Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Influential Authors

Ok, after talking about Job yesterday I thought perhaps something a little more on the "light" side was in order today.

For starters, I thought I'd answer a couple of questions I've been asked recently:

1. Am I watching this season of The Biggest Loser?

No. I am not. The idea of watching a bunch of larger-sized people running around and being very active, and then throwing up afterward, was somehow unappealing to me in my present condition. Perhaps next season.

2. Do I have any good "recreational" Christmas reads to recommend?

Yes. I do. Stay tuned. I'm excited. (Because it's about Christmas, of course!)

Next up, Barbara H. offered a little game in which we are to list 15 Influential authors in our lives. We're not supposed to think very hard about this and I didn't have to think too deeply for the most part. But I wanted to add, er, commentary. SO..without further ado...15 authors that have been influential in my life, beginning from the age of 14.

1. "Carolyn Keene" - "She" spurred my imagination and offered hours of pretend play for my best friend and I growing up.

2. R.C. Sproul - I don't know what my friends were reading when we were teens, but I was reading R.C. Sproul. I read every book of his that I could get my hands on and debated such things with my peers (when they'd let me) such as, "What do you believe about predestination?" and learned words like "transubstantiation." Partly because it added to my vocabulary and mostly because I really cared. R.C. Sproul helped me to grapple with these issues.

3. Elizabeth Prentiss - I read Stepping Heavenward when I was teen as well and determined myself to be something of an Elsie Dinsmore when I was becoming wiser. (I didn't know who Dinsmore was, btw, and I never felt a connection to her and still don't.) Ask me how many friends I had that understood me growing up.

4. Elizabeth George - When I was 17 I discovered Elizabeth George and she really inspired me to develop my relationship with God. I have a soft spot in my heart for her, even though I'm starting to find her books a bit repetitious these days. I don't go for them like I once did, but I found them to be incredibly useful tools at the time.

5. Gary North - (Victim's Rights) which spurred me in my love of law and justice. (In case you haven't tracked with me - I went to law school. It was really where I belonged.)

6. Arthur Pink - I read Arthur Pink's Gleanings in Joshua when I was 15-ish and it "rocked my world." Those of you who know our family well will comprehend the full extent of my admiration for Pink and this glorious work on the Book of Joshua. Highly, highly recommended. Influenced me FOR LIFE!

7. Lucy Maud Montgomery - Big surprise here, no? Honestly, I don't remember when I first read the books. I do remember when I first watched the movie. I remember the movie because my whole family enjoyed watching it together. (Well, at least my mom, dad and I did. I have no recollection of Christopher's opinion.) Obviously, she has remained influential as I host the yearly Lucy Maud Montgomery Reading Challenge every January.

8. Doug Wilson - Some of you will sigh and think, "For better or for worse!" with this one but Wilson was definitely influential in my walk upon leaving home for the first time. I moved to Moscow, Idaho and started attending his church - not really knowing who he was. But what he said made a lot of sense and I liked how he prompted the congregation to think. It's not just about sarcastic humor with him. That community was a challenge - in a good way! - to live in. It was probably the best thing for a girl out on her own for the first time. There was safety, accountability and the challenge to think before you spoke a word!!!

9. C.S. Lewis - Believe it or not, I didn't read C.S. Lewis until I moved away from home and met my husband's family. His younger sister (aged 7 or 8 at the time) was going to read The Chronicles of Narnia for the first time and I had a pride issue with a 7 year old beating me to reading this classic series. So I challenged her to a race which naturally I won. (Pats self on back. Twenty-five-ish year old beats seven-year-old. Hurrah!) The rest, as they say, is history! Now I've named my children after this author and am working on a way to name the next one in his honor as well. (We're currently haggling over baby names.)

10. Jack Deere - Surprised by the Voice of God and Surprised by the Power of the Spirit. This is an author who influenced me for several years and who I don't really consider to have been a good influence at this point in time. I read it at the encouragement of my spiritual authority at the time and I've since seen the influence that the book has had on thought processes and I now have fundamental theological disagreements with it. So, he makes the list but my eyebrows are furrowed.

11. William P. Young - The Shack. You can pick your jaws up off the floor. Again, this is a more recent influential author in my life but not because I cared for this book AT ALL! Rather, he had considerable influence on my surroundings for a period of time that I am incredibly displeased about. Theology? PSHAW!!! In the mud! He makes the list as well and my eyebrows are more than just furrowed. (I wish that was all that they were!)

12. Tim Challies - The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment. I really started doing a double-take to any book recommended to me after reading The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment. I craved this read like a camel in a dry, dry dessert. I rather credit this book of pulling me out of a (sometimes) thoughtless slump and I started questioning a bit more of what I was being exposed to. I heartily recommend this read to shake some cobwebs from the brain. Every once in awhile, that's a much needed thing!

13. Sally Clarkson - Honestly, I had a hard time connecting with her at first. There is just something about the way she presents herself that kinda threw me. Still! When I tell myself to stop nit-picking I have to confess that she has said some pretty uplifting and encouraging things about motherhood and my view of this season has been, in part, shaped by her. I didn't "get" everything she said right away but I find her more and more influential as time goes by. (And to my friend who provided the introduction? You'll be happy - or amused!- to know that I finally subscribed to Clarkson's blog! ;)

13. Nancy Leigh DeMoss - True confessions - at first I didn't really care for her. I didn't like her style and her writing voice. However, I read Choosing Gratitude and my admiration grew. Then I started hearing about the True Woman Conference and if I ever had a chance to attend a conference - that would be the one. (I'm generally anti-conference. But I'd make an exception.)

