How Books Change Us by Elizabeth Goddard
June 7, 2012 1 Comment
Someone once told me that when you read a book you should walk away changed in some way. As a reader, I should expect the book to change me, and as an author, I should write a story that will impact my readers. As a Christian writer, I can do my best to develop a theme but most of the time that theme grows as the characters come alive during the writing process. Ultimately, God is the One who directs much about the story that will change someone. By change I mean creating a positive influence on the way a person thinks or feels about various aspects of life. That could be spiritual or otherwise.
This month the Christians Read team is holding a contest over at The Book Club Network and featuring a huge giveaway. We’re having a great discussion with readers if you’d like to join. Reading through the discussions made me think about the way books can change us. Lots of folks have shared how Christians novels, specifically, have moved them in a variety of ways.
I thought it would be fun to share here which books left me thinking for days, even weeks, after I finished the book. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, because I’d love to believe that every book I’ve read left me a different person in some way. After all, I’ve spent hours in the story world and have potentially experienced new situations through the eyes of the characters–situations I wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.
It goes without saying that the Bible is the not only the most popular book of all time, but has also had the most impact. For this post I’m referring to novels. These are a few that have impacted me the most. I’m sure many of you will recognize these stories and agree.
1)Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers: This novel affected me in a profound way by opening my eyes to how much God loves us. Of course, my new understanding isn’t anything I can put into so many words, but it’s there. I’m a different person for having read it.
2)Mark of the Lion series by Francine River: It’s easy to understand why she’s a big author, isn’t it? In this series, I learned so much about the Roman Empire and saw so many things within our own society that reflect that of Rome during this period. Scary. More importantly, I felt like I had witnessed first-hand how a true Christian should react in all situations. Hadassah serves as an example to me to this day.
3)Arena by Karen Hancock: This novel was an allegory of our Christian walk and revealed so many truths that I hadn’t put much thought into before reading this. I thought about the story, felt something move in me emotionally and spiritually, for several weeks after reading it.
4) Byzantium by Stephen Lawhead: The incredible journey of a Celtic priest and how he lost his faith in God after too many hardships and found it again. I can’t say enough about how often I was brought to tears, especially at the profoundly written conclusion.
Again, this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but maybe this will get you started. Care to share which books have impacted you and why?