Never Underestimate the Power of a Good Book - Guest Post by Wendy Taylor

Monday, May 22, 2017

Wendy....MY Wendy (Or more accurately Hermione Granger...Or me...) Basically, we are the same person in 2 different bodies...we even each other out...round out each other's sharp corners...and have about 95% of the same interests in EVERYTHING. (Although chocolate may have come between us more than once...)* 

I met Wendy a little over 2 years ago. We were getting settled back in our hometown after being gone for a year, when one of my really good friends Samantha, invited Zach and I to start attending their small group. Long story short, Wendy and I have been inseparable ever since. We have survived 16 hours in the car together (in one day)...Multiple laughing fits (which usually resulted in snort-laughing)...chick flick nights (OK, ZACH is the one who "survived" those)...and many more adventures. 

I am SO excited to have her visiting Bookworm Mama today! Not only do I have the honor of introducing her to YOU, but she is talking about our favorite topic around here....BOOKS!!!

*Now you have to guess who likes it and who doesn't

I come from a bookish family.  My brother is an award-winning illustrator,my sister is a freelance editor, my father is published in several periodicals, and I guess I’ve been published too if you count blogs and university magazines.

Some of my earliest memories are of lying in bed watching my mom read to us from the hallway.  I traveled worlds in the stories she read: Narnia, Middle Earth, and dozens more.  To this day, I am addicted to the written word.  I cannot remember a day of my life that didn’t involve books.  Even on our long backpacking trips into the mountains, evenings were spent around the fire listening to my father snicker through Patrick McManus books.  Some books in your life are special. Books that inspire or speak to you, ones in which you see yourself- or at least who you would like to be.  Books teach us about ourselves and our potential both as individuals and as a people.  Some books are like old friends, you return to them and read them again and again until they fall apart and the characters and stories become a part of you.  They say that you are highly influenced by the five people you associate with the most – let us hold books to the same truth and imagine that the five books we read most filter into our personalities.  Here are my five – the stories I return to most because of what I learn and see in them:

Persuasion is the story of a wise yet soft-spoken woman, Anne.  She is loyal to her family and friends to a fault.  Her father, sisters, and friends all rely heavily on her to settle disputes, advise the foolish, and control the frivolous.  She does so tirelessly, rarely thinking of her own happiness, even to the point of rejecting the man she loves to keep the peace among her small circle.  But, beneath her meek exterior flows a strength that her family and friends do not see.  In the end, her steadfast spirit has once again drawn the attention of the man she loves and they thwart the schemes of those around them.  Anne defies them all and seizes her own happiness to the great joy of her true friends.  While I rarely get approached for advice or feel walked upon by my family or friends, her quiet strength shows me that there are many different ways to be strong.

Anne of Green Gables and I have a very special relationship.  I did not discover this literary gem until college. I’m fairly certain, my non-bookish roommate first started to doubt my sanity when she came back to our room to find me sobbing over a book.  Anne’s indefatigable spirit and high flying imagination speak very deeply to my soul.  I frequently spend hours holed up in coffee shops completely oblivious to the world around me as I spin stories in my head and attempt to get them down on paper.  The predicaments she finds herself in are all too familiar to me as well.  Often my best laid plans turn to complete disaster.  Anne’s ability to laugh, roll with life’s punches, and start afresh the next day have helped me learn to do the same.

Harry Potter may seem a cliché choice these days with its sky-high popularity, but the thing that draws me to the story is the approach JK Rowling takes on evil.  Over the course of the books, you see the parallels between Harry and Voldemort and the choices they both have to face.  Harry’s choices are what set him apart.  He is given the opportunity to become evil is small ways, a selfish act here, a fight there, yet he chooses to love and sacrifice for those around him.  As Dumbledore reminds him, “We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.”  Harry teaches us that no one becomes evil overnight – it is a slow and gradual descent made with a thousand small decisions.  So don’t treat any decision as small, they all come together to form who you are and where your path will take you.

The Chronicles of Narnia teach me something new and profound each time I read them.  Though they are written essentially for children, CS Lewis had such a deep understanding of the relationship people enjoy with God, his truths hold for any age.  Most often when I read his books, I identify with Lucy, the trusting girl who sees Aslan most often out of all the children.  I am frequently reminded of her conversations with Aslan, their gentle and loving relationship, his rebukes when she needs them and her attitude toward those rebukes.  Granted, I am not always acting like Lucy; sometimes I’m selfish Edmond, doubting Susan, or egotistical Peter.  I love when Aslan reminds Lucy that he grows as she does and he becomes more profound as her understanding deepens.  It reminds me that my relationship with God is just the same.  He lovingly rebukes me when I need it, walks beside me when I feel alone, and He really is The Lion of The Tribe of Judah.  As Mr. Beaver said “Who said anything about safe?  ‘Course he isn’t safe.  But he’s good.  He’s the King, I tell you.”

The Lord of the Rings is another beautifully woven story with complex and intricate characters.  I always find myself skipping ahead to Eowyn’s story.  She has a fierce spirit, and when the warrior Aragorn asks her what she fears, her reply is simple: “A cage.  To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.”  She aches to use the strength she has been given to battle the evil she sees in the world.  She is held back by those who love her and told to stay within the safety of her uncle’s stronghold.  But she refuses to be contained.  She rides out into battle and ends up saving everyone.  She vanquishes an evil that only her strength can kill and earns the loyalty, respect, and love of a man who is worthy of her.

Every story holds some piece of the human spirit, speaking to us of who we are or who we could be.  I like to see myself in each of these books (and many, many more) and hope that by reading them, I can imbibe even more of those characters into my own: Anne’s quiet strength, the other Anne’s indefatigable spirit, Harry’s choices to stand against evil, Lucy’s constant seeking to know God better, and Eowyn’s fierce determination to use her strength for what she knows is right.  Our favorite books accompany us on this crazy journey we call life and become just as important to us as old friends.  Never underestimate the power of a good book.

About Wendy
Wendy is a lifelong bibliophile, an experimental chef, swimming pool know-it-all, classical vocalist, and volunteer Middle School Youth Leader. She holds a degree in English Literature from Washington State University (Go Cougs!) and loves her small town life in rural Washington. If you'd like to see more of her writing, you can check out her blog, Christian Spinster.
Powered by Blogger.
Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan

Your copyright

© Bookworm Mama 2023