14. Charles Swindoll - This year I would say that Charles Swindoll has had a heavy influence on my life due to the fact that I've been reading through his Great Lives Series. Definitely a profitable use of my reading time and I've been stretched, broken, rebuilt, and strengthened through the process.

15. Trenton Lee Stewart - I'd say let's end on a lighter note but even naming Stewart is kinda hefty (for me anyway.) Reading The Mysterious Benedict Society really started to open my eyes to see what the world of fiction can look like. That book probably shifted the way I started viewing my own home library and I started culling out the "lesser" works and have been hunting for the best of the best. I've come to more highly prize good writing and not just people peddling off, well, pooey, to the masses. I'm less impressed by half-baked tales and desire to present my kids with extremely good - and FUN - stories which they can genuinely and thoroughly enjoy. In some subtle ways, Stewart has influenced what Reading to Know has and is becoming. When I say I LOVE a book, I mean I LOVED it and found it absolutely impacting in ways that I can't even fully explain. Therefore he has to make this list.

My mother-in-law wrote down a quote that said you will not be the same person you are now in five years. Who and what you are will be influenced by the people you meet and the books you read. I think that's too true. Who I've read has definitely had an impact in my life - both for good and for bad at times. These authors have challenged me and molded me in oh so many ways. I'm grateful for them. Well. Most of them anyway.

Another confession - whenever I go to someone's house - I always look at their bookshelves. That tells you who a person is. It's true!

Lastly, I had two particularly fabulous pastors growing up - both of whom were great readers. The two of them both told me that when I left home and was trying to find a new church family - I should meet with the pastor in his office and see how many books were inside of his office. They said that if I did not see any books at all, I should run out the door of his office and never look back!

You know what? They were so right.

I'll leave you with this:


Liz said...

Oh please, please, please... the next time they offer a True Woman Conference do whatever you can to get yourself there. It is unlike any other conference you could attend. It is full and meaty and doctrinal, and everything that ministry does is bathed in prayer. They are serious about helping women live godly lives.

Annette W. said...

Very cool list...even if I don't know many of the authors.

So if you were to visit me you would have to go to the spare bedroom and our bedroom to see our bookshelves, since downstairs we keep the kids' books out (and in their rooms, too)...or if you were unexpected company you could look on the kitchen island, end table, and coffee table for my books.

Yeah, I think after Women of Faith I am a bit anti-conference, too, though I think small ones are still fabulous!

Barbara H. said...

The only problem with looking at my bookshelves is that only maybe -- I don't know, a fourth or fifth or some fraction of the books I have read are there. But since these are the ones I chose to keep, especially after thinning them out after we moved, I guess that would say something after all.

I've not heard of Keene, North, or Deere: I've never read Sproul, Pink, Wilson, Young, Clarkson, or Stewart. I didn't read C. S. Lewis until an adult, either.

I loved Stepping Heavenward. I've only read a couple of George's. I haven't read a whole book by DeMoss but did enjoy her chapters In Becoming God's True Woman (the chapters of which were made up of sessions from a True Woman's Conference).

I had to look of Doug Wilson -- I always get him mixed up with Doug Phillips of Vision Forum (the latter of which I do have problems with though I do like some of what he stands for). I don't know much about Wilson -- I have seen his blog a time or two but don't read it. I do read his wife's blog, Femina, and mostly enjoy it though I don't agree with every little thing.

Trisha said...

Love this post, Carrie! Been thinking about getting Challies' book, and your recommendation has me off to buy it. I've read something by most of the authors, but there are a few here who are new.

Sherry said...

I love this post, too. It's very interesting to see the authors who influenced you.I may think about making a list like this one--although I did something similar a few years ago:

Melissa said...

That does it...adding Challies to my ever growing Amazon wish list!

Janet said...

I like DeMoss' Lies Women Believe. I haven't been able to get into any of her others.

The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment sounds really good.

Similar reaction here to Sally Clarkson!

I would put Lewis on my list too.

LM Montgomery is probably more of an influence than I think -- "kindred spirits" and all that.

My daughter is now getting into Nancy Drew, and it's so fun! I remember my down-the-street neighbor introduced me to her when I was in 5th grade, and she had an entire yellow-spined shelf-full. I was in awe!

Never read Prentiss, Young, George, Pink, Wilson, North or Deere.

I guess a more coherent response would have been, "Oh wow, your list brings back memories and inspires me to read some folks I haven't read." But instead I offer this disjointed string of blurbs. Thanks for sharing your list -- obviously I enjoyed it!

Anonymous said...

This was a fun post, Carrie! I enjoyed reading your thoughts on your "Top 15". I also love your comment about checking out bookshelves at someone's home---so true! If you were to come here, I'd tell you that my books are doubled up in one bookcase and you'd have to look behind a row to get a more complete idea of me! :-)

*carrie* said...

I've not read many of these, Carrie, but I was interested to see your list.

Stepping Heavenward was highly recommended to me by several people, and I have to say I did not connect with it at all!

I've really appreciated Elizabeth George's books--such a godly woman!

Stephanie Kay said...

Some I've read, some I haven't, some I've never heard of. For conferences I love Beth Moore. I'm DYING to attend the She Speaks conference by P31 Ministries. I'd especially love to attend with you!! ;)

Cassandra said...

I just finished reading Stepping Heavenward and loved it! I want to buy a copy so that I can actually *gasp* write in it. So much to learn from that book.

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