I am reading "Freedom at Midnight" again - this time aloud to Asha and Enoch on the days they are here for lunch (school holidays and Saturdays). It's just as good as it was when I discovered it as a 13 year old.
The joy of reading this book again got me thinking about some of the books which were door-openers to new worlds in my younger days. And then last week one of the current memes circulating on facebook has been asking people to make lists of books. So here I am on a Sunday night thinking about which books have influenced me the most?
Now that I have crossed two score and five years - it's hard to disentangle which books have really influenced me.. but here are some of them at least.
Number 1 is and will continue to be the Holy Bible (I prefer the 1984 NIV version - but try to read other versions occasionally - currently I use the ESV and The Message as well). In fact, the more I read it (and I do a lot) the more it shapes me.
And after this 'Book of Books'? Well now, here we go...
"The Chronicles of Narnia" (I keep changing my mind about which one I like the best) - CS Lewis
"What's So Amazing About Grace?" and "The Jesus I Never Knew" - Philip Yancey
"The Power and the Glory" - Graham Greene
"The Lord of the Rings" - JRR Tolkein
"Midnight's Children" and "Shame" - Salman Rushdie
"Cry the Beloved Country" - Alan Paton
"Gilead" and "Home" - Marilynne Robinson
"Freedom at Midnight" "O Jerusalem" and "Is Paris Burning?" - Dominique LaPierre and Larry Collins
"The Idiot" and "Crime and Punishment" - Fyodor Dostoyevski
"Amusing Ourselves to Death" - Neil Postman
"Resurrection" - Leo Tolstoy
"Till We Have Faces" - CS Lewis
"The Wind in the Willows" - Kenneth Grahame
"Shadowlines" and "In an Antique Land" - Amitav Ghosh
"This Momentary Marriage" - John Piper
"The Soccer War" - Ryzard Kapuscinski
"Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy" - Eric Metaxas
"Savaging the Civilised" and "The Unquiet Woods" - Ramchandra Guha
"Weapons of the Weak" - James Scott
"War in Heaven" - Charles Williams
"Red Sea Sharks" - Herge (hard of course to choose which Tintin book is my favourite, but this one ranks up there)
"To Kill a Mockingbird" - Harper Lee
"Screwtape Letters" - C.S. Lewis
"History of the Second World War" - Winston Churchhill
"The Man Called Intrepid" - William Stevenson
"Carry on Jeeves" (and many others like it) - P.G. Wodehouse
and of course "The Landour Cookbook." I have been up writing this post because the banana nut cake which I made from TLC has been rising in the oven. The good news is that is has come out wonderfully!
So, there we have it, a kind of portrait of me in books.
There are of course many other books, friends which I have made along the way, but I think these are the books that have stuck with me. Most of these tomes are ones that I come back to again and again. Though I do not have the joy of re-reading them a lot (the re-reads tend to be the ones that I am trying to get Asha and Enoch hooked on) these would be the most likely to bubble up in conversation....
I wonder, gentle reader, what books have shaped you?