I have been reflecting on the number of biographies that I read back in my high school and college years. Each of these books have shaped my thinking and broadened my world. I love these books and am thinking that I need to do some more reading in this vein soon! I love reading and teaching the Great Books, but I know that these powerful stories of faith, endurance, compassion, dedication, self-sacrifice and more are a needed component of our lives.
So here are some of my fond remembrances of books, most from at least 15 years ago.
Book Notes: (not presented in any particular order)
A Walk Across America, by Peter Jenkins
I first heard this book as my mom read it out loud to all the kids during lunch and any other time we could convince her to read. As Peter Jenkins travels across America with his dog Cooper, I was drawn into the life of small-town America. Again and again, the people of America welcomed this traveler into their homes, stores, family celebrations, churches, and their hearts. At the risk of sounding sappy, this book gave me the glimpse of the everyday, kind-hearted, giving American who wants to trust and care for his neighbor. Even now, I can flip through the book and remember the “realness” of Preacher and Pau Pau and so many others. (Plus, I always hold dearly a book that has made me cry…)
I Ain’t Comin’ Back, by Dolphus Weary
Set in rural Mississippi in the 1960’s this book introduced this white, middle-class, contented American (albiet a young one!) to the very real world of poverty, racism and immense Christian conviction. This book moved me. It shook me. It changed me.
Weary left the poverty and hardship of the deep south, but God brought him back. In coming back, he started a ministry dedicated to aiding his community as they struggled to overcome poverty and rise above the affects of long-term racism.
Angels Unaware, by Dale Evans Rogers
I actually read three of Roger’s books-Angels Unaware, Dearest Debbie and Salute to Sandy. And yes, this is Rogers as in the wife of Roy Rogers. Together, all three short books showed me the unconditional love that a godly mother can have in the most heart-wrenching circumstances. Dale Evans understood pain and she understood grace. This book celebrates in a very real way the sanctity of life and the high calling of motherhood. (And it certainly brings tears…)