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  • Writer's pictureValerie

Stories that Stuck

In life we are often defined by the things that we do, but I believe the things that we do are influenced by the books that we read. And the books we read say a lot about who we are. So in the launch of my website/blog, I want to tell you a little about who I am by sharing my top ten favorite books.

Don’t stop reading because the first boon on my top ten is required High School Reading. I am a big advocate for reading a book before seeing a movie rendition. I know I'm a glutton for punishment. But when Jim Caviezel, a college 'star crush', was to be the lead in the 2002 adaptation of Dumas’ book, I decided why not read the classic first. I was blown away with the details and depth of characters. The intricacies and planning of Edmund Dantes to enact his revenge catapulted me through the pages. While of course the movie was a bit disappointing on some levels, the book showed me why the classics are so important to invest in.

If ever there was a character in a book that I related to most, it would be Jo March. Even more than Anne Shirley, who I’ll talk about further on in this post. Jo March was a dreamer, socially awkward, strong-willed young women with a strong devotion to family. I still feel that we would have been great friends, and her journey to write and be published is not all that different than my own. One line in the book speaks to me every time. A man in the boarding house Jo is governess in says, ‘you would have made a great lawyer, Miss March’, and Jo replies ‘I would have been a great many things’.

This guy’s brain weirds me out in some of his books, but the Circle Series is a modern day Narnia. It is an amazing allegory of our sin and need for salvation from out own selves within a broken world. The back and forth between two realities in the first book are a little trippy, but once you connect with the new ‘world’ it is a fanciful journey of discovery.

I don’t think I have found a Michael Crichton book I haven’t liked. But I read this for the first time as extra credit in 7th grade. (Read for extra credit was an easy yes-Yep I’m that person) The suspense and amount of details were almost tangible, as well as the science behind it all. Michael Crichton was infamous for the research he did for his books, and all that work paid off in a book that made Dinosaurs possible.

I can’t put my finger on when my love of horse became my world, or even what about horses drew my obsession. But I was a horse girl through and through during my elementary years. So when I had the chance to read Black Beauty, I was smitten. To see the world from a horse’s point of view was inspiring and heart wrenching all at the same time. Not unlike the social commentary of Charles Dickens, Sewell gave us another look at the society of Victorian England. To belong and be loved is Black Beauty’s goal in the whole book, which is so similar to our own desires in our human lives. Hence why this book is an amazing Classic.

This a book every read head must read. It is the quint-essential coming of age/coming to terms with who you are book. Let’s just say that having red hair makes you automatically different, which leads to the need to stand up for yourself and almost embrace the ‘fiery-redhead’ persona. Anne was the strong-willed, determined girl I wanted to be, and I felt like a grew up and failed along side her as I turned through the pages.

This book is amazing. My parents raved about it when it first came out, and I was always curious to read it. I am thankful for my parents’ discernment that I didn’t read it till I was in my twenties, but despite the hard parts in the book it is a book full of deep characters, passion, and history. Cathedrals and history have always been a fascination for me, and this book gave me a story behind all those men and families involved in building the amazing structures we enjoy today.

This book helped me see the truth of Hebrews 4:12, that ‘the word or God is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” This really made the spiritual world tangible for me as well as revealed the devalue we have on the act of prayer, which still challenges me today.

Of all the books above this is the book I’ve read the most. I’ve read it, my husband read it to my pregger belly three times, and I’ve read it to my kids a few times now. Again, another amazing allegory of the Gospel and Aslan is an amazing symbol of Christ. “not a tame lion.” ‘Scary, yes, but he is good.” To be a fly on the wall when C.S. Lewis wrote this book would be any writer dream.

Okay, I am usually not a person who enjoys romances novels, but this one spoke to my heart on so many levels. Like I’ve said before historical fiction and even more Biblical fiction are some of my favorite books, and because of that love I picked up this one. It is a fictional retelling of Rehab the harlot and how she became the wife of the Israel leader Salome. It speaks such richness into our human natures and our (or just my) need for acceptance and love. Between the lines of the story you see the gospel and God’s desire to redeem his people. I can’t recommend this one enough.

So now you know a little, or maybe a lot about me. And if your still here you might have a few favorite books of your own. So what makes your favorite book(s) list?


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