Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Five Books That Changed Who I Am

It feels like ages ago that Danielle did a meme about the five books that changed her life and tagged all her followers to do the same. I say that it feels like ages ago but really it was only Saturday. I have spent far too much time thinking about the topic which is why it feels so long ago.

It's SUCH a hard list to come up with. I could probably think of five of my favourite books off the top of my head, but not *life changing* ones. That's eleventy times more difficult. I'm still not happy with the list but here goes:

1) The Princess Bride by William Goldman
This is without a doubt my hands down favourite book of all time and if you've only ever seen the movie, then you're missing out on most of the fun by limiting yourself to the movie. I found it amongst my mum's books despite the fact that she's never read it! She brought it at an airport in the 1970s, got bored within the first few pages and it's been floating around our house ever since. I like to think that I was clearly meant to read it, that she brought the book all those years ago just so that one day I would be bored and look at a bookshelf in our house and discover it.

The reason why it is life changing is because I never knew you could write books this way. The way he writes is how I think and I never knew that you were allowed to do that in books- I was a late bloomer! Goldman strikes a lovely balance between earnest and cheesy and the whole style and tone of the book is just wonderful. It was life changing because it inspired me to realise that I didn't have to copy another author's voice, my own was just fine.

2) James Herriot's Dog Stories by... James Herriot
James Herriot was a newly qualified vet in Yorkshire, England during the 1940s, right up until about the 90s, I think. He writes with such joy and simplicity about the animals he treated, their owners and the beautiful setting that he finds himself in. He mainly writes about the 40s and 50s and captures the essence of the era and life in Yorkshire. He's written many books but this was the first book I read of his, when I was about nine and remains my favourite. The stories still make me laugh and cry and are a huge influence on why I am studying to be a vet nurse.

3) The Bible
I had to put this one in so I slipped it in at number 3 :) No other book will have as huge an influence on my life as this book. It comforts me, motivates me, scares me and sometimes, it even makes me laugh. (There is an awesome chapter all about this guy who got assassinated while on the toilet and when his guards thought he'd been in there too long and broke into the room, they couldn't see the dagger that had killed him because he was so fat that his fat rolls had covered up the dagger. Whoever said the Bible was boring??) This is one that I can read like a book or I can dip into time and time again.

4) The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel
More people are familiar with Strobel's other book, 'The Case for Christ' that he wrote as an atheistic journalist, in which he closely studies the available evidence for the truth about Jesus. That book was about the 'head' knowledge of Christianity, this book is about the 'heart' knowledge of Christianity. It covers such subjects as 'How can God be so good if He lets people die?" and in it he interviews a range of people. It's a scholarly read that is made easy to take in, thanks to Strobel's informal journalistic style.

It was life changing for many reasons, I think mainly because I assumed that I was the only one who struggled with such issues, and it felt worse because I was a Christian, surely I wasn't supposed to have those feelings. Nobody else in my church ever seemed to bring up these obvious reasons as to why Christianity should be a load of old crock. Also to make a long story short (because I do have a tendancy to ramble on!), I was given this book at completely the right time by the most random person. It showed me that even I, someone who wrestles constantly with my faith, that I might actually be doing something right.

5) The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
I like how my last two books were Christian ones... and then for my next pick I cheat so that I can put the ENTIRE Narnia series down on my list as one book!! I obviously have missed the Christian message somewhere along the way :) These books changed my life in the fact that they were the first fantasy books I ever read. They opened my eyes to a whole new genre of books, ones that could take me to different worlds, like the ones I invented in my head. Even now, any world I create on paper will be a pale imitation of Narnia. These books are so intimately linked with my childhood. I spent large portions of my life daydreaming about Narnia and inserting myself in there, which I then would act out... this is known as Only Child Syndrome. I watched the entire first movie through misty eyes because it was exactly like how I'd pictured it all in my head, the film makers didn't mess up a single thing in bringing that world to life.

And now I bring this humongous post to an end, but before we go...

Eek! Everyone was SO ridiculously lovely and supportive of my last post! I can not even begin to tell you how much it meant to me to get such positive feedback because I was incredibly nervous about posting. I hope my successful poem wasn't just a case of beginner's luck :)

1 comment:

Danielle said...

I love this! Princess Bride! James Herriot! Bible! Lee Strobel! Narnia!

Not only are we tv twins, but we're book twins, too :). Oh, and I LOVE that story about the guy and the fat oozing over the hilt of the knife. Was his name Eglon? I'm trying to remember. That one's always a hit with the boys.