Recently, I posted a blog called A Box of Books. After digging through my computer files and going back to Barns and Nobles old site, I discovered that my precious list is long gone, so I, like you have had to rebuild my list from scratch.
What I have found is that a box of books says a world about the owner. It is a testament to who they are, what they believe, their loves, their passions, their dreams, and who they would like to be.
Welcome to me.
The Holy Bible – NASB (preferred version) This would be the first book of choice and the last book placed in my box. This book has been the center of my faith and of who I am since my youth. It has been my source of strength and of solace. I have had a blast with it, too. Itis a book that has it all… children’s stories about hero’s, giants and stories of love. It is full of love, lust, stories of infidelity, incest, rape, pillage, back-stabbing, thieves, and just about everything horrid you could think of about man, but it is also a story of redemption. As my daughter has spent the last eleven years studying the history and ancient languages from the very beginning of recorded time before even Hebrew was a language, we have come to have even more enjoyment and fun with the discoveries she has made in her studies as to compare with what we have always understood and read. In truth, it is a book without a beginning and without an end.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – I discovered Jane when I was in junior high or high school. With my first reading, I fell in love with her character and her longing to be loved. She has been a constant companion and for many years was a book I read at least once a year. It was the repeated reading of Jane Eyre where I learned that you never read the same book, even though you pick up and read the same pages time and again. Every time I have read Jane, I have found a new subtly or found myself looking at the story from a new perspective, thus giving the old story a new coat of polish to enjoy the story anew. I have even managed to gather together a complete collection of variations of the movie, back to the 1930;s edition.
Bound Book of Family Recipes and Basic Cooking – This collection would be a self -published bound book of all the recipes from all the sources I have used, and the family has loved, through the years. It would contain information on canning, dehydration, basic gardening, herbs, medicinal herbs, cooking and baking substitutions, a list of what is necessary to operate a good basic kitchen, a basic pantry list, how to FIFO a pantry, and anything else that I can locate that would be of value for a remote self-sufficient kitchen..
The ABCs of Knitting and Crochet – This volume has the basics to make most anything. Once you master the basic skills, your imagination is the limit. There are many “ABC” books, the one I choose would be comprehensive in nature and not a beginner’s book, but one that focused on the comprehensive skills needed to make the many items you can make, such as clothing, blankets, rugs, lace curtains, etc.
An Anthology of Great Poetry – From selection from Homer to Kubla Kahn and Shakespeare, a collection of the World’s Greatest Verse. Nothing soothes the soul like a fire in the hearth, a glass of wine and a book of verse to keep you company for the evening. I love the measured cadence and rise and fall of a well read poem. It calls to the soul and draws the hearts spirit out to enjoy an evening of relaxation, to lift the spirit from the drudgery of the daily grind to give us eyes to a nether world of sound and delight brought about by the magic of the spinning of words across a page and the mixing of denotation and connotation to bring one to a higher plane of thought – or simply put, there’s more there than what is printed on the paper.
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – A story that never grows old from the reading, or telling. One that is ageless for the young and the old.
The Divine Comedy by Dante – I love what Dante did with his descriptions of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven is masterful. I first read “Hell” when I was in high school, as required reading. I was mesmerized. He taught me about what it meant for punishment to fit the crime. I well remember the spirited arguments we had about multiple acts of sin and where would one go. We gave our poor teacher “hell”, pardon the pun. Swallowed by life, I have never completed the entire work, so The Divine Comedy would definitely come along because I still want to finish the work and read it again and again… then would start the evening discussions with my dear husband.
Black/Red/ White/Green by Ted Dekker – The adult version of The Chronicles of Narnia. But this Sci-fi fantasy thriller goes into the future instead of falling into the past. I could not wait for each of the next in the series to come out. The set is a complete circle. No matter which book you pick up, it flows to the next book, logically and fluidly: black to red to white to green to black.
The Illiad and the Odysses by Homer – What is it they say? Legends are based on fact, muddied by time. Ah, so how do we look at the reading of Homer’s great works? They are wonderful, but I will say they are nothing until you have seen them performed in the true Greek style (the round). It is an unforgettable experience and brings a new appreciation of the plays. My children and I had the privilege of seeing the first Act of the Illiad by Homer, performed by the London Shakespeare Troupe who was touring the U.S. back in the mid 90s. I had to drag them to the play with brides of pizza afterwards, but once it started, they were mesmerized and did not move till it was over. Then they were devastated that they were not doing Act II.
