Thursday, March 17, 2011

Top Ten Books I Just HAD to Have . . .But Are Still Sitting on My Bookshelf

Ronnica at Ignorant Historian wrote up a list of 10 books she just "had" to have but hasn't gotten around to reading yet. (Accurately titling her post in the meantime!) I thought that was an interesting idea and decided to follow suit and offer my own list of 10 books I desired (greatly) to be in possession of but still have not yet gotten around to reading.) I hope to remedy this situation sooner rather than later but still . . . it's been a little while.

1. By Design: God's Distinctive Calling for Women, by Susan Hunt. I actually haven't had this book for very long, but I've had it longer than I meant to without having read it.

2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1), by you probably know who. I found a used copy (for $0.99) and picked it up a very long time ago, after I sort of made a promise to Lisa to read it. I don't know if I'm going to like it. The reason I want to read it is because I'd LIKE to come to a conclusive decision on how I feel about magic used in books. (You know I like the Chronicles of Narnia series.) Everyone compares Narnia to Harry and I actually don't believe that's a very good comparison. However, I haven't read the Harry books so I can't really spell out exactly what I think about it yet. Hope to rectify that this year!

3. The Sword in the Stone, by T.H. White. I've actually made some headway into this one and it turns out that this is going to definitely play into my "When is magic used well and when it is used poorly in books" argument. The reason I wanted to read this particular title is that it is a book that a Disney film is based on. The movie The Sword and the Stone is out of the Disney vault and I wanted to figure out what I thought of it before it goes away again. I have impressions, but I'll hold off on sharing my opinions just yet. (Ironically, this is a movie that Jonathan saw growing up and I was not allowed to watch. Usually that situation is reversed! So I've definitely been curious about it.)

4. Anna and the King of Siam. Yeah. This one has even been included on my Nightstand a time or two but I've just not gotten to it! I would like to though!

5. Sigh. If you've followed this site for any length of time, you've seen An Experiment in Criticism, by C.S. Lewis pop up MORE than once! I keep thinking I want to give it my undivided attention and really dig into it and I want to block off the time to do that very thing. I think it's going to be an AWESOME book. I just haven't disciplined myself well enough yet to pick it up and it almost glares at me from the book shelf, making me feel horribly guilty. I would really. really. really. like to read this!

6. And the Shofar Blew, by Francine Rivers is one that I picked up some time back as well. I think I have a couple of Rivers' books on my shelf but this one is first in line to read. Several of you have recommended the Mark of the Lion series to me also, and those sound fascinating. Just as soon as I clear a few off my shelves . . .

7. Growing Grateful Kids: Teaching Them to Appreciate an Extraordinary God in Ordinary Places, by Susie Larson made the rounds online about a year ago and I thought it looked intriguing. I finally purchased a copy for myself and it is also sitting and staring at me. (I actually haven't had this one for very long so my guilt does not run terribly deep with this one. But it builds.) My goal is to at least make it to this one before the fall holidays.

8. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, by John Frederick Burke is a book I THOUGHT was a Disney film (starring Dick Van Dyke.) (It turns out it is NOT a Disney film.) Can't remember how I obtained this copy but I wanted to read it. Jonathan said the film was not his favorite. I can't ever remember seeing it. (Again, this is a strange and unusual thing for me to say *I* haven't seen a movie but Jonathan has!) I thought I should start with the book, of course. We'll see how the read goes. When the read goes.

9. God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation is a Crossway title that I have seriously neglected. Jonathan beat me to it and said it was AWESOME and I definitely have a hankering to read it. (The size of it intimidates me truly.) But I do think it's an extremely worthwhile book to read and you can bet I'm going to have a strong opinion on it! (You can likely figure out what that is without my saying very much at all!)

10. Gianna: Aborted, and Lived to Tell about It, by Jessica Shaver Renshaw. I've wanted to read this book since I watched this video. My mom gifted me with a copy of this book and I've been hankering to get to it ever since! I think her story is both impacting and influential and I would love to give it appropriate attention.

