Monday, May 14, 2007

Book Meme!

I've been tagged by Peter for a meme about books! This is a tough one!

Three works of non-fiction everyone should read: many wonderful books to choose from!

1. Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis
Having grown up in a church where any books about Christianity other than the Bible were essentially verboten, this book was an amazing read for me. It helped me to appreciate and understand the Christian faith in a way I never had before.

2. The Science Before Science - Anthony Rizzi
Anyone who is even remotely interested in science, philosophy, or theology should absolutely read this book. It explains the importance and necessity of "right thinking," and the dangers we will inevitably fall into if we don't practice "right thinking." I made a short review of it here.

3. The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Ok so this may be kind of an obvious pick, but I think everyone should sit down and read through it cover to cover at least once. It really is a wealth of information, and I think that we're so used to it being there that it is easy to forget how fortunate we are to have this wonderful compilation of Church teaching filled with scriptural and historical references. Again, coming from a background where we were tied to "the Bible alone," it is a wonderful tool to have as a Catholic!

Three works of fiction everyone should read:

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
Ok...if I could, I would just say every Jane Austen novel is a must-read, lol, but I'll choose this one as it's one of the most popular. Her wonderful novels prove to our over-sexed culture that gratuitous sex and detailed descriptions of intimate moments (basically porn in written form) are absolutely unnecessary to have a gripping love story. Mainly, they remind us that love is so much more than sex.

2. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
This is a beautiful and heartbreaking and penetrating masterpiece that has been mostly overshadowed by the horror film versions of the tale. The real story is about so much more than a "scary monster" (whose name is NOT Frankenstein, btw, the man who created him is Frankenstein.) Definitely a must-read.

3. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
For obvious reasons, I think this book points to so many of the dangers of our current society.

Three authors everyone should read:

So I already cheated and said Jane Austen, lol...but I'm going to add three more!

G.K. Chesterton
The man was a genius. His writing is simply wisdom and wit rolled into one!

C.S. Lewis
Yeah...pretty much ditto the above!

William Shakespeare
For pretty obvious reasons! He didn't stand the test of time on accident!

Three books no one should read:

Hehe...well, even when I don't like books, I often read them so that I'm aware of what's in them, or why people do read them. But if there were some books I think either do more harm than good or aren't worth much, I'd say...

1. The DaVinci Code - Dan Brown
I don't have to explain this one, do I?

2. Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
I admit it, I simply don't like Woolf in general. Certainly it's important to read her work if you're in a literary field to know what it's about, but I just really don't think she has much to offer, contrary to much of the hype that surrounds her. Mrs. Dalloway was one of the worst, IMO.

3. The Left Behind series
I have to steal this one from Peter, because I couldn't agree more!

Phew...that was really hard!!!

I would LOVE to hear what Jennifer's answers would be, and also Kasia's, if y'all are up to it!


Peter said...

I missed Shakespere and Jane Austin? Aaarg! I agree they are must reads. Mind you, what was with Northanger Abbey?

I did see an essay once on the theology of the body in Jane Austin, focussing (interestingly enough) on Mansfield Park. I'll have to see if I still have the link somewhere.

Stephanie said...

Now that would be interesting!

jdavidb said...

I'd just like to go on the record as saying that down here, we in the churches of Christ do in fact read Mere Christianity, and all other Lewis. I read my grandfather's copy out of his spectacular library. He was a preacher in the church of Christ for over half a century. And we're talking old-timey, fundamentalist, hardline church of Christ, too. He had all the requisite anti-Catholic books and everything.

Also, for what it's worth, my family owns a Cathechism of the Catholic Church, and have since around 2004. And the last time I remember pulling it off the shelf and looking something up in it probably occurred in the last six weeks or so.

jdavidb said...

I'll probably never get around to reading it cover to cover, though. :)

Heh; higher on my list of things to read cover to cover if I ever get the time is my late grandfather's copy of the early church "fathers," which I just borrowed from my dad Saturday.

Yeah, we really don't like people to read books about Christianity other than the Bible. ;) I might venture to say this is a myth. Unfortunately it might be one which the church you grew up in bought into, which I guess would make it not a myth.

skyhawk said...

