A few months back my dad brought me a book to borrow and said, "You'll like this one." I set it next to my bed and there it sat for quite awhile. I had other books that had grabbed my interest and that could wait. Eventually I picked up the book so that I could tell my dad I had read it. No interest in it at all, until I read the first couple of pages.
At Home In Mitford by Jan Karon is a fascinating slice of small town life through the eyes of Father Tim, the rector of a small Episcopalian church in Mitford, N.C. Immediately I was swept down Main Street, feeling sure I knew some of the people and shops. And what a delight to find God's Word sprinkled on the pages of a book. I am now on the fourth book of the series, Out to Canaan, and while I don't want any plot spoilers here, I can tell you that the series is as captivating on the 47th page of the fourth book as I found it on those first couple pages.
A few years back some of my girlfriends from church were reading the Yada Yada Prayer Group series by Neta Jackson. I loved those too. Have you read those? A whole series built around women thrust together (in a prayer group) at a conference. They choose to keep their prayer group together after the conference and it is the story of their lives (and those around them). Fun books, with an honest look at life in this fallen world of ours with great friendships and women trying to remain true to the God who has brought them together.
I love books. I could write for days about the characters I've known, the far off lands I've memorized and the moments in history that I have been a witness to. As child I found a kindred spirit in Anne Shirley (of Anne of Green Gables and every book that followed in the series by LM Montgomery). I longed for her to find a home with Marilla & Matthew. I adored Gilbert Blythe and was overcome when they finally professed their love for each other. How I knew their little house near the sea like my own.
I knew every inch of Narnia -- from Cair Paravel to the land of Spare Oom to the Lone Islands. I knew the feel of Aslan's fur, the comfort and fear his breath would bring to my very soul and the sound of his voice. I sailed with Reep-i-Cheep (my Dad's favorite character to this day) and the rest of the Dawn Treader crew. I was fascinated by how a Lion's breath could make a street lamp grow in the midst of an oasis. And I waited, and waited, for my animals to talk...knowing that they too were just Narnians who had been so badly treated and forgotten over the years that they just didn't talk to us.
I sat in the snow of Poker Flat. I've struggled to keep a fish lashed to my small boat. I stood atop a barricade on a dirty, blood soaked street. I've been to giant country and tried a frobscottle. I helped put rolled up papers in place of Ramona's daddy's cigarettes...to help convince him to quit. I have played in the Secret Garden. I nearly keeled over with excitement as the cupboard was opened to reveal a real live Indian. I have flown above Neverland. I found out what happened to the Anasazi on top of the mesa. I've fallen in love with books with a fireman contracted to destroy them. I grieved over Beth's death. I rode on the Great Glass Elevator. I held my breath as Tao fought off the bears after Bodger was hurt. I laughed at the antics of a yellow lab as he took on life. I've sobbed with a birthmother reunited with her child.
How I love books, my friends...to get lost in another world with the turn of every page.
The ability to transport someone to another place and time. To write so that someone cries with you or laughs at you. Or remembers the plight of your characters years after they put the book down...that's talent. God-given talent. How I wish I had that in me!
Both of our kids love books. There have been times when we go into check on Isabel and find her asleep on more books than mattress. And Paxton has started "reading" to himself. I hope they too enjoy getting lost in the pages of a good book. Who knows...maybe someday they will read one of my books to their kids!