie and immersed myself into the book.  I often hoped (and still do) to find a secret garden of my own!

6. "The Magician's Nephew" by C.S. Lewis
I love kids books, despite my age.  Though I never read the Narnia books as a child, they impacted me as an adult just as much (if not more).  I love the character development, the storyline and the way Lewis is able to reach

7. "Native Son" by Richard Wright
I can't remember if I first read this for a college class or not, but regardless it sparked my love of African American literature.  Wright had a way of writing that captured his audience, making them feel the despair of many of his characters.  I haven't read one of his books that don't spark the same feelings!

8. "Beloved" by Toni Morrison
Another one from African American literature, Toni Morrison's writing grabs me and doesn't let me go til the last word of her books!  Her writing is so vivid, I feel as though I am right there in her story - watching Sethe kill her daughter and the haunting life that follows.

9. "Life Together" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
This book has been one of many studies and papers for school, however offers a lot of practical advice for living communally in the Christian faith.  Bonhoeffer's own story is relevant throughout as he runs an underground seminary in Nazi Germany and lives out his faith in the face of death.  Inspirational and practical.

10. "The Bible"
You may think, 'well, that's just what all Christians have to say in this challenge,' however this truly is a complex and challenging book that has never ceased to surprise me.  I have found comfort, hope, history, narratives, beautiful poetry and a lot of confusion within these pages.  Glancing at a verse here or there never fully allows for an understanding - I'd suggest to grab a passage and meditate on that for a full week (or at least day) to let it soak in and find commentaries for help with confusion.  There is beauty in these pages that just don't come through other books.

While I have SOOOO many others that have inspired, challenged and motivated me, I'll stop at that for now.  Make sure to take a look at the upcoming books/dates for our book community (button on the right sidebar) that starts THIS WEEK!  Hope to see you there :)

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