It's not a myth for most fundamentalists here in TX. I've yet to meet ONE congregation that doesn't look down on reading books about other faiths (except the anti other faiths "let me show you why they're evil" kind of books).

Stephanie said...

Sounds like you were very fortunate, jdavidb! I'm not saying the books were outright forbidden, but they were certainly not at all encouraged in my church growing up. In fact, it was looked down upon to think that any book outside the Bible could be of any value to one's spiritual life. So yeah, for me, and many other former CoC members who have had the same experience, it certainly wasn't a myth :-)

But I am glad to know it's not the case for you! I have to say, though, I'm not surprised since, in my experience, you seem to be much more open to listening and considering other viewpoints than the types I grew up with!

Peter said...

As a 'Brethren' I was encouraged to read lots of books as a child, although my father did black out any sexual or blasphemous references with a huge black marker, so I had exposure to a wide range of literature. But the constant teaching was that you can't trust any other book. Only the Bible. All the others are flawed and potentially sinful. We were encouraged to read "Foxes Book of Matyrs" which focuses mainly on those awful Catholics killing Protestants but which gave me such a respect for saintly witness I sought out early history from the beginning, and probably made me a Catholic! Now, if you will excuse me, I have some Protestants to burn ... ;)

FloridaWife said...

Happy Birthday, Stephanie!!!!!!!!!!

(Yes, I LOVE Pride & Prejudice and William Shakespeare.)

Stephanie said...

Thanks!! :-D

jdavidb said...

skyhawk, come to my fundamentalist church in TX. :) I'll take you home, feed you lunch, and show you my library.

I've got all kinds of goodies. C.S. Lewis. Book of Mormon. Baptist Church Manuals (old enough they probably don't describe any Baptist churches today -- btw, we're as "anti-Baptist" doctrinally as we are "anti-Catholic"). And the Bible collection! I've got the Jehovah's Witnesses translation. What's more, I'll openly admit it's helped my study on occasion, showing me a thing or two that other translations obscured.

I don't have any Catholic Bibles, though. Have historically left those out of my selection criteria. Besides; nowadays I can get them all online when I need them.

Oh, and I've got an NIV. Where I come from, you'll hear more condemnation of the NIV Bible than you will for reading C.S. Lewis. Which is weird because a non-Church of Christ missionary to Japan whose blog I read constantly refers to the NIV as the pinnacle of American evangelicalism (usually before tearing down a pretty bad job it did on translating a certain passage...). I've also historically avoided the Living Bible, being another Bible version historically ripped up by the church, although we recently added a 2-year-scheduled New Living Translation to our mix.

Hmm, I'm rambling. Missed lots of sleep last night, and I'm up late now working and missing more. Couple other things and then I'll hush up:

I've got at least three Bible translations on my shelf made by members of churches of Christ, and at least one of them is one of the worst translations I've ever seen.

Random other possibly offensive goodies I can see from where I sit: 50 Years in the Church of Rome, The Text of the Old Testament (wonderful introductory book about Old Testament textual criticism). A stack of role-playing games, including Dungeons and Dragons. :) "Authority: the Critical Issue for Southern Baptists" (must get around to reading this some day).

Now, put all those in your mind and recognize that they are on the shelf of someone who identifies as fundamentalist, and someone who is not at all a part of the liberal wing of the churches of Christ.

Sara said...

Here in Ohio, our church 'library' consisted of a concordance and a KJV. I'm serious. I didn't read about other faiths until I was in college.

As far as general reading, I was (and still am) one of those people who would read whatever they could get their hands on--cereal boxes, literary classics and everything in between. My parents didn't censor any non-religious materials. I don't think I was ever even allowed to visit another church although I was strongly encouraged to invite others to mine.

Jennifer F. said...

Thanks for the tag! I've been obsessing about my answer since you first posted this. :) Will try to get to it this week!

Stephanie said...

Lol, I did the same thing! Looking forward to it :-D

skyhawk said...

jdavidb, in my experience you seem to be the exception (and I wouldn't mind more of it!)

Kasia said...

Stephanie, I (finally) did the meme - sorry for the delay!