Posted on October 13, 2010


Hello everyone!

I love stories.  That is why I wanted to start a blog, so that I could share my day-to-day stories with you!  Perhaps a perfect way to start would be to list a few stories that have impacted the way that I think. Recently, there has been a popular note on facebook where people list their top 15 books.  I’d like to attempt a similar note, with a few twists.  There aren’t 15… they aren’t all books…I’m wincing that Narnia isn’t on the list… but before I add 15 more, I’m going to publish so that you can enjoy!

1) The Complete Works of Flannery O’Connor. No set of stories more solidly associates grace with the physical (and grotesque) aspects of humanity.  This book made me realize that I’m secretly gnostic.  Yet as a Christian, I believe that God himself took on flesh; this means that our bodies are extremely important! Still working on this concept.

2) Little, Big by John Crowley. I wrote one of my favorite papers on this book.  Before my gnostic epiphany brought about by Flannery O’Connor, I read Little, Big.  In this book, John Crowley creates a world that represents a sort of inverted gnosticism (enlightenment is reached through union with nature, not by escaping it).  It interested me so much because of how much I identified with it.  Especially the intensity of Sophie’s sleep and dreams.

3) Gilead by Marilyn Robinson. I can’t exaggerate enough how this book changed my life.  I read this book right after I read On the Road. I had always thought that I loved the Kerouac lifestyle– lots of running away, adventures, and spontaneity (catch phrases of my life).  Looking around me, I know my generation can identify (What college student hasn’t studied abroad, traveled, quit something they never finished, and gone on a roadtrip?). Gilead presented me with a quietly powerful viewpoint that combated the urge to go crazy that I’ve felt my whole life.  It showed me a thoughtful life, full of contentment and forgiveness.

4) Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind. Remember, I’m not commenting here on quality… but the character and concept of the Confessor has haunted me ever since I read this book.

5) “Legends of the Fall” directed by Edward Zwick. I have a theory that every man is either a Samuel, an Alfred, or a Tristan.  I spent a lot of time wondering which brother is the right choice.  Little did I know I would eventually meet an exception to the “three brothers” rule.

6) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Clare meets Henry, the love of her life, when she is a little girl… because he time travels.  Half her life is spent waiting for their lives to intersect in the present; she knew that until then, any man was obviously the wrong man.  I had the same exact feeling my whole life, except I hadn’t even met my Henry as a little girl and had no idea who I was waiting for, so I was even crazier than her.  It’s one of those stories that seems like it’s written about me.  Also… I’m never watching the movie because I am far too emotionally attached to the book.

7) “Say it Right” by Nelly Furtado. Alright, you’re judging me for this one.  But hear me out. This song’s music and lyrics are in direct opposition to each other.  Nelly is saying “you don’t mean nothing at all to me,” but the music and her plaintive tone suggests otherwise.  This song represented for me an attempt to rise above people who objectified or hurt me.  The more I sang it, the more I could mean it.

8) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. “I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad—as I am now. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation. . . . They have a worth—so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane…” Don’t just follow God when it’s easy.  Stick to it even when it’s impossible.

9) The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. Telling someone about Jesus and trying to Westernize them are two entirely different things.  Linking the two together is heretical, hurtful, and literally dangerous.

10) Peter Pan by James Barrie. The book is so much better than any movie made about it, ever.  I read this book and wanted to be Peter Pan.  I empathized strongly with his character and many of his quotes. I made one of my close friends read it, telling her how important the book was to me.  When Stephanie finished she said, “I understand you so much more now! You ARE the character of Wendy!”  I was blown away by how right she was.

11) The Bible. General, trite, cliché, obvious book to put on this list.  But I literally wouldn’t be who I am apart from the amazing God I have learned from through the Bible.  Without it I would be hopeless, dark, and not myself.

12) Message in a Bottle by Walker Percy. A collection of amazing essays that I wish I had written.  They say everything that I think.

I would love feedback.  What books have impacted you?  Have you read/seen/heard anything that I wrote about and agree or disagree with me?


Posted in: Seriously