Juliet Marillier planted the idea for this post in her recent post, Books as Treasure on Writer Unboxed
What makes a book a keeper? There are probably as many answers to that question as there are readers.
My eyes linger on the titles jamming my bookcase, many upright, some leaning, others stacked on top of others. For someone who is super neat, it’s chaos I can tolerate, mostly because I don’t have room for another bookcase. A purge is coming soon and books will be donated or given away.
But a few will never leave. These are the keepers, treasured beyond any monetary value.
Some are keepers because they touch us.
One such novel is Longshot by Dick Francis. I’ve always enjoyed Dick Francis mysteries, but this one has a permanent place on my shelves because of a note written by the friend who gave it to me. A note that describes the importance of our friendship, of our willingness to stick together through hard times.
There is hole in the bookcase. Not a physical hole, but that hole we get when something valuable is missing from our hearts more than it is in the real world. For me, this is the book Black Stallion by Walter Farley. This story captured my imagination when I first read it in grammar school. The beauty and bravery of the stallion and the excitement of the story world and the courage of a young boy captivated me and took me on my first adventure into the world of storytelling, a world I never wanted to leave. More than any other book I’ve read, this planted the seed to want to be a writer.
To Kill a Mockingbird touched me and changed me as it opened my eyes to injustice and racism and the power of one man willing to stand for his beliefs.
The Final Bow by David Justice inspired me as a person and a Christian as it took me on a journey to making the ultimate sacrifice for what the hero believed in.
The Chronicles of Narnia opened doors of adventure into the exciting new world of fantasy anchored in firm beliefs.
In Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, I saw myself as a boy fighting against evil aliens and learned that sometimes a more dangerous evil may lives in the hearts of our fellowman. This book cemented me as a lifelong fan of science fiction.
Card’s series The Tales of Alvin Maker opened my eyes to possibilities of crafting alternative history and magic into believable stories.
And these are only a few of my keepers.
What makes a book a keeper for you? What are your favorite literary treasures?