Today I'm giving thanks and praise for a few more books that have been blessings in my life:
1. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. I read it at age 10, and wasn't sure I liked it, but I felt the truth of Dicken's work in the story, the authenticity of the world he both experienced and created with his characters.
2. Henry the IV, Part 1 by William Shakespeare was the first Shakespeare play I saw, in Ashland, OR when I was ten. I read it shortly afterwards, and decided I liked it better as a play than a book. However, the timeless characteristics of Falstaff and young Hal, have influenced my reading ever since. They are in many ways, much like Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins of Treasure Island, at least in the way that I see them.
3. Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman is a family favorite. My grandmother, mother and Aunts all have loved this book, and I have as well. Gritty, painful adventure, and love, all intertwined in a story of a lifetime.
4. Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge was another book I found on my Grandmother's book shelf, and which has been beloved by many in our family. It is old fashioned, but yet portrays characters that are timeless. The sisters love for the same man create a bitter triangle that eventually ends in love, and peace. Marguerite's faith in the Lord is one of the biggest blessings in this book, and shows how each of us can deal with unexpected disappointment with grace.
5. The Trixie Belden mystery series. Forget Nancy Drew, I found Trixie on my Grandmother's shelves, and decided she was the sleuth for me, wearing jeans and going on adventures. I think I read most of this series between 4th and 6th grade, and enjoyed it all. I have to admit that I'm not sure I still like these books, but they fit in my life at that time.
6. At this same time, when I was reading the books off my Grandmother's shelves, I started reading Westerns. I found they were much like fantasy books, but set in a different time and real places, with characters that were larger than life. Zane Grey's Spirit of the Border was a favorite of mine. I'm not sure it would be today, but I remember the flow of words of that book, the descriptions of places I know are real.
7. In that same vein, I also started reading Louis L'Amour books at age 10. Why? Because my Dad worked for an airline, and the only readable books in the airport bookstores were Louis L'Amour's westerns . . . unless I wanted to read romance, which I didn't at age 10, 11, 12, or even older. If you haven't read a Western before, I highly suggest Louis L'Amour or Zane Grey. They are fairly fun books, with a strong sense of place.
8. Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard was a book I remember checking out repeatedly from the school library. The adventures of a boy and his Irish Red Setter were wonderful to me, since I had a few adventures with my german shepherd.
9. The Call of the Wild by Jack London is a must read kind of book. It shows a time, a series of places, and the strenght of a growing bond of trust between man and wolf. It's one of those books that make me cry, but I like it anyway.
10. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein is another must read kind of book. This is one of my all time favorite fantasy books, and all time favorite books of my life. My first copy came from a cousin. It didn't have a cover, and already showed wear and tear. I read it over and over again until it fell apart. Then I kept the pieces together and read it again. Finally, I purchased a "pretty" copy of it, and I've read it a number of times as well. Bilbo is my favorite reluctant hero, and I like reluctant heroes.
11. The NIV Study Bible, old NIV translation. I know I've mentioned the Bible before, but every translation that I've read is a blessing to me. My old NIV was given to me by my parents at my high school graduation, and I have read it many, many times.
"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12