I still seem to be suffering from this accursed writers block. Maybe accursed is the wrong word. I have friends who write for a living; accursed is probably more accurate for them. Still, it’s annoying *1*, but hopefully after this weekend I’ll have drummed up a story or two to tell.
Because I am of the belief that what you like says almost as much about you as what you are like *2*, I thought I’d share a short list of some of my all time favorite books this afternoon. I was given a Kindle for Christmas this year, and if this were a list of all time great Christmas presents, this would probably come in somewhere near the top. I was worried that seminary would break my love of reading, but thanks to the Kindle (and inexpensive books from Amazon) I’m reading now more than ever.
So here we go, in no particular order, is a list of my five (or so) favorite books with a brief rational for each one.
1. The Great Gatsby – I’m almost hesitant to put this on my list, thanks to this recent cinematic release, because I’d hate to be accused of following a trend on this one. *3* I haven’t seen the movie, and I don’t really intend to, even though it’s gotten pretty good reviews and I generally enjoy the directors other offerings. I read this book for the first time in high school, and remember being hooked from the very first page. It is, to me, the finest example of American writing, and whenever I’ve needed a little bit of inspiration I go back to a few pages of it to fill me up. Plus, it inspired one of my favorite all time Dr. Oliver quotes. *4*
2. The Screwtape Letters – Even on this side of seminary I don’t think I’ve ever read a better book on the nuances of Christian morality. Lewis manages to nail what it means to have faith, what it means to trust God, what it means to be truly humble, he just nails it all. And, he does so backwardly. I don’t always love Lewis’ fiction, but I count this as one of the most important books I’ve ever read.
3. Me Talk Pretty One Day – It’s my favorite of Sedaris’ work, even though I don’t think it’s his best. *5* I love this book for any number of reasons, but mostly I love it because it was the first book I read after college, and it served to remind me that reading can be a great joy. *6*
4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood-Prince – Let me say, from the start, that if you haven’t read them then you have no business judging me for this entry. I loved all the books, with the exception of number five (and even then it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as good as the others) but even then book six just stands out above the rest. I love a good backstory, and that was the theme of HBP more than any of the others. Also, it got rid of much of the teenage angst that made The Order of the Phoenix so hard to enjoy.
5. Traveling Mercies – I don’t love this book as much today as I did when I first read it, if for no other reason than I’ve read some of Lamott’s other books and found her to be less than charming when taken as a whole. Still, I love(d) this book because of how open and honest she is about her faith, about her difficulties and shortcomings and also the great grace she experienced in her life.
6. A Year in Provence – I’ve talked about Peter Mayle before, and so all I’ll say about this one is that it is the book that made me interested in all things French.
7. The Bible – Because, you know, it’s the Bible.
That’ll do it for now. I should be back next week with a couple of good stories to tell, or at the very least, not quite as white as I normally am. Thank you for your prayers.
*1* Almost as annoying as this opening paragraph.
*2* A rip off of a line from High Fidelity I know, but that doesn’t make it untrue.
*3* Something similar to naming your daughter Isabella (a name Donnette and I both loved) right as those Twilight movies made their debut.
*4* “I recently reread the Great Gatsby. What a writer. Was he ever sober? I don’t know. They probably didn’t have to embalm him. He was fully pickled. How could someone so degenerate write and think like that? Boy, could he write. “And I stood in that mansion to watch if anyone would come to the funeral.” Do you remember the passage? After all those grand parties, no one came. Wow. How could he think like that?”
*5* That would be “Naked.”
*6* Unlike every book I read for my History degree.