Book Wisdom, Bookish Radness

What Book Made You a Reader?

Do you remember the first book that made you a reader? People might guess that mine would either be The Hobbit or The Chronicles of Narnia, but I didn’t encounter Tolkien or Lewis until much later in life (after college). Although, there is a very vague childhood memory of the epic 1970s epic Hobbit cartoon and the most terrifying Gollum to ever be on screen, but I didn’t make the connection until after watching the LOTR movies.

Anyway, there are two books I think of from childhood that I claim as those that made me a reader. One I have no clue the author or title and it was published in the late 80s/early 90s. So good luck finding it – haha! All I can remember is that it was a fantasy book about a young girl who had to leave her castle (I think), go on adventures, and save her family. The cover had her (I think she had a brown braid) and a mountain on it. Possibly included animal sidekicks. If you can help me find that book, I promise to send you every fiction release I’m working on this year.

The other book? The Land I Lost by Quang Nhuong Huynh

I still have my original 1986 version.

I read this book so many times when I was young! I was completely fascinated by Huynh’s stories. How different they were from my own. I loved the stories of his animal encounters (even the scary ones and, after reading it again recently, some violent ones), his pets, the adventures, and the love of his home country. It was so exciting exciting to learn about a culture millions of miles (at least it felt that way to young Jamie) away from Southern California.

I didn’t fully understand all that it meant at that age, but I knew it made me want to learn more about other people, places, and lives. Isn’t that one of the greatest gifts a book gives us?

I’d love to hear from you! What book made you a reader?

Also, if you have kids in your life, GIVE THEM ALL THE BOOKS! You never know which stories will impact them.

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Inklings

My (Current) Top 6 Books Written by J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis

Welcome to the final post of Inklings Week! You can find all the posts here. Thank you for joining in – it’s been a lot of fun and I look forward to next year (which will actually be by International Inklings Day, May 11th)! Think there’s something that should be added for next year? Please share!

Whenever I create any type of “favorites” list, I don’t include books written by Tolkien or Lewis. It wouldn’t be fair to the competition. But since it’s Inklings Week, I wanted to share my current favorites of the boys.

If you’re new to either Tolkien or Lewis, then this post is especially for you, but only because I get the honor of introducing you to some of the best books ever written. It’s a list of my favorites and ones I recommend to folks who are interested reading one of their books for the first time. (If I’ve read it for this blog, then it’s linked up, so you can hear me gush and discuss on those posts.)

Let’s start with Professor Tolkien. How can one adequately put into words just how amazing the creation of Middle Earth is? Before this turns into a gush fest, here’s my current top 3.

  • The Hobbit
  • The Two Towers
  • The Return of the King (Stop by next Wed. for this discussion!)

C.S. Lewis is a bit more difficult. From Narnia to Mere Christianity, how’s a girl to choose? Well, I’m going with the following three. Ask me next month and the list will probably change, but no matter, because these are all excellent ones to start with.

  • The Screwtape Letters
  • The Horse and His Boy
  • The Great Divorce

I’m glad we can all agree that they were geniuses and I look forward to reading more from them!

What are some of your favorite works by Tolkien and/or Lewis?

Inklings

Welcome to Inklings Week (and Why I Love Their Books)!

Ready for a bit of summer fun?! It’s the first ever Inklings Week! I thought of doing a Inklings Week earlier this year around International Inklings Day (it’s not a thing yet, but it shall be!) in May, but the idea popped in my head two days before. All kinds of planning time right? I also didn’t want to wait until 2016, so I figured July was the perfect month! (For all the posts from this year, just go here!)

First, things first – a (hopefully) fun announcement. You’ve already heard this if you subscribe to my quarterly newsletter (which you should totally sign up if you haven’t! It’s all kinds of bookish fun and there’s giveaways. You can here), but if not…there’s an Inklings podcast coming! I’m working on the details (like how I even get this up on iTunes) and material (I’m hoping it won’t be just me talking!) and I’m really excited about it. So if you’re into podcasts, I hope you’ll join in the fun!

There’s plenty of reasons people love the works of Tolkien and Lewis and I’d love to hear why you do! For me? Where to begin right? Their books have shown me what it means to be brave, what it means to be a true and loyal friend until the very end, what it means to love, what it means to fight for good against all odds, and what it means to embrace what you were meant to do.

Their books have also helped me realize it’s okay to wrestle with faith, to understand God’s character in ways I didn’t see before, how to hope in the most dire of circumstances and that there’s always a chance to turn back.

They wrote more than just books. They left a legacy (of their lives and their stories) that will continue to impact generations to come.

I love knowing I can always come back to them and be amazed. Sigh…I just love them.

So please, fellow fans, share below! Why do you enjoy reading Tolkien and Lewis?

Love and Faith

The Valley of Vision

A couple of years ago around Christmas, my church did a sermon series based upon prayers from this book. It was an incredible series. Valley of Vision is composed of prayers and meditations that have been a great edition to my devotional times.

While I could probably type out every day’s prayer, here’s a few of my favorites:

Take of the things of Christ and show them to my soul;
Through thee may I daily learn more of His love, grace, compassion, faithfulness, beauty;
Lead me to the cross and show me his wounds, the hateful nature of evil, the power of Satan;
May I see my sins as
the nails that transfixed Him,
the cords that bound Him,
the thorns that tore Him,
the sword that pierced Him.
Help me to find in His death the reality and immensity of His love.
– The Spirit’s Work

Increase my faith in the clear knowledge of
atonement achieved,
expiation completed,
satisfaction made,
guilt done away,
my debt paid,
my sins forgiven,
my person redeemed,
my soul saved,
hell vanquished,
heaven opened,
eternity made mine.
– The Spirit’s Work

Yet thy compassions yearn over me,
thy heart hastens to my rescue,
thy love endured my curse,
thy mercy bore my deserved stripes.
The Precious Blood

Thy name is excellent,
thy glory high,
thy compassions unfailing,
thy condescension wonderful,
thy mercy tender.
– Living for Jesus

Grant me never to lose sight of
the exceeding sinfulness of sin,
the exceeding righteousness of salvation,
the exceeding glory of Christ,
the exceeding beauty of holiness,
the exceeding wonder of grace.
– Continual Repentance

I thank thee for the temporal blessings of this world –
the refreshing air,
the light of the sun,
the food that renews strength,
the raiment that clothes,
the dwelling that shelters,
the sleep that gives rest,
the starry canopy of night,
the summer breeze,
the flowers’ sweetness,
the music of flowing streams,
the happy endearments of family, kindred, friends.
Things animate, things inanimate, minister to my comfort.
My cup runs over.
– Evening Praise

Strengthen me to give thee no rest until Christ shall reign supreme within me,
in every thought, word and deed,
in faith that purifies the heart,
overcomes the world,
works by love,
fastens me to thee,
and ever clings to the cross.
– Meeting God

Have you ever heard of Valley of Vision? What do you think of some of these meditations? I hope you are encouraged like I was!