I hadn’t really read books in years. I was an English major in college, but after graduating I took a reading break. Magazines were fine, but books just didn’t hold my attention. I think I was burned out. Then came marriage, and then kids, and pretty much the only books I opened were for the sake of marriage and parenting survival.
But then I hit a reading revival, and now I am out of control. Do you have any idea how many amazing books there are in the world?? I am inserting my many (quite obvious to others but newly-discovered-by-me) discoveries about reading in italics so that you can follow along on my journey…
It started innocently enough.
- I had heard Bonhoeffer (by Eric Metaxas) was an intriguing biography, so I decided to get the audio version and start listening to the 24-hour long story. At the end, I felt like I had lost a close friend. And I had re-discovered along the way the power of reading a story… [Un]surprisingly, reading is a bit like a TV show, but deeper, more intricate, and more moving. Imagine that.
- So then my interest in World War II was piqued, and I continued my reading adventure with the incredible survival story of Unbroken (by Laura Hillenbrand). Whoa. An absolutely unbelievable, mesmerizing, terrifying, moving story. Truth is SOOO much stranger than fiction! Books can be really exciting!!
- But the world wars aren’t the only ones to have rocked entire nations, so I started rounding out my perspective on world conflicts with first-person accounts of the Rwandan holocaust (Left to Tell, by Immaculee Ilibagiza) and child warfare (A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, by Ishmael Beah). Books can make you cry… and get angry.
- I was curious about the experience of Muslims, too, so I moved on to a fascinating window into Islam and Christianity in Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus (by Nabeel Qureshi)- which was not only a great story, but a great primer on world religions. Books can help you empathize with other people.
- Temporarily back to survival reading… I got sick of being angry at my kids so often, and I found really practical and useful help in Good and Angry (by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller). Books can help you get healthier.
- Then I was curious to learn more about the one woman who is mentioned every time someone needs to point to a positive effect of Christianity. Any guesses who that might be? The collection of Mother Theresa’s quotes in No Greater Love became like a devotional for me. Books can help you find peace.
- Curious about how introverts can effectively contribute and interact in an extrovert’s world, I read Quiet (by Susan Cain) – and found out that I am an ambivert. Didn’t even know that was a word! Sometimes you learn new things when you read books!
- On the prompting of a friend, I tried out Hole in Our Gospel (by Richard Stearns) – and immediately felt like the Gospel came into focus for me. Side effect: my awareness of and compassion for the needs of the rest of the world skyrocketed. Beware – books can change you!
- By now I had discovered that my favorite stories are true – and I found two amazingly inspirational books full of true-life stories… and truth. Same Kind of Different As Me (by Ron Hall and Denver Moore) is the true story of a friendship between an art dealer and a homeless man. Yep, it’s as intriguing as it sounds. I was not disappointed. And Tattoos on the Heart (by Gregory Boyle) made me laugh and cry and pray with its raw descriptions of ministry in the middle of gang territory in L.A. Books can inspire you.
- Then I found No Perfect People Allowed (by John Burke), which has become my new manifesto for what a good church should look and act like. Books can give you new ideas.
Next on the list is Under Our Skin, a book about race by Benjamin Watson… Who knows what I will discover this time! I’m starting to think I may not have enough time to read everything I want to read in my lifetime. I may have to give up sleeping, eating, and parenting in order to get it all in! Sorry, kids.
Hi. My name is Becka, and I am a read-a-holic. And please be very careful around me – I’m afraid my condition could be contagious! Read more books… read more books… read more books…….