In January of 1994 Joe J. Christensen gave a devotional address at BYU entitled Resolutions. He says you ought to ask a few respected people who you know are readers to share with you the titles of five books besides the scriptures that they feel had the most positive influence in their lives.
My friend Jodi asked me and I didn't get back to her. Sorry Jodi. But she did get me thinking about this is a serious manor. Five books that had a positive influence on little old me...
well I have them and it's not just five!
I'll rank these by number but don't take that to mean anything:
1. Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan written in the 1600's: This was the first classic I ever read. It was during the first couple of years in New Orleans. I think about 2003. I didn't keep track of my reading back then as I hardly ever read. What I can recall is being able to see a clear picture of what the author wanted me to realize. The burdens that were still strapped across by shoulders. I became consciously aware of the actual physical pain I had in those muscles that span my upper back. I can happily report that the emotional and physical pain is now lifted. It happened during an experience after Hurricane Katrina while living in Ca. It was Christian that I thought of as I had old old old emotions that felt like burdens pulled out of my body.
2. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriett Beecher Stowe written about 1852 just nine years before the American Civil War. This was truly a life changing experience to read. Oh the crying I went through for this wonderful wonderful man called Uncle Tom a slave of the southern way of life yet oh what a Christian he truly was made to be. To be like Uncle Tom...The ending were Tom is beaten by his fellow slaves and forgives them and then they realize who he is , their friend , and they stop but it was too late. Too much damage was done. I felt I went through an emotional catharsis after reading this beautiful life saving novel.
3. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo written 1862 when I think Victor was in exile. It's the ending that affected me most and the pain of not having an understanding for or a hope or even the knowledge of repentance or the atonement in the main two characters lives. My heart and my eyes cried for Jean Valjean and in a way for Javart. It was so long but what kept me going was listening to the music and setting the stage in my mind more clearly. Having more detailed emotions of the characters. What a sad life so many lead in the book and in real life. Look for something better. Remember to look up. Remember to look for the good, assume the best and doubt the bad. Do you hear the people sing? I think one day the people of our nation will have to sing out and stop a number of wrongs that are building up.
4. You better set down to read this; Atlas Shrugged has totally opened my eyes to what is happening in our nation and the development of Socialism. Point blank that's what is is. Since reading Ayn Rand's 1957 publication I can see numerous instances of what she was talking about 50+ years ago. Declining work ethics, "don't blame me" slogans, shortages, government knows best mentality and so forth. Though I think she sounds very creepy as a person she was right one in this novel. This was not like the other books mentioned. I felt a little sick when I finished ( by the way, there are sex scenes. I was driving and listening so I fast forwarded it so I don't know the extent of details) but then I saw or read something that happened in the U.S. and suddenly I could hear a warning going off in my mind, "that was what Rand said would happen in Atlas Shrugged" . Do we really think giant international corporations with headquarters in America are going to say if they have to pay more taxes for the money they earn outside of America? No.
5. Jane Eyre written 1847ish by Charlotte Bronte. I had to read this twice. The second and maybe I read it three times I don't recall now and I'm not going to look for those old notes. What was it about this book? Could be the 2006 BBC production?? Well here's the thing, I have this book and Little Woman by Louis May Alcott both in my fifth spot. In ways I want to develop some of the characteristics of all the woman characters in these two novels. Perhaps these two novels really are in a tie with The 5,000 Year Leap: cried when I was reading about the 17th amendment. I felt that I would have something to change in the future with this amendment. Crazy I know. The Peacegiver, & The LDS 12 Step Program both had helped me and prepared me for great difficulty that came a couple years later. Because I had worked to be forgiven and understood forgiveness somewhat more in my very limited and narrow minded way I knew I could do nothing less for another. The miracle of healing that finally comes when we forgive and allow Jesus and his atonement to go to action for us. All of which have had lasting impressions for my betterment.
There you go. Five and yet not just five. Take it or leave it. I'll continue either way.