So there you have it. My list of books I "HAD" to have and have since sadly neglected. I need to fill my brain with them sooner rather than later.

Ronnica was kind enough to ask her readers which they would choose for her to read first. I make no promises (for I read by whim and fancy) but if you have a top pick in here for me, what would it be?

Furthermore, do you have books just sitting on your shelf that you desperately wanted to read but haven't gotten to yet? (Is that a stupid question?) If so, what are they? If you create such a list, I'd love to see it!


Stephanie said...

Well, I think you need to try out HP one of these days - I do love the series. It's just good and I didn't find the magic in it offensive. : ) I don't think I've read any of the others on your list - although I don't think Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is Disney (at least not according to IMDB). However, now that I went and looked it up I may have to read it and watch the movie - it said the book was written by Ian Fleming (James Bond!) and the screenplay was by Roald Dahl!

Shonya said...

Oh, why would you be so mean?! Don't you know how convicted I feel when I consider the pile of books I've purchased but not yet gotten around to reading?! :) It makes me feel like I shouldn't be able to buy any more books until I get those read. . .and that's a really sad feeling. giggle

I read HP and found them very engaging and well-written. My one concern with the magic is that people *really do* practice witchcraft, whereas in Narnia. . .well, that's so obviously fictional AND allegorical. My children haven't read the books because my husband and I just haven't made up our minds. I think my 15yod would be able to read with discernment, but she doesn't want to have anything to do with anything close to witchcraft and sorcery, and I'm fine with that! :) (There are plenty of other outstanding books for her to read, grin).

Word Lily said...

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is such a great movie!

Re: Harry Potter and magic in books, have you read Tolkien?

Carrie said...

Stephanie - YOU ARE RIGHT! Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is NOT a Disney film. (I'll correct the post to reflect that.)

Annette @ Live, Learn, Love said...

I think HP should be next. Simply bc I want to hear your thoughts.

I read the first book...though I enjoyed it, I still feel the witchcraft being practiced is very real...and doesn't feel the same as Narnia. But I don't have real reasons. Witchcraft is very scary...I lived with a witch once...

Narnia_girl said...

You will probably enjoy Shofar. I've read it and it's quite good.
PLEASE take the time to read all the Potter books--they get better with each one.
They are excellent literature. As an evangelical Christian I do not want my children to participate in witchcraft or any other thing that God forbids. But I have yet to find scripture that forbids us from reading about such things...if that were the case, most books would be off limits.
As my user name suggests I'm a huge Narnia fan and I find several similarities between Narnia and Potter...mostly in the use of mythological references. (also Rowling's character Cedric Diggory is said to be a nod to Lewis' Diggory Kirke)
Additionally, you might want to read some of John Granger's work. He set out to debunk Potter and became a convert. I've read his books and have seen him in person. And while I don't agree with all he has written, I think he makes a good argument why we love the good vs. evil of Potter.

Janet said...

It would be hard for me to choose ten.... :-/

Amy said...

I highly recommend you read John Granger's work on Harry Potter as a companion. It might surprise you just how deeply Christian the HP books are.

Alison said...

On HP...I appreciate your willingness to give it a try before having an "official" opinion. So many people go off on books they haven't read or even tried. I have yet to read any of them so I'm looking foward to hearing what you have to say.

Barbara H. said...

I read Gianna years ago -- very good book. I think that's the only one I've read from your list. Maybe Chitty-Chitty -- I know I saw the film but I am not sure about the book.

I should do this some time -- though like Janet, I have more than ten.

Anonymous said...

Your post title made me laugh out loud! Unfortunately, I can't create such a list on my own blog b/c my mother would see it and accuse me of wasting too much money on books! :-)

I just bought The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck and plan to tackle it before it collects too much dust on my shelf.

I am a huge Francine Rivers fan so I recommend you read And the Shofar Blew, although I must admit it is my least favorite of all of her books.

Happy Reading!

Melinda said...

Thanks for sharing your list. I posted a similar list at my blog.

I added the book about Gianna to my wishlist. I've seen a video of her giving her testimony, but I didn't realize a biography had been written about her life.

