|Posted by ruthsmithmeyer-com on March 9, 2014 at 9:10 PM|
This is the 5th in a series of blogs for Ruth Snyder’s Blog Hop. You can see the others at http://ruthlsnyder.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/my-favourite-genre/
To a dyed-in-the-wool reader, who even read the dictionary with enthusiasm, the question “What is your favorite genre?” poses an insoluble quandary. Which to choose?
As an early teen, I liked good fiction and learned a lot about life and life choices through those imaginary characters who displayed either traits I admired and wanted to follow or those I knew weren’t good role models and therefore didn’t want to emulate. Even the Heidi series,the much maligned Pollyanna, the Anne of Green Gables series, Little Women and Little Men by Louise May Alcott taught me perseverance and the desire to make the best of the situations I encountered. It was the latter that inspired us to dub different areas of our woods, names like Violet Vale and Lady Slipper Glen. Robert Lewis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and Mowgli by Rudyard Kipling were captivating for their exotic appeal.
I learned a lot from different eras and different cultures through fiction. I found historical novels an easy way to acquire the facts and aura of times past—much more pleasurable than the history lessons in school where dates seemed to be the most important part of it all. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Les Miserable and The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo, Katherine by Anya Seton, Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee to name just a few.
The Robe and the Big Fisherman by Lloyd C. Douglas were among the first Biblical fiction I read, The Red Tent by Anita Diament and Come to Me by Laura Davis among the latest with many more in between.
It is said we learn from our mistakes, but I like to think I learned from mistakes made by those fictional people so that I didn’t have to make quite as many of my own. I still love good fiction for many of the same reasons.
I soon discovered biographies and autobiographies. Those were even more fascinating for they were real people. The honesty of those stories helped me to candidly look at myself—to admit my weaknesses and areas needing growth, and discover, too, my strengths. A Man Named Peter , To Live Again, Something More and Beyond Ourselves by Catherine Marshall, Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot changed my life. Although I can’t recall all the titles any more, books about David Brainerd, William Carey, George Grenfell, Adoniram Judson, David Livingstone, Mary Slessor, Hudson Taylor inspired me to make the most of my life, to utilize my assets and broadened my horizons. The stories about George Washington Carver and Booker T Washington also stirred and stimulated me. In these authentic accounts I again met people of all ages, of different eras, various nationalities, vocations and experiences. Many of them inspired me to stretch my boundaries and try more than I might have tried without.
Many of those books changed my life and continue to as I read more contemporary biographies and autobiographies of people expending their lives for the good of others and in service to God and their fellow human beings.
The longer I think about it, the more titles I recall, but I vividly remember the life lessons I’ve learned through the books I’ve read and the difference they have made in my understanding of people—those who are much like me and those much different from my own experience.
Probably the best gift all that reading has given me is an open heart and mind to whoever I meet, no matter who they are, where they come from, how they look or act, whether they are celebrities or people who live in the streets, I always wonder what brought them to the present station or circumstance in life. I’d like to know their stories.
I’d love to hear from you what books have influenced your lives.
It stands to reason that with a varied taste in reading, my writing follows suit. I really didn't have any intention on starting out with a novel, but my first published books turned out to be that genre. Next came a children's book and now I'm working on a memoir and worship leader's guide with prayers, calls to worship, dramatic readings and such. Who knows what other genres may be persued if God continues to give me life and mental health and abilities?