fiction

Books to Strengthen Resolve and Inspire Integrity

While I love fantasy, I didn't truly delve into it until well into high school. My Dad had whet my appetite with The Hobbit and stories from The Lord of the Rings, and we read Lawhead's Dragon King trilogy together as a bedtime story when I was 8 or so... but as we lived in France, far from libraries of English-speaking books, I read in French and what we had around the house (and what I got for Christmas!). The French aren't known for their fantasy or sci-fi (with the notable exception of Jules Verne). My favorite genre was historical fiction; my bread-and-butter and dearest joy. Sure, I loved mysteries, but they never impacted me like history did. I was forever changed by reading "La Jeunesse d'Une Petite Reine" (the youth of a little queen), a history of Mary, Queen of Scots-- it was the first book to make me cry, and birthed in me a lifelong love for the monarchies and family trees of Europe.

Books to Stir the Imagination

Originally published 4/6/09, updated 4/15/2011:

For any parents or doting uncles out there, here is a list of books I've personally read and highly recommend. These will draw in the young mind and foster wholesome imagination, creative thinking, as well as moral fibre. I've got several young friends & cousins who have served as my "test audience" over the years, too. All but one of them are BOYS, the oldest of whom is now a teenager. SO if they like it, you know it's good! I hope to upload full reviews of all of these relatively quickly. If there are books you think I've left off, please comment or email me!

Favorite Picture Books

A love for books starts early; when little eyes see pages turning in another's hands and watch eyes scan across little black dots. Literary love is kindled in a parent's lap, as pictures appear and exciting words are spoken clearly in a small, eager ear.

It's so fun for me to watch my one-year-old daughter pick up her books, and "read" them, with cadenced, expressive jabberings, or at times with silent changes of expression, as if she really is thinking about what is happening in the pictures. I love watching her "read" books I've read to her repeatedly, and hear her say the few words she knows at the appropriate spots, or make the noises I always do at a particular picture (a munching sound at a picture of a frog catching a fly, for instance).

A friend recently asked me for a list of fun books for little kids, and here is what I came up with (in no particular order):

G. K. Chesterton on Fantasy & Fiction

"Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."

"People wonder why the novel is the most popular form of literature; people wonder why it is read more than books of science or books of metaphysics. The reason is very simple; it is merely that the novel is more true than they are."

"Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity."
— G.K. Chesterton

Love this guy. If you enjoy C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien, check out this lesser-read Inkling. Try The Wisdom of Father Brown or the more heady The Man Who Was Thursday.

Imagination

It's been hot and humid-- the kind of days in which you seem constantly to be...there's just no other way to say it: salty! Good training for the mission field, I keep telling myself. It's nice not having to work just right now. I've got PLENTY of work. =D

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