Carrie said...

Narnia-girl (and Amy) - Thanks for the tip on Granger. I'll check in with the library and see if they have that when I start reading the series.

Annette - Ooh. Gonna e-mail you about THAT!

Mary Bailey - I know it. =) I kinda feel badly about that. BUT! Then I just think to myself, "I've supported the publishing industry." (Will that help?)

Janet & Barbara H. - I have more than 10. I was just limiting myself per Ronnica's original "guidelines." Makes me feel less guilty!


Lisa Spence said...


Bluerose said...

I love the cover of Anna and the King of Siam!! I don't even know what it's about, but I'll have to go see now. Sorry! I'm one of those that initially judge a book by it's cover.

I'm with everybody else...HP. I've read the whole series, and loved it, but I tell everybody that the further the books go, they are definitely NOT for children. I stayed up through the night(s) reading them, though.

Thanks to you, I'll now have a new post like this one in the next couple of days, although it will be hard to narrow it down to 10!! :)

Bluerose said...

Just came back to say I should have known Anna and the King of Siam was the book the play(and movie I assume) was based off of. :P

Sky said...

I want to weigh in on HP: I think Rowling was a very good writer, the first four books are written well. The fourth book gets a bit more dark and the darkness just seems to deepen as the series progresses. I say she WAS a good writer because I get the feeling after the fifth book that she was just writing off the series as soon as she could and didn't have as much fun in her own created world. She killed off a lot of my favorite characters anyway!
As to the parallels between Narnia and Potter; well, I don't think there are any.
The biggest thing that bugs me about the HP books is that while the magic is witchcraft, the line between practicing good magic and bad magic is very shady and I don't feel that the characters ever really learn from the foolish mistakes they make. (i.e. telling an adult about a life-threatening problem rather then trying to fix it yourself) In Narnia there is a severe and very determinate line between Good and Evil. When that line is crossed, retribution is needed, mercy and forgiveness abound in Narnia. All in all I enjoyed the first four books of Potter, which I read out loud to my husband, but find the series as an entirety unequivocally poor in morals and truth compared to Narnia.
My kids will be delving to the worlds of Lewis and Tolkien for many years before we try HP.

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Haven't read HP, so I have no opinion on that one. :-)

The Gianna one sounds good. You know I love Francine Rivers and I have read Shofar, but I like the Mark of the Lion best of all.

I can't do this, Carrie. I would be hard pressed to pick a top ten--I have too many books on my tbr shelf!

Fun post!

Krista said...

Dang it. I just left you a huge long comment and then blogger had an error and I lost it. Perhaps you didn't need to read a 5 paragraph essay anyway...

My top pick: anything by Francine Rivers. I just got her new one in the mail today and I'm so excited! And the Shofar Blew is about in the middle of the list for ones I like from her.

HP: Read the 2nd one to review for my mom's class when it first came out. Didn't think it was evil, but recommended that parents at least read along with this age group. Wasn't suitably impressed to read any other ones.

Anna and the King: Don't know if I've read it or not, but seen the play and movie. I bet it'll be fascinating reading!

Currently I'm just trying to get through Ann Voskamp's Thousand Gifts. It's not meant to be read in one or two page increments and that's all the time I seem to have at the moment... (cupcakes baking as we speak!) but I think it will be good once I'm done!

Caitlyn said...

if I might comment on the magic thing, here's my thoughts:

I start with the question, why is magic forbidden in the first place? Real witchcraft involves a person choosing to serve Satan instead of God in return for (limited) power. We are supposed to get our power from God - to get power from His enemy (and our enemy as well) is a complete inversion of how the world is supposed to work. Of course it's an abomination.

By that definition, the thing called "magic" in most fantasy books is not magic at all. It's more like electricity: a natural force which can be manipulated by those trained to do so. This is true in the Narnia books, it's true in Lord of the Rings, and it's true in Harry Potter.

I don't see any reason we can't read about something just because it shares a name with something bad. It's important to make sure we and our children understand the distinction, but there's no reason not to enjoy it.

A Faithful Journey said...

