A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

5 Books That Changed Who I Am

I've been invited to participate in a meme about books that have changed my life and well, I can't resist. Afterall, it's about books, right?
Oddly enough, it's been hard to come up with 5. If it had been about my 5 favourite books that would've been super easy... too easy but "5 books that changed me" is a different kettle of fish. Had to really think hard about that one.

Pride and Prejudice is hands down my favourite novel of all time and Jane Austen has been the biggest influence on my writing. I read it once a year in the same way a student returns to the feet of the master if only to savour the delicious wit and sly humour wafting through the pages. Although I am of the opinion that Sense and Sensibility and Emma are probably her best written books, there's something about the humour inside the chaos of the Bennett household that keeps drawing me back year after year.

C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity is a book I recommend to all my friends when they ask me about good reference material for their skeptical friends. Above all, I love Lewis' writing style, his ability to explain spiritual truths with everyday analogies.
Like most, I discovered Lewis first as the author of the Narnia chronicles and then as a witty and insightful Christian apologist. Mere Christianity was a lifeline for me at university in the middle of an ideologically hostile environment to everything I had been taught previously. This book, first among many, gave me confidence all throughout my undergrad years that my Christian faith was a reasonable faith standing on robust philosophical legs.

Desiring God by John Piper has been an influential part of my Christian walk especially in the past 2 years. I read Desiring God originally at the end of my undergrad studies but rediscovered it in recent times. I think the "shocking" part of the book was Piper's use of the term Christian Hedonism but really when one delves deeply into it, it is ultimately a clarion call to be passionate about God himself, to treasure Him above all others.
The premise of Christian Hedonism, as Piper calls it is that rather than rejecting pleasure, God worshippers should seek the ultimate pleasure which is God himself. Often God worshippers are distracted by shallow pleasures rather than pursue true pleasure in the God who created them. To quote C.S. Lewis:

If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desire not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, we are like ignorant children who want to continue making mud pies in a slum because we cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a vacation at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.



On Becoming Babywise was probably the biggest shock to the system I had ever received as a first-time pregnant mother. The notion that I had to feed the baby anything from 6-10 times a day just about destroyed me on the spot! Laugh if you will but I really had no idea... I was a complete dill about such matters.

Nevertheless, I found the book very helpful in preparing me for the early days of having a baby except, of course, that no book can completely prepare anyone for anything in real life. I liked the idea of routines which I used and I really stuck to my guns on that front (probably to the point of tyranny). In all likelihood, I went a bit too far -- too rigid -- (first time mummy fears) and got my knickers in a twist far too many times.



The Bible... both the Old and New Testaments... has impacted my life on so many different levels that it's difficult to know where even to begin. I have come to see more and more the Bible as God's revelation of his redemptive plan throughout human history. At various points in our history, God the Creator intervenes and uses deeply flawed and wicked people to achieve his purpose. He is building his kingdom and I'm always... always amazed that he chose me to be part of this great enterprise. The Bible is fundamentally about God although I daresay, we often like to think that it's about us. I don't know if reading the Bible has made me a better person... but it has made me humbler one. Even that, I expect, will be a lifelong journey.

And now, I tag... Ling's List, Ky, Sandy J., Debbie ,


If you ladies want to have a go, the rules are below. As for the rest of you, what book or books would be on your list?

  • Tag between three and five people
  •  link back to this post
  • call the post “five books that changed who I am”
  • enjoy!


1 comment:

Let me know what you think!