On the Bookshelf · The Encouragement Corner

Wordy Wednesday: The Most Memorable Books Every Person Should Read (Part 2)

“The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think.”
– Harper Lee

Books. They’re the things that can take you on a thousand journeys while you sit in your living room. For that, I’m so thankful Johannes Gutenberg invented the movable-type printing press. Here is a continuation of last week’s post, “The Most Memorable Books Every Person Should Read (Part 1)

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God” by Francis Chan
What a challenging & eye-opening read. I read this book while I was going through a very difficult and doubt-filled time in my faith in Christ. I had been struggling with a hard 1st year of teaching & many other stresses in life. I read this book over a period of a year or so, but finally finished it in the summer of 2013. I paired this book with the book of Romans from the Bible, & it was incredible. Between reading this book, reading Romans, & watching my husband act out Christ’s love in our marriage (read more on that story here), it all finally began to sink in. I have no memory of the words I actually read, but that summer, I remember just kneeling down on our living room floor & breaking down in tears. I finally understood the Gospel of Christ. That I am loved even though I do not & cannot ever deserve it. It was incredible, the feeling of grief of my own actions, the relief of utter forgiveness, & the desire to love & follow Christ- to live that out in my life. It hasn’t been an easy road & I’m still learning, but this was a first step.
Favorite Quotes:
“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”

“Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin.” 

“We need to stop giving people excuses not to believe in God. You’ve probably heard the expression ‘I believe in God, just not organized religion’. I don’t think people would say that if the church truly lived like we are called to live.”

“Something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers.”

“Can you worship a God who isn’t obligated to explain His actions to you? Could it be your arrogance that makes you think God owes you an explanation?” 

“We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.”

Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott
This has got to be one of my all-time favorite books. Honestly, it’s probably tied with “To Kill a Mockingbird” & “The Hiding Place” in the top spot for favorite books. I read this book around Christmas of 2014. It’s a long read, but it is so worth it. It is fascinating how Alcott takes you on a journey observing the growth & changes that take shape in the lives of all the sisters in the family. By the time I finished reading I could say for certain that at some point in my growing-up days I had been just like each of the sisters. And the mother in the story is precious. Her wisdom & quietness in handling stress, discipline, anger, love, & her family as a whole, is incredible. I remember thinking I wanted to be just like her one day. As soon as I finished the book I purchased a copy that I will hopefully be able to read with my own little girl, one day.
Favorite Quotes:
“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

“I like good strong words that mean something…”

“Love Jo all your days, if you choose, but don’t let it spoil you, for it’s wicked to throw away so many good gifts because you can’t have the one you want.”

“My child, the troubles and temptations of your life are beginning, and may be many; but you can overcome and outlive them all if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthly one. The more you love and trust Him, the nearer you will feel to Him, and the less you will depend on human power and wisdom. His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the source of lifelong peace, happiness, and strength. Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, and hopes, and sins, and sorrows, as freely and confidingly as you come to your mother.” 

“Watch and pray, dear, never get tired of trying, and never think it is impossible to conquer your fault.”

“I want to do something splendid…something heroic or wonderful that won’t be forgotten after I’m dead. I don’t know what, but I’m on the watch for it and mean to astonish you all someday.” 

The Hunger Games Series” by Suzanne Collins
Ahhh, I had to put these on here. I read these three books the early part of 2014. I read all three in about 2 weeks time. I could not put them down. Each book was a desperate page-turner to find out what happened next…but book 3? Oh me. When I finished it, I almost wished I had never read it. It was so sad, but honestly, maybe that’s why books that don’t always end in rainbows & butterflies are so good…because they’re real. They are life. Life doesn’t always end with the hero coming out without a scratch, or the guy getting the girl. Life has pain & sorrow, but part of what makes it so worth it & so beautiful is the recovery & moving on…moving on to the future despite the past. These books are also an incredible reminder of the dangers of giving up too much of our freedoms for the sake of security or trust.

Favorite Quotes:
“Destroying things is much easier than making them.”

“Kind people have a way of working their way inside me and rooting there.” 

“For there to be betrayal, there would have to have been trust first.” 

To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
I read this book for the first time last summer. I so wish that I had read it earlier. I think overall, my most favorite part was when I realized the meaning of the title. In the story, Jem wants a bb gun. He’s warned that it’s okay to shoot blue jays because they destroy the eggs of other songbirds, but you shouldn’t shoot a mockingbird because all the mockingbird does is sing beautiful music for you. It took me a while, but I finally made the connection to Tom Robinson’s arrest & death. All he ever did was help people & work hard, but out of someone’s sin & shame, he got blamed & destroyed for it. To kill a mockingbird is to remove a little bit of kindness, innocence, & beauty from the world. To hurt or destroy someone who is innocent is to do the same thing.Favorite Quotes:
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

“Atticus said to Jem one day, “I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. “Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

“Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of (another)… There are just some kind of men who – who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.”

What books have left an imprint on your heart, mind, & life?

3 thoughts on “Wordy Wednesday: The Most Memorable Books Every Person Should Read (Part 2)

  1. Wonderful post! “1984” probably left the biggest impact on me. On a more fun note, I’ve always loved “The Hobbit” and “The Chronicles of Narnia” series.

    1. Awesome! Thanks so much for the input. I’ve read the other two you mentioned so I’ll have to add those to another “Most Memorable” day. Thanks!

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