That Book’s a Keeper

Juliet Marillier planted the idea for this post in her recent post, Books as Treasure on Writer Unboxed

19 Jan 2005 --- Row of Old Books --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisWhat 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 missingtheblackstallion 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 Bookcasesometimes 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?

6 Responses to That Book’s a Keeper

  1. Jenny Snow November 16, 2016 at 4:03 pm #

    My favorite is A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers. I love it because the history and romance seemed to come alive, and because I loved the main character and want to be like her.

    What age do you recommend Black Stallion for?

  2. Henry November 16, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

    Hi Jenny,
    Thanks for stopping by. I’ve heard a lot of positives about Francine Rivers but, strange as it may seem, I haven’t read any of her yet.

    I read Black Stallion in grammar school. I don’t remember which grade (it was a long time ago). I would suggest a parent read the first couple of chapters to see if their kid’s reading level is up to it. If I had to be more definite, I’d say 4th grade if the kid enjoys reading enjoy reading. I also think both boys and girls would enjoy it. Hope this helps.

  3. Jenny Snow November 16, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

    Thanks, Henry. It does! I’m always on the look out for books for my boys.

    In my opinion, Francine is the best out there. But her novels are definitely geared more toward women.

  4. Jocelyn November 16, 2016 at 9:20 pm #

    I love the classics. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, North and South, The Count of Monte Cristo, Les Miserables (I read these last two along with my son when he was in high school) etc.
    More recently, I have discovered Christian fiction writers who have learned their craft so well, they draw me into their stories. I want to own their books, reread them and learn from them. There’s just something magical about being lost in a story, watching them in my mind’s eye as if on a screen. Needless to say, not many book move out. I think we will have to make room for another bookcase 🙂

  5. Henry November 17, 2016 at 12:08 am #

    Thanks, Jen.

  6. Henry November 17, 2016 at 12:11 am #

    Hi Jocelyn,
    Thanks for sharing your comment. I read some of those books years ago. You’re encouraging me to revisit them.
    If I keep any more books, I’ll have to add a room, not just a book case.
    Thank you for visiting today.

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