I usually keep it somewhat about food and life here but I’ve always looked at SouthernPlate as “What’s on my plate?”, which leaves the door wide open. I’ve also found that so many of us share the same interests in this world and I love getting to hear back and learn from you so today I’m sharing my answers to a really intriguing question I was asked in hopes of getting to hear your answers as well. I have a feeling a lot of good books will be discovered with this post!
My friend, Charlotte Miller, owner of Swiss Pantry in Belvedere Tennessee (where they just so happen to make the best doughnuts you’ve ever tasted in your life on Doughnut Saturday twice a month) asked me to name ten books that have influenced me in my life. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed coming up with my list as I mentally revisited each one I wrote about.
Before I share them, I want to share a warning first: this post contains opinions because I have a lot of them and sometimes I allow myself to express a few. If you don’t agree, it doesn’t mean I am a bad person or that you are, it just means we are different people, and that is a good thing because I am plum out of room in my head for more folks to move in. Back in the old days, when people of varying and different opinions got together it was called “interesting conversation”. You may know it by today’s more common concept of “How dare you disagree with me because I am unable to function as long as there exists any opinion in this world different from my own.” I realize this warning doesn’t apply to 99.999% of you reading this so allow me to take a moment and thank you for your level headedness in a world gone mad.
Now back to books…here is my list
1. The Holy Bible – I became a voracious Bible reader around middle school and this one book has really helped direct my life, even during those times when I actively tried to ignore it. I generally use the NIV version because that is what my kid’s use. When they are trying to memorize a verse it really trips them up when I say it in a different translation. My favorite translation is NLT and from time to time I venture over to “The Message” just to see if there is any meat left on the bones of a passage that I might not have picked off. I use a Life Application Study Bible with thumb index and large print for my daily reading (have you seen the size of most Bible fonts! Large print is a must for me). It has a lot of notes, expansions, and studies in it that I find helpful. I need all the help I can get
2. Letters To A Young Poet – This book is right up there as a close second to the Bible, it affected me so. It is amazing how many of the letters I have memorized by reading them over the years. Life wisdom from a man who has walked the roads, to one just starting out. It is beautiful, moving, and completely changed me. I’ve been reading it once a year, cover to cover, for over twenty years now.
3. Jane Eyre – While some of my classmates in high school were bemoaning having to read this book, I was engrossed and realizing that the classics were classics because they were so good! This opened the door for me to an entire world of literature I’ve enjoyed all of my life. As an aside: I’ve yet to read Wuthering Heights, but I’ve got to save some books for later in life, right?
4. The Hunchback of Notre Dame – I’ll never, ever, ever forget the last sentence of this book. You have to read the whole book to feel it’s effect.
5. A Treasury of The Familiar – This was a book meant for reference that came in a set my parents bought along with some encyclopedias. However, it contained great literary passages, sonnets from Shakespeare, poems by Thomas Hood, Walt Whitman, even folk song lyrics. I read that book until the binding came apart. There are little notes written in the margins and some of the poems even have numbers beside the lines from where I counted as I stitched the passages into fabric. Most of the poems in my head were memorized from that book. In case you can’t tell, a great many of my teenage years were spent in my room reading morose poetry. I highly recommend it
I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,
Whose garland’s dead,
And all but he departed…
6. All Ramona Quimby books I began reading them as soon as I could make out what words were and those books caught me up in the joy of seeing a reflection of myself and finding understanding in a fictional character.
7. Hard Backed Nancy Drew – If I were ever on a deserted island, I think I’d read every blessed one again. My favorites are the old yellow hardback ones, written in a time where it wasn’t considered an affront to women to wear skirts, be ladylike, and let men open the door for you. Nancy did all of this and was still considered sharp, intelligent, and a master of her craft.
8. One Second After – First of all, this book is very well written. Secondly, you know that comfy little place we like to have in our heads that tells us nothing really bad could ever happen to us? This book is reality calling us back to earth. It is a must for anyone who is capable of facing the precarious truth of our current situation. It is a must avoid for anyone who can’t face that for whatever reason. Move along, nothing to see here
9. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – My daughter kept going on and on about how wonderful this book was, insisting that I read it. I’m gonna be honest, I placated her with smiles and nods and assurances that I would. Finally, over the summer, I sat down and read it. The next time Katy Rose tells me I need to read a book, I’m going to stop the world and do it right then. It was absolutely wonderful. My heart overflowed.
10. My tenth book is always changing, whatever book has affected me the most lately. In the past, that tenth book has been a toss up between two from author Andy Andrews: The Noticer is an excellent book that I feel everyone should read. If you allow it, it WILL change your life.
How Do You Kill 11 Million People? is another Andy Andrews book that you can read in less than an hour but once you’re done, you need to set aside another hour to sit there and shake your head while digesting the truth of it all. A definite eye opener that perhaps could have saved millions if folks had read it decades ago and could possibly save us in the future if people take it to heart.
Yet another wonderful book is Dream More by Dolly Parton. So much of the wisdom contained in this book has been taught and used by us our entire lives, but it is wonderful to have the affirmation and additional wisdom she shares. I recommend the hardback version and that you read it with a highlighter :).
Be sure and check out my dear friend Jen’s books over at her website, Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, by clicking here. Her list really inspired me!