Yes, once exposed to an excellent rendition of a phenomenal literary classic, a door to the heart and mind are forever open. It worked!.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Need I say more? This is the quintessential of the Austen books. It was actually a hard choice between this and Persuasion. My personal leaning is Persuasion, but I feel this is the lighter of the two. There is more humor in P&P than in Persuasion. For the long term of reading and re-reading, I feel that more enjoyment would be forthcoming from P&P.
Wish You Well by David Baldacci – Wish You Well is not your typical Baldacci novel. In fact, it was a 180 from his normal fair, at the time he wrote it. I first read it in 2000 and picked up the 20 plus hour audio for a long trip to the east coast. We all laughed, cried and silently listened as the story unfolded about the two young children and their great grandmother in the mountains of Virginia in the 1930s. It was so well enjoyed, that by unanimous vote, it was listened to a second time on the way back home. Wish you well is a story of family, of love, and of hope. It is great for reading aloud, as well as for the reading again and again and again.
Ann of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – I have my great, great, great Aunt’s copy of Anne of Green Gables. Who knows if this is one of her books that came out in the box, or if she ordered it through the general store for my great, great Aunt Jen. I can still remember Aunt Jen reading Ann to me when I was five and six years old. My daughter grew-up with Ann of Green Gables. Later, when I had a friend in the final stages of brain cancer, I would go over to his house and read to him from the book, using the voices of Ann Shirley of the PBS series. He loved it. (I heard later that he informed his wife that she had to do it the same way. LOL) Ann is someone I can never tire of. She is still who I curl up with when I am sick in bed with a bad cold.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman – We all have seen the movie. Yes it has been 30 years now. My children grew up with the movie and the book, which was one of our first “big” read-every-night family stories. Once again, having seen the movie multiple times, the voices were imperative. This is one book that the movie followed implicitly. It is written in three voices: the third person, the author, and the author’s aside. If you thought the movie was funny… I have never tired of this novel, and love the 30th Anniversary Edition that I recently picked up with it’s added chapters that brought on more Goldman hilarity.
Socrates and Sozomene Ts Ecclesiastical Histories – Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Series II: Vol. 2: Socrates Scholasticus and Sozomen: Ecclesiastical Histories This has always been a time period of personal interest that both my husband and I have loved to dig into as we have come across works that have become more readily available in the recent years. It is a discussion of religion vs. power and politics. Greed vs. piety. What happened between 35 A.D. and Martin Luther? When and where did the focus of religion and worship change? We love to read, debate, and read some more. It is not a matter of faith for us. It is a matter of history and the morality of man, past and present.
History from the Dawn of Civilization – or an equivalent text. There is always discussion at our house around the kitchen table. When did that happen? Where did that happen? Who was? Etc. What I want to take is a comprehensive (as compact as possible) tomb with the most bang for my buck.
The first time I put this list together, I went through and selected 15 novels. That was hard enough. How many volumes of books had I read and re-read over the years. How many books sat on the shelf, with dog eared pages from the turning of the leaves?
Then after the Barns and Noble weeks long discussion, I realized, that if I could only take fifteen books, that I had need for more reading than just my pleasure. I needed to think about potential day-to-day needs. Remember, we were going to a remote location with limited outside contact. Out came a couple of books and in went a cookbook and a needlework book.
Then after some more thought, I realized that literature was not my only pursuit of extensive reading that I did… Look around at my shelves. They were lined with reference material for music, history, religion, culinary arts, fiber arts, counseling, and the subjects went on. My box was not big enough.
Out came a couple more books and in went a comprehensive book on history, and ancient history. Both of these subjects were sure to be pored over again and again, with many evenings of discussion and arguments. If it had been my husband’s box, he would have tossed Anne of Green Gables and replaced it with a book on gardening or or food sources in remote areas (hunting, fishing, etc). Over all, I think the books would have served us well.
As to my ancestral box of books, they are packed away, so an exact listing is not available, but I do remember:
The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Coleridge
Mc Beth by William Shakespeare
A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens
The Little Colonel by A.F. Johnston
The Secret Garden by F.H. Burnett
The Man With Out a Country by E.E. Hale
A Primer for Spelling
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
I apologize that I cannot remember the remainder of the titles. They were all small books with almost microscopic print. Most were less than a quarter to half inch thick and measured about four by six inches in size. Her box must have been very small, but she had to pack very compactly.
Having presented my list of books, I now invite you, to present your list of books, as a comment, or as a guest blog. We would all be interested. Comments are encouraged. As I discovered last time, after great discussion, my choices for my box changed.
Future Guests looking forward to sharing their thoughts on their BOX OF BOOKS
Would you like to post your list and share your thoughts about why these books are important? Drop me a line @ firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to set you up for a guest blog for our continuing series A BOX OF BOOKS.