Saturday, November 20, 2010

New Favorite Story

I love books. I have had many favorites. When I was in high school it was Tale of Two Cities. Then in college I was captured by biographies and loved Through Gates of Splendor. When I was pregnant with Victoria To Kill A Mockingbird became my favorite (I finished it in the hospital when she was born!). In the late nineties I became obsessed with Jon Krakauer and Into Thin Air (a must read for all non-fiction fans) and read all of his books and went on to read anything about Mount Everest that I could get my hands on.

I am usually a non-fiction girl. But around 2000 I started rereading some of those books that I had been assigned to read in high school... you know, the ones you just couldn't like because that wouldn't have been cool - to actually like homework. So I began to devour John Steinbeck's books. East of Eden is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. It is long, dark, and distrubing but but billiantly crafted. His imagery of the land still stirs something deep in me. Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday are highly enjoyable.

And it would be just wrong to omit Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice is a smartly written book about a witty, intelligent woman and how she views society around her. It is a must read along with Sense and Sensibility.

While exploring a bookstore in my hometown in Kentucky I came across the Memory of Old Jack, a Wendell Berry book. Wow! I proceeded to read Jayber Crow immediately. Mr. Berry's words, thoughts, and descriptions have change many of the ways I see life. My previous definitions of selflessness and faithfulness were altered. Mr. Berry spoke of fidelity. That is an old word with a very relevant meaning - the idea of loyalty, steadfastness and constancy to a person, to a community, to a standard or commitment. I cannot recommend enough his short story entitled Fidelity, in the book by the same title.

My all time favorite book is now Hannah Coulter. Every person should read this book. Immediately. Now. Go directly out and buy a copy or check it out at the library!. Hannah tells the story of her life. It is her "giving thanks". Here Mr. Berry shares his feelings for a day gone by. Not that he or I want that time to return. But that time should be examined and good gleaned from it. Love is spoken of and celebrated. You will be moved.

I will post some of my favorite quotes in the near future.

So - those are my favorites. What are your favorites?

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