Monday, October 09, 2006

Blog Challenge: Desert Island Books

Thanks to jtc for posting this question on ScrapShare and inspiring this week's blog challenge!
"If you were stranded on a desert island, what three books would you want to have with you?" My challenge to you is to answer that question, and then answer these as well: Why those three books? And what are your favorite quotes from those books?

1. The Little Prince by Antoine St. Exupery. I first read this book in 11th grade, I think, but it could've been 12th. It was on the "library bookshelf" in my French class, and I checked it out. It was love at first read. I soon bought my own copy and have read it dozens of times since. When Dani was little, I read it to her, and she now owns her own copy. When Darren and I went to Paris in 2001, Dani was 10 years old. She asked for a souvenir. Not a miniature Eiffel Tower or a tshirt or any other silly thing, no - she asked for a copy of The Little Prince in French. And so she got it. :) It's a beautiful story that reveals the deepest truths using the simplest words. It's bittersweet and heartwarming at the same time; everytime I read it, I take life slower for a few days, and I notice the flowers. My favorite quote from the book:
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.


"What makes the desert beautiful," says the little prince, "is that somewhere it hides a well."

2. Sacajawea. I've always been a voracious reader. When I was little, I'd get in trouble for reading after bedtime. But I wouldn't be stopped. I remember crawling under my covers and holding a flashlight flat to the page, only being able to read a few words at a time as I moved the flashlight back and forth, left to right, across the pages. It's no wonder my eyesight it so bad! My parents are avid readers, too, but that wasn't always so.

I remember the first book my Mom read for fun. I don't know what made her pick it up, but it was at the grocery store. I remember that. It was HUGE. 1400 pages. In paperback. She read it late into the night for weeks. After that, she couldn't stop. She read. And read. And read. Soon, she talked my Dad into reading Sacajawea. The thing about my Dad is, he's a DOER. He's always busy - working, puttering, fixing, doing. He thought sitting and reading would drive him crazy. But this Sacajawea book interested him. (Dad's always been a history buff.) He began reading it at night after crawling into bed, and when he finished its 1400 pages, he was hooked on reading, too.

Both Mom and Dad read more than I do these days. They buy books by the dozen at garage sales, and then resale them once they've read them. They're members of several book clubs. They read when they go camping, which cracks me up. They read on the back porch. They read in bed. Mom ALWAYS has a book splayed open on the chair next to her recliner. The funny thing is, I remember THEM reading the book, and I always thought I'd read it myself someday. I still haven't done that. That's why I'd choose it as one of my desert island picks.

3. The Bible. I know that sounds trite, but let me elaborate. I want a parallel Bible - one with a modern English translation alongside the original Hebrew and Greek. I'd want to spend time studying what phrases and words mean in their original language, because sometimes the deeper meaning is totally lost in our modern translations. It's a sad thing to admit, but I don't have "time" to read the Bible. I mean, SURE. I read it when I'm looking for something or seeking advice, or when I'm doing a specific Bible study. But just for pleasure? No. I don't go to the Bible. I often stand in front of my packed bookshelves and mutter, "I need a new book. There's nothing here to read." When right there in front of me is the greatest book of all time. WHY do I not pick it up and delve in? Why why why?

I can't choose a favorite quote from the Bible. But I can most definitely choose a favorite passage. It's all of Romans 8. I was baptized at the age of 12, and my mind understood what I was doing. Even my heart had an idea of what it all meant. But my true conversion didn't happen until I was 21. I was sitting on a twin bed in the poorly lit bedroom of a dingy apartment in Denton, Texas. I read Romans 8, and though I'd read it before, it was that night that I finally understood what mercy and grace and HOPE meant. It was that night that I realized that my life was not bounded by rules and regulations and punishments and fear, but rather, set free by grace and mercy and hope and life. LIFE. That night, I began living. I long for that peace again. I long for the hot tears and the soft heart and the pierced soul that understanding afforded me all those years ago. I long for a deserted island, and The Book. And yes... now that I think of it, I *do* have a favorite quote from it:

Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I'm off to bed. I wonder what I'll read tonight....

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