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Ten Books To Carry To The End Of The World

September 22, 2014

I am a somewhat irregular blogger, but I’ve been thinking about which ten books are my favourites in the whole world; which have stayed with me through the years; which books I would pack in a trunk and ship with me to the End Of The World, if I could only have ten. So, Blog Post Time!!

Here they are, in no particular order:

1 The Ragamuffin Gospel, by Brennan Manning. My favourite Christian book. It’s about how God loves each of us, just the way we are. Simple, yet effective truth.

2. Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton. Those who have spent any time around me know that I greatly admire Chesterton. He was an English journalist who lived a hundred years ago and he was a great thinker who had a way of cutting to the heart of a thing with a neatly turned phrase, and a flair for paradox. I have to read Orthodoxy aloud, or I can’t understand it. It is about his spiritual journey and I love it.

3. The Half Men of O/ The Priests of Ferris/ The Motherstone by Maurice Gee. These are three books, but they are short, being aimed at children. They could be published in one volume, or Gee could rewrite and expand them. (Please do, Maurice Gee.) They are about a young girl and a portal to another world and good and evil and destiny and prophecy and whatnot. A favourite nostalgia read, and it is set in NZ. And O, of course…

4. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver. This was my first Kingsolver book, first read when I was a teenager and never forgotten. It is about a girl who is determined to avoid motherhood and tyres (as she once saw a tractor tyre explode and send someone flying), who leaves her small town and ends up raising a child and working in a tyre repair shop. Kingsolver is a master storyteller. I’ve read Pigs in Heaven, which continues The Bean Trees (and fixes a few problems that became apparent after the original story was published) and The Poisonwood Bible, and Prodigal Summer. They’re all really good reads, but The Bean Trees would be my pick, still.

5. Christy by Catherine Marshall. This is set in the Appalachian Mountains, and is a fictionalised account of how Marshall’s parents met. It’s a great story, and a little window into Mountain culture and mission stations in the old days. It IS a romance, but it’s mostly about the community and the typhoid epidemic and things like that. It ends rather suddenly.

6. The Cure For Death By Lightning by Gail Anderson-Dargatz. This is an interesting book because it contains recipes, which all feature in the main character’s mother’s scrap-book. The book includes instructions for how to cure someone who had died by lightning strike, hence the book’s name. It’s a pretty gritty read, and deals with mental illness and incest, but it’s one I return to every now and again.

7. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman. This one is about a young girl (most of my list features young women overcoming obstacles and finding their place in the world, you may notice) who has a mentally ill mother, and what happens before and after her mother dies. I am not a great crier when reading, but I had a bit of a howl over this one.

8. The Bone People by Keri Hulme. I include this one because it is beautifully written and definitely stayed with me, but I don’t know if I could, truthfully, ever read it again. It deals with child abuse. It is a beautiful, terrible, confronting book. It is set in New Zealand, and won the Booker Prize in 1984.

9. Poison Study by Maria V Snyder. This is a fantasy novel, set in a world run by a military government, where everyone wears a uniform according to their assigned job, and there is no mercy and no second chances for criminals- except when they need a new food taster for the Commander. Again, a young girl must find her place in this world and fight for her life against the Big Bad. I enjoyed the ride. The next in the series is OK, but the last one felt a bit too improbably tied-with-a-bow at the end for my taste. When I find myself rolling my eyes, it is never a good sign. That doesn’t stop me from enjoying Poison Study for its own merits, though.

10. The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare by GK Chesterton. This is probably the weirdest book I have ever read. Chesterton had a very vivid imagination and was a great fiction writer, as well as a journalist and a philosopher and a poet and a cartoonist. It’s about a secret society, and it has more twists than an up-do. He called it ‘a nightmare’ so he could be as random as he pleased, I am sure. It’s a good one for turning your brain into a pretzel.

So. There are my books for The End Of The World. What would be on your list?

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From → Book List, Books

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