The Privileged Life: Books

IMG_8522“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.’” Jeremiah 30:2

One of the greatest joys of my life has been opening a book and diving in. What an immense privilege to be able to read! Our house is happily cluttered with tons of books, old and new.

Since most communities in America have free libraries, we have the privilege of constant indulgence. We can even browse bookshelves from the comfort of home through e-books online or listen to audiobooks.

Still, I love going into libraries and used bookstores just to breathe in the musty and intriguing smells. They’re noisy places—inhabited not by silent paper and cardboard but by the competing voices of a million characters clamoring to be set free by the opening of a first page.

I love a good fiction as well as a good non-fiction, history, or how-to manual. If the writer is a good storyteller, the words and images they conjure will hold me captive. I remember being totally absorbed one summer by a nearly nonstop read of the complete Sherlock Holmes. Carolyn Keene, too, had a profound influence on my early years…I still have all my yellow-edition Nancy Drew books upstairs, waiting for the next generation to read them. Jane Austen and C. S. Lewis continue to thrill me.

As a newbie author (I’ve just published my first book, A Crocus in the Desert), I find that I listen more carefully now as I read, trying to discern what was going on in the writer’s mind when the words flowed out. It’s a new perspective, and I’ve become more challenged than ever to make my writing valuable.

I encourage you today to pick up a new book or finish the old one that’s languishing on your bedside table. Take time this week to travel to unknown lands, drink from a fantasy fountain, or charge onto a battlefield from the comfort of your reading chair. Learn new things, change your attitudes, or smile at a humorous moment. Don’t forget to thank God for these books, their authors, and the people who taught you how to read!

Thank You, Holy Spirit, Author of all talents and words, for the gift of reading. Thank you for giving us the best words ever written, in Your Spirit-breathed Scripture. Remind us that this is a character-building privilege and to choose our books and words carefully. In Your name, Amen.

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