When you’re younger, you always ask your friends things like, “If you were on an island and could only have two foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?” or “What two friends would you want with you on an island in the middle of the ocean?” as if that’s not a completely loaded question. I think those are fun to think about. In a way, deep down inside, it makes us organize priorities and importance. That might sound a little too deep for silly, childhood questions, but have you ever thought about what three foods you absolutely couldn’t live without. Well, have you ever thought about what three books you absolutely couldn’t live without? Even as an author and an avid reader, I don’t know if I have ever truly thought of that question. I have certainly thought of my favorite book. And I would have to say, even though my favorite book is The Hobbit, it has changed several times, over time. But, what three books couldn’t you live without. Hmmmm.
For what its worth, here are the three books that I don’t think I could live without, the three books that I absolutely must have if I ever get deserted on an island and have to live there for the rest of my life. I would like to say that these are not necessarily in order of importance.
The Hobbit. This is my favorite fictional book. I first read The Hobbit when I was in sixth grade. The librarian at my elementary school had to special order it for me, and I can still remember sitting down at my desk and looking at that yellow cover with the picture of Smaug lying atop this huge mound of treasure. The picture wasn’t all that great, but my dad and uncle had told me about The Hobbit, and I had watched the cartoon I don’t know how many times. I just sat there, imagining the mysteries and adventure and excitement that lay behind that cover. And that was it. I was sold out to fantasy in that moment. Those first lines, the explanation of a Hobbit hole, the introduction of a company of dwarves led by some mysterious wizard—BOOM! Done. Now, I have criticized Tolkien’s writing as I’ve gotten older, and my tastes have changed, but The Hobbit has come out on top. So if I couldn’t get my hands on any other piece of fantasy fiction for the rest of my life, this would have to be the one I could read over and over again without losing my mind.
The King Raven Trilogy. I read this trilogy (I know not technically one book but you can buy them as one book, so I’m counting them as one book) not too long ago. It was my first endeavor into the works of Stephen Lawhead and I was pleasantry surprised. I picked up Lawhead because of a suggestion. He is a primarily fantasy author—although he does historical fiction and historical fantasy as well—who writes with strong Christian undertones. I try to weave some of my faith in my own writing, so I thought it would be good to read other authors who do the same. I was very disappointed with most. Of course, I am very disappointed with much of what gets published right now. It seems that there are always three or four shape-shifter, romance, ménage-a-triose books in the top twenty of Amazon. They’re terribly written and simply satisfy some primal sense that some readers want out there. Much of the Christian fiction world—very similar to the Christian music world—seems to turn a blind eye to bad writing simply because it is a Christian novel. I don’t think that is right. Regardless of the topic, I feel like good writing should be good writing, and good music should be good music. My point being, I picked up The King Raven Trilogy with great trepidation, already having read some pretty awful Christian fiction, and found something that I quickly fell in love with. It is a tale of Robin Hood, but told a little differently. One of the things I love about this tale is its not a tale of Saxons versus Normans, but Welsh versus Normans—a very different spin. Nottingham isn’t even in the story, and it weaves English mysticism and myth into a very historically accurate fictional retelling of the oppressive Norman invasion of England and the ensuing results. In my opinion, historical fantasy fiction at its best.
Okay, so this may seem campy for some, sacrilegious for others, but my third book would be the Bible. My desire is not to get preachy here, not at all, but I am a Christian and, even though I do not open up the pages of my Bible (or the pages of my Bible app) as much as I want to or should, the Word of God has been a mainstay throughout my life and, no matter what I am going through, I can always look to the Word for advice, guidance, solace, comfort, etc. I believe that faith is important. I know that theologies and denominations and styles of worship can get in the way, and I know for a lot of people faith is a very personal thing, but when I want to understand who God is and why He is doing something in my life, it is His Word that I have to turn to. In fact, whenever I get frustrated with all those things, those extrinsic things that really end up seeming so inconsequential, I can turn to the Bible and get a true bearing and understanding of my faith, my faith community, the faith of my family. And, to be honest, the Bible has some of those elements that I just absolutely love in a book, whether its fiction or non-fiction. To me, it’s very believable. It has tales (that are true in my opinion) of mystery, intrigue, romance, horror, adventure. It’s got guys wielding swords and spears and wearing armor. Can’t go wrong with that. And, of course, at the end of the day, it is a statement of who I am.
So, ladies and gentlemen, readers of fiction, fantasy, adventure, and everything else, these are the three books I would want with me if I were stranded on an island. I will be completely honest and tell you, part of me wanted to put my own books in the list. Not because I think my books are amazing, but because I figure it would be a great opportunity to perfect my own stories. With that, I bid you adieu until next time. Make sure you check out my Author’s page at Amazon and until next time, HAPPY READING!!!