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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Friday, December 17, 2010


I’ve just read an essay about how the Chronicles of Narnia shaped the writer’s life! After the Bible, says pastor Julie Clawson this work was the most formative in her developing character and theology. Narnia was never part of my literary life, either in childhood or adulthood, although my children and grandchildren claim ownership of this C.S.Lewis classic.

As Christmas approaches and some of us are seeking out that keeper book to give to the readers on our gift list, perhaps we, like Clawson, are recalling some of the books that brought meaning to our own lives, and would be likely gifts to give to a learning to read child (maybe Charlotte’s Web? Or Stuart Little?). Who is ready to meet the Hobbits for the first time? Or maybe Black Beauty, or Treasure Island or the Robinsons (Crusoe, or the Swiss family)?

My reading grandchildren are great library users, but sometimes there are some books that you just need to own for yourself, to keep and be able to read again, or at least to let them live on your very own bookshelf. For example, I see those colourful volumes of Harry Potter everywhere! Those are the ones I try to figure out and find for them.

You’ll not be surprised to learn that two of the authors I favoured as a child were Louisa May Alcott and her writing heroine “Jo March” and L.M. Montgomery’s Anne (with an “e”) Shirley, also a scribbler. The latter even more appreciated because of her Canadian roots and the rural context I could recognize. That row of dull green covers still sits in a place of honour on my own top shelf. I’ve only recently read Jane Urquart’s short but revealing biography of Montgomery and have developed an even greater appreciation for this writer and the literary value of her work. (Check it out here .) I think I'll be pulling one or more of those dear volumes down to re-read over my Christmas holiday.

So my question for the day is not: what are you reading now? But what book or books shaped your life? What are the keepers for you? And if you want to be very generous, share a line or two about why a particular book has been important in your life.

Posted by Marion


  1. Oh Marion ... I just absolutely loved this blog!!
    It brought me right back to my childhood, sitting on a branch in my Aunts apple tree, resting my back on the big trunk with my nose in a book or writing.
    Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorites as is anything L.M. Montgomery. Having been to the island and visiting many of thos magical places they are even more special to me now.
    As an adult, one of the best books I have recently read is The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. You are absolutely right, there are some books that one MUST simply OWN. Every book spine is a memory, cherished, sentimental, magical, profound or heartwarming. Either way, a journey shaping me page by page.
    Happy Reading!

  2. I should have known you'd understand Mel.
    Yes, I have been to PEI and Anne's home (sort of-- you must get Urquart's book!)
    Planning lots of RE-reading this holiday. And for that, it's best to own the books.

  3. One of my all-time favorite authors is W. O. Mitchell, and my favorite Mitchell book is Who Has Seen the Wind. The first time I read it I enjoyed it as a nice, comfortable, easy 'boy grows up in the prairies' novel. The second time I read it, I couldn't believe all the incredible imagery I had missed the first time through. The book has a dark side mixed in with that patented W.O. Mitchell humour. Mitchell was an incredible Canadian and author. I still miss his voice on the radio at special times like Christmas.

    As an aside, I once met Mitchell in an airport waiting room in Calgary. I introduced myself and told him how much I enjoyed his books. He was incredibly shy, seemed embarrassed, and didn't seem to know what to say. I am still amazed that someone who wrote so well and was so charming and articulate on the radio could be so tongue-tied in person.

  4. marion, remind me to tell you a meet the hobbit story sometime..;)

  5. Thanks for the reminder Carman. I remember listening to him chat with Peter Gzowski many times. I might read that one again too--but I didn't keep it, so I must watch for it at Macondo's.

  6. I'm often cheered by the knowledge that when the student is ready the teacher will appear. I was a teenager when I read 'Living, Loving and Learning', Leo Buscaglia's insightful, warm and wonderful collection of lectures. This book shaped me and it's still a gift that I joyfully share when the time is right.

    “It's not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.”

    Leo F. Buscaglia


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