Friday, April 4, 2008

Some Favorites

On the ACFW email loop recently, there was a discussion about what kind of things we would like to read more of. What kind of heroine, type of plot, style of writing. It’s been interesting to see what everyone has to say on the subject because I, um, sort of like to read. Okay, I love it. In fact, I’m addicted.

I’ll read funny, heart-wrenching (in small doses), thriller, mystery, historical, whatever. If I don’t have a book in front of me, I’ll read the back of the cereal box. I read while I wash the dishes, take a shower, and walk the dog. In elementary school, I read while I walked in line, in between songs in band, and whenever I could sneak the book out of my desk. I've read a lot of good books that have provided an escape, made me laugh out loud and (rarely, but still) made me cry. Many have taught me things, and there are some that have left me feeling challenged to become a better person, to change my outlook, to hold more tightly to my faith. Here are three, in no particular order:

A Voice In The Wind, by Francine Rivers: The first in her Mark of the Lion series, this book is set in Rome. It has a rich, historical setting, a love story, and most of all, a slave girl who is an amazing witness for Christ. It's a book that challenges me to live my faith, unashamed, no matter the consequences. (Warning: make sure to read the first chapter of book 2. Otherwise, you might want to burn this book. :-) )

Quaker Summer, by Lisa Samson: This book has a contemporary setting, and is a light, quirky read with deep truths. The heroine is a middle-aged mom, the wife of a doctor, and a compulsive shopper. She's confronted with her need to get past the material and see things in the light of eternity. (Warning: don't read this while on vacation! :-) )

Waters of Marah, by Sylvia Bambola: A contemporary story of a woman finding independence and, eventually, herself. It's a gentle read--nothing earth-shattering or brilliantly new--but there's something about the heroine's growing relationship with God that warms my heart. She calls Him Beautiful Jesus, and her attitude toward Him makes me yearn for that close, sweet relationship as well.

What about you? What books have you read that challenged you?


Catherine West said...

Challenged me? Well, I'm not so sure this is what you mean, but several books have challenged me to be a better writer. Mary DeMuth's Watching the Tree Limbs and Wishing on Dandelions both inspired me, brought tears and spiritual truths to mind, as well as inspired me to reach a level of writing where such beautiful prose seems effortless. Although I haven't read much of her lately as I've OD's on her stories, Karen Kingsbury always inspires me. I learn a great deal about characterization from her, as well as dialogue. And she can usually make me cry. I'll read anything, well, almost anything, as long as it's not predictable. I recently picked up a book, read a few chapter and skimmed to the back to see if what I was expecting to happen did. Sadly, yes, it did. Super predictable and boring. I was disappointed and I didn't finish the book.

Erica Vetsch said...

Um... you read in the shower? Wow. That's talent.

Books that have challenged me: Where the Red Fern Grows, the first non-happily ever after book I can remember reading, where I learned everything isn't all tidied up by the end of the book.

The Biography of J. Hudson Taylor written by his son. What faith, and how small my own faith is.

The Shining Tide by Anne Perry. I read that book right after reading Writing the Breakout Novel. Perry is a client of Maass, and this is her breakout novel. I'm challenged to do as well.

Angela Breidenbach said...

I also loved Francine Rivers book, A Voice in the Wind. I read the whole series. A book that challenged me, though, is Demon-A Memoir by Tosca Lee. It's amazing in reaching into our own lives through an analogy in the story that takes the whole story to unfold. I've never read anything like it!
Another book that still resonates with me is Leota's Garden by Francine Rivers. There were several parallels to my own life and family.