September 22, 2009

5 Fiction books that changed my life

I was thinking tonight about books I've read over the years that have pretty much shaped who I am, specifically fiction books. I'd like to share them with the Dojo readers in no particular order:

Watership Down

Richard Adams

This is, quite simply, my favorite work of fiction ever written. You almost immediately get swept up into the world of this colony of rabbits and their flight and fight for survival. You become familiar with their culture, vocabulary, and even their folklore, all through their own eyes. The novel has deeper undertones and themes regarding society and British politics...but I was completely unaware of them at the time I read it. I fell in love with the characters (especially Bigwig!) and was totally enchanted by the world Adams created. If you saw the horrible animated version on TV back in the 80s don't let it keep you from reading the book. I literally shed tears at the end of this epic.

Out of the Silent Planet & Perelandra

C.S. Lewis

These are the first two books in Lewis' lesser-known "Space Trilogy" (the third being "That Hideous Strength", which I didn't really enjoy that much). Despite the relative shortness of these two little books, there is more deep theology packed into their pages than in all the Narnia books combined. Perelandra is my favorite of the two, but it doesn't make sense without having read Out of the Silent Planet. If you've ever wondered about the Gospel and how it would look to beings on other planets, Lewis gives you much to ponder.


Joseph F. Girzone

Simply put, "Joshua" is a fictional account of Jesus moving to the outskirts of a small middle American town and his relationship with the local people, churches and synagogue. I read this shortly after reading Philip Yancy's "The Jesus I Never Knew" and gave me a fresher understanding of Jesus than I had ever experienced before, particularly giving life to the "friend of sinners" mentality and what it might have looked like in today's culture. Girzone is a retired Catholic priest, yet his depiction of Jesus will engage ANYONE, regardless of their church/denominational background. This book (along with the 4 sequels) absolutely changed my life as I strove to live more like Jesus in everyday situations...years before people started asking "WWJD"!


James Clavell

Having always been interested in Samurai, and having seen episodes of the mini-series as a kid on TV, I picked up Shogun expecting to be transported into the world of Japan during feudal times...I was not disappointed. More than that, there is so much regarding the politics of religion and clash of cultures that anyone interested in history, particularly as it pertains to Christian missions, can get wrapped up in this majestic tale of the stranded Captain Blackthorne and his slow transformation among the samurai in Lord Toronaga's ranks. This is historical fiction at its finest.

Jurassic Park

Michael Crichton

This was the first full-length novel I ever read in less than 48 hrs. It was also the smartest. NO ONE blended heart-pounding action and frontier scientific theories like Crichton did. And in none of his books is this better demonstrated than in the original Jurassic Park. As great as Spielberg's movie adaptation was (and it was amazing!), the book is exponentially better (pun intended!).

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