Our parents shape our view. Our teachers in school and church influence us. Our friends also play a valuable role in how we see ourselves and how we view those like us and not like us.
In last week’s post, I shared how the movies we watch reflect the theme of our lives. If you missed that post CLICK HERE. Certainly movies “feed” our understanding of the people and can play a vital role in shaping our worldview. Many of those movies start out as books.
I’m a writer. I recognize the power of the printed word. We’ve heard stories of history being changed because of the influence of writing first appearing in newspapers. We’ve witnessed lives changed after reading compelling literature. I know and understand the power of the printed word.
As a child, the Little Golden Book Heidi encouraged me to care for others. The Nancy Drew series told me women could be brave, independent, and smart. Jo March in Little Women was a tomboy as well as a want-to-be writer. Just. Like. Me.
What books have shaped you into the adult you are now?
The printed word continues to feed and challenge us. We soak it in… be it a short text on Facebook, a longer post on a blog or newsfeed, or a book. Words in print hold us captive. The impression is strong. And lasting.
What we pick up to read and, perhaps more importantly, what we choose to put down and ignore, speaks to our character and our understanding of the world around us.
For example, have you ever put a book down because the content was dark or inflammatory? I have. Why would I want to clutter my brain with images of hatred and violence?
Have you put a book down because the language was coarse? I don’t need to fill my mind with explicative words that add no value to the story. I don’t need that sort of language to show me the “bad guys.” I can tell by their actions. And yes, actions do speak louder than words.
What I choose to read fuels my thinking. If I choose inspiring works and works of hope, I will be inspired and hopeful.
Don’t misunderstand. I don’t read a lot of fluffy, pie in the sky novels. One of the most challenging books I ever read is Safely Home by Randy Alcorn. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. It changed my worldview.
I like many of John Grisham’s works. Through the years I’ve enjoyed Ken Follett’s work and was fully engaged in Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy when it came out. These aren't "little old lady" novels.
I like mysteries, thrillers, romance, biographies, historical fiction and nonfiction. I like it all. But I’ll put a book down if it isn’t good. Not like my husband.
I don’t remember the book’s title, but Tom once plowed through a book, put it down when he finally finished and said, “That will be a classic.”
“Really?” I asked. I picked the book up off the table and turned it over to read the back cover blurb.
“Yeah, it was just like one of those boring books your high school English teacher tells you is a classic but you just don’t get it. Don’t waste your time.”
There are books worth spending your time reading.
Every year or so, I attempt to read through the complete works of Shakespeare. I never make it. I like some of his writing, but not all. I can’t seem to embrace sprites and nymphs and witches. So even though I have many friends who tell me I must read his entire collection of stories and plays, I don’t. I read the ones I like. It doesn’t seem worth my time to read the stranger ones. I know I’ll keep trying if for no other reason than to say I did it, but I’m not there yet.
One book I do read through every year is the Bible. Not in one sitting. I don’t use one of those printed plans. There’s nothing wrong with them, but I choose to start at the beginning and read through to the end. Sometimes it takes me longer than twelve months. Sometimes less. Curiously enough, no matter what is happening in the world in general or in my life in particular, wherever I am in my reading speaks both to me, and the situation at hand.
For example, I was in the Old Testament when the COVID-19 pandemic came to light. I had just finished reading about plagues and problems the Egyptians and the Israelites endured. I was in the New Testament by the time we were facing social injustice issues in the U.S. I was reading the words Jesus spoke and the words Paul wrote about reconciliation.
The question remains: What are you reading? How is it shaping your thinking RIGHT now? I’d love to hear from you.
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