Phill Lytle Attempts To Set the Stage
She is a marvel to behold: Beautiful, beguiling, mysterious. You take one look and you are hooked. Just one look and you are sure: You have to know more.
He is a man of words: Playful, articulate, and witty. Yet, he is circumspect with what he communicates. He shares just enough to garner attention, but not so much as to ruin all the fun.
When they come together, a wondrous alchemy occurs. Their union is a beautiful thing indeed. What happens between them is the greatest adventure ever; the most romantic love story you could imagine; the saddest tragedy you have ever heard. Their union is all of this and everything in between. Because what happens between the alluring cover and the descriptive back panel of a book is nothing short of miraculous. In the pantheon of human creativity and invention, nothing will surpass the scope, breadth, or power of the book.
Here then is our ode to this singular creation. Here, is our celebration of books and all who love them. Happy Book Lovers Day from Rambling Ever On!
Benjamin Plunkett, Lord of the Books
For as long as I can remember I have always loved books. Before I could read I wasn’t crazy about the read word aspect. I have never really liked being read to. At that time I mostly enjoyed the pictures and enjoyed imagining what it was all about. When I turned six one of the greatest doors in my life was opened to me. That is when my dad taught me how to read from the classic “Fun With Dick and Jane.” Those first couples of years beyond the door I read all the Disney, Sesame Street, and Arch picture books I could find. Finally, when I was eight or nine, I graduated to chapter books with The Chronicles of Narnia. That really sealed the deal as far as my book obsession.
C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ray Bradbury, Agatha Christie, Robert Picirilli, Leroy Forlines, Jane Austen, Malcolm Gladwell, Charles Dickens, Charles Portis, Douglas Adams, James Joyce. That is only a mere handful off the top of my head. History has seen legions more and the list is growing every day. With many of these authors having dozens of amazing books of their own. And the best thing about it is that you are never going to lack for a new book worth reading. There is so many books out there in both fiction and non-fiction land, so little time. Sadly there are also a lot of books out there that are not worth reading and just waste your time. There are a lot of books out there not worth your time, so be careful, my fellow book lovers.
The Story of Gowdy Cannon, The Half-Blood Prince
Church can be messy at times. Social media is divisive. Today’s news is filled with injustice, hate, horror and tragic endings. So it stands to reason that people need a break from these things. I believe it is wise to seek one regularly. Perhaps Ecclesiastes 3 even supports that kind of balance.
Enter reading, the most productive way to leave the real world to me. TV and movies are wonderful, but reading allows the brain to work on a higher plane, generally speaking. The fantasy reading we at Rambling Ever On have lauded numerous times especially is a welcome and appropriate escape from the harshness of reality. But even biographies and other non-fiction types can fill us with hope, wonder and creativity.
I, of course, read to learn as well. As a pastor, I have collected dozens of books on things like how we got the Bible, suffering, biblical ethics and sexuality and many other topics that I need to be prepared to discuss and have answers for on a daily basis. But hands down my favorite reading is when I can lay the seriousness of my 3D world aside and just be overwhelmed with fantastic plots, amazing character development and magnificent worlds that are not real. There is a time and a place for it all. And I am supremely thankful for the embarrassment of riches we have in English in the area of reading.
The Strange Case of Nathan Patton
I was an odd child. (Yes, I know, I’m still a rather odd adult.) For reasons mostly of my own making or choosing, I generally had no friends. So, instead of playing with others, I would sometimes play video games and sometimes play outside, but mostly I would read.
Books became my reality and the characters within their pages became my friends (or enemies). Often my imagination would run wild expanding the story far beyond what was written in ink. While that level of escapism probably wasn’t the healthiest thing, I would’ve been miserable without books.
As I grew older, I found others in the real world who shared my love of books and was able to use that common ground to create true friendships with people who didn’t seem to mind that I mostly chose my wardrobe based on how many books could fit in the pockets. (This was obviously in the pre-smartphone, pre-kindle era.)
Over the years, I did learn how to function like a “normal” person resulting in far less reading time. I also learned to expand my reading beyond science fiction and fantasy to other fiction and, eventually, even to non-fiction. I learned to like audiobooks, even though they are painfully slow, so that I could “read” even when doing the required, mundane tasks of real life.
These days, I probably spend as much or more time reading with my children as I do reading for myself. I have passed on my love of books and am attempting to also pass on what I’ve learned about balancing that passion with the other things in life that are truly important, though I think they may already be doing better in that area than I am.
I’m celebrating National Book Lovers Day by reading Henry and the Chalk Dragon aloud to my children.
Steve Lytle On Books and Why They Matter
Why are books so great? Maybe a more pertinent question is “where do I begin addressing the issue? Because for me, it’s a no-brainer, the greatness and importance of books. Preliminary observations:
- It sure helps to be able to read, and to read well. (Speed, retention, interest make it a pure pleasure.)
- However, books (that is, their content) are great even for non-readers, provided there are the motivators, the heralds, the preachers the teachers, and the pupils who take the content of a book and verbally share it with others.
- Some books bring help, healing, encouragement and enjoyment to many others. The Pilgrim’s Progress, The Chronicles of Narnia, A Tale of Two Cities, are just a few examples.
So, why are books so great? Because of their influence; some for good, others for evil. Uncle Tom’s Cabin helped ignite the Civil War. Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf helped give rise and momentum to the evil Nazi empire.
Because of unforgettable prose and poetry. Truth stated badly, vaguely, without clarity, is still truth. But when it’s stated accurately, concisely, emotionally, and powerfully it lives on and on, and is an influencer.
Because of the authors. Good, godly authors write under divine compulsion and even guidance; not the same as Inspiration of Scripture, of course, but still in a way that they become voices for God, good, righteousness, and worthy causes. Even non-Christians with morals and clarity and compassion, and concern give ageless truth. An example would be Thomas Paine’s Common Sense or John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage.
Finally, great books fire our imagination like few things can. Reading to ourselves and being read to by others can have a major positive impact on lives. Few things in this world mean more to me than good-great books, especially Christian books.
How are you celebrating National Book Lovers Day? Let us know in the comments below.