Out of all the books you listed ht eonly one I have read is Gianna. It is a very good story that does need your full attention. Try not to hold off on it for too much longer! :)

I am very intrigued to read Growing Grateful Kids. Sounds like something that would make me have a few "ah-ha" moments!

This is a great idea. I may have to make a post from this for next week. I, too, have quite a few books I could add to a list like this! :)

Sarah M. said...

I think I said this before, but if not I'll say now. While I definitely agree there are some similiarities between HP and the Narnia books PLEASE don't expect them to be equel to each other, because they are not. As I know you are a HUGE fan of Narnia books I don't want you to start reading HP and expect it to be on par with your love for Narnia. Try to read it with an open mind and consider that there are aspects of it that remind the reader of various legends, myths, histories, and fictional books/worlds and at the same time it is a unique series.

Carrie said...

heh heh...I love how everyone seems to have an opinion about Harry Potter. This definitely increases my interest in reading it so that I can have my own opinion. ha! Well, we'll just see what happens around these parts.

Taa said...

I agree with Caitlyn about the difference between magic and fantasy. In Harry Potter, the "laws of physics" are different for wizards, but people can still choose to do good or evil within magical parameters.

I also agree that children involve themselves in things that adults should handle, but that's true of pretty much all children's literature, not unique to Harry Potter.

I also know that as a child, if my parents told me I shouldn't read something, I would just find a way around it 'cause forbidden fruit is always sweet. As a parent, I plan to engage my kids in what they read and NOT believe that because I tell them not to read something, they won't do it.

Carrie said...

Taia - Well, I'm not going to comment on Potter just yet. But the discussion is sounding more and more intriguing!

As for the forbidden fruits - I too had something of the same rebel spirit growing up. Although for the most part if my parents were clear about why they didn't want me to watch or read something, I abided by their rules. (I'm pretty black and white though. And while I was under their roof I wanted to make sure I was respectful, even though I felt markedly different sometimes.)

As for my own kids - I think I fall somewhere in the middle and will play it by ear with each kid. There are some books I WOULD like to engage and dialogue about instead of just avoiding. There are certainly a lot of things avoided by conservative Christians that I don't think should be eradicated point blank. I thinking talking through world views and why we like/don't like (agree/disagree) with various things can potentially build a more solid foundation. I would like it if when they left home (actually, before they left home) they were well equipped to be discerning on their own. I do feel it is the parent's responsibility to help them learn to be discerning through education and a GREAT deal of discussion (to say nothing of prayer.)

So, I look forward to sharing many stories, music and songs with my kids. However, I always enjoy "reading ahead" of the game (like with Harry Potter or The Hunger Games for instance) so that we as parents can make the best judgement call on when our kids might be personally ready to tackle some of the issues at hand.

For example: Pooh is great movie for kids to watch early on. I wouldn't watch The Great Mouse Detective with my own kids until they were at least 6 because I know them to be nervous about darkness and bats. So we are discerning even now. And wise. And tell our kids, "This movie is very fun but you need to wait and watch it when you are a little older." Already we are asked, "Why?!" and so it's good to have an answer ready.

Therefore I DO plan on reading Harry Potter. Because I want to have an answer.

Ronnica said...

Since I'm listening to the 3rd Harry Potter book as I read your post, I definitely am interesting in talking to you about Harry Potter after you read it. I'm not quite sure what conclusion I'm going to come to about them...I'm kinda waiting until I finish the series. As of right now, I don't find anything objectionable, and they're very clever and enjoyable.

Carol in Oregon said...

Carrie, I finally got a list compiled and up at my blog.

Of the books on your list, I have read 1, 2, and 5.

When there is a big tome on my list that will require some effort, I sometimes play games with myself, offering myself rewards for its completion.

But in your condition, I think I would read the first one.

It was fun thinking about this. Thank you for a fun exercise.

Unknown said...

And The Shofar Blew would probably be in my top 10 pile, too, since it's the only Francine Rivers book I haven't read. And it's a MUST that you get around to reading the Mark of the Lion series some day...such great books, and VERY hard to put down.

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