Thursday, September 18, 2014

Book Lists!

- a post by Jeanna Mason Stay

So, Merry wrote up her “books that changed your thinking” list last week, and it got me thinking. I started wanting to share mine, but here’s the problem with me and book lists. I can’t just list. I get wordy, I get gushy. There’s just too much to say! Also, I can’t pick easily—there are too many to choose from! Also, I can’t make just one list! Gack. I should never write up book lists. And yet . . . here we all are, and I have indeed written not just one list but several! (And I have used far too many exclamation points in doing so!!) Because frankly, the “books that changed my thinking” are not necessarily the same as my “favorites” or the “books that I’d recommend to almost anyone” and definitely not the same as the “books I’m reading right now.”

Fortunately for you, I realized that posting all of those lists at the same time would be excessive. So you get one list now, and I’ll keep on forcing more on you as my fortnightly posts come around. Lucky you!

Books that changed my thinking: 

The View from Saturday, by E. L. Konigsburg. Thoughtful, quirky story about some geeky but delightful kids on an academic bowl team. It made me want to give to others in meaningful, life-changing ways.

Ender’s Shadow (and the rest of the series), by Orson Scott Card. I related to Bean, and he taught me that being smart wasn’t enough.

A Separate Peace, by John Knowles. I don’t know if this one counts anymore, since I eventually got over feeling crazily inferior to my best friend. Also, I never pushed her out of a tree. (But we did have a very heated debate over the color of her shirt once.)

The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Just go read this one. It will only take you an hour and you’ll be glad you did. Also, you’ll be glad if you have someone in your life who has “tamed” you.

A Grief Observed, by C. S. Lewis. Come on, it’s C. S. Lewis. Of course it’s life changing! Seeing his grief was heart rending and touching, but seeing his faith was affirming and beautiful.

A Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. At over 700 pages, it was maybe the first book in my life that made me say, “Hey! Maybe history is cool!”

Holes, by Louis Sachar. Impossible to explain how a story about a kid digging holes in a detention camp can be life changing. And yet . . .

The Chosen, by Chaim Potok. There are different ways to be a leader and a friend. And the world needs them all.

The Pearl of Great Price. While many of us (including me) tend to say, “Of course the scriptures are top on my list of life-changing books,” I really can’t not include this one. If I could only keep a copy of one of the standard works, this would be it. (Am I going to be struck by lightning for this?) We are children of God, people. This book contains the most powerful testimony of that truth that I have ever experienced. Along with incredible examples of strength, witnesses of our purpose on earth, and just general amazingness.

The Princess Bride, by William Goldman (and let’s just pretend it’s by S. Morgenstern too). Because, like little William, I was so relieved to finally have someone say, “Life isn’t fair.”

Stay tuned for next fortnight, when I regale you with more books and opinions (of which I am never in short supply)!


  1. Glad I’m not the only one who can’t make lists without commentary... ;-)

  2. Love the list and rationale behind each. Great post!



Related Posts with Thumbnails