In Others’ Words: Books

“Reading is a means of thinking with another person’s mind; it forces you to stretch your own.” ~Charles Scribner, Jr., American publisher

More than once I’ve confronted the question “What’s the best book you’ve ever read?” — or some derivative of that question. Usually, my response is something like, “How do you expect me to pick only one book?!”

Last week, when asked that question yet again, I finally stumbled upon my answer forever and ever, amen. The best book I ever read — my favorite book — is the first book I ever read. And, yes, that book was probably something along the lines of “See Dick run,” but it was the one that began my lifelong love affair with books.

One of the best things about books? Getting to see what other people think about love and life and the great wide world out there — and beyond. I’m not limited to me, myself and I … When I walk into a library or a bookstore or download a book to my Kindle I have access to others’ thoughts, tragedies, triumphs …


Amazing, aren’t they?

In Your Words: What book has stretched your mind by challenging (maybe even changing) your thinking? Pick a novel or a nonfiction or a children’s book … I’d love to hear about it!


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  1. March 7, 2012, 4:42 am   /  Reply

    I can’t believe you want me to pick just one book. Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Ok. Sorry, but I have to mention two. 1. The Biography of Will Rogers. 2. Exodus by Leon Uris.

    The first one because it’s the first book I ever remember reading. I was probably six or seven(I started reading when the Comic strips in the Sunday paper when I was 5 and checking out books at the library before I started school) I realized after I read Will Rogers’ biography I could go to places like Oklahoma – which seemed milllions of miles away – and become friends with people. To this day, I feel like Will Rogers is an old friend. I read the 2nd book in the 10th grade. It’s set against the backdrop of Israel in 1948. Even though it was fiction, I learned so much about that region. These are 2 books made a huge impact on me and I’ve never forgotten them.

    • Beth Vogt
      March 7, 2012, 7:51 am   /  Reply

      I remember enjoying the comic strip too, Pat — and fighting over them … I mean, sharing them with my siblings.
      And biographies are always a great read!

  2. March 7, 2012, 5:32 am   /  Reply

    The Little Rose of Sharon. A children’s story. I can’t read it without crying. Such beauty in the beauty of God’s love for us. Sometimes, I get so invested in characters and romances that I miss some important things, like message (I am admitting that). In a children’s book, the simplicity seems to help me see the depth that’s buried within the story.

    • Beth Vogt
      March 7, 2012, 7:52 am   /  Reply

      Agreed, Jess, the simplicity of children’s stories is so appealing.

  3. March 7, 2012, 6:07 am   /  Reply

    I wrote this on Wendy’s post, but I’ll say it here too. I loved “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers because it is the first Christian novel I ever read. I didn’t really realize this whole genre of inspirational fiction even existed…and that it could be breathtakingly beautiful. It’s what first inspired me to write a novel; I’d always wanted to, but thought I’d have nothing to write about, and that I hated when novels ended unsatisfactorily. But with this genre, you can end a book with hope, and that hooked me.

    • Beth Vogt
      March 7, 2012, 7:53 am   /  Reply

      It was Wendy’s post where we discussed books, wasn’t it?
      And I’m with you, Lindsay, I love movies and novels that are laced with hope.

  4. March 7, 2012, 6:38 am   /  Reply

    Love your answer to this question, Beth.

    My favorite fiction by far is “A Voice in the Wind” by Francine Rivers. This book changed the way I view fiction and telling a story–Hadassah is forever etched in my mind as a true heroine.

    For nonfiction, I’m in the middle of “Give Them Grace” by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Her approach to parenting is revolutionary and I plan to read this book over and over again.

    Thanks for the post!

    • Beth Vogt
      March 7, 2012, 7:54 am   /  Reply

      Welcome to the conversation, Heidi!
      And thanks for giving me a new author to explore. That’s quite a recommendation for Elyse F.

      • Amy Leigh Simpson
        March 8, 2012, 1:44 pm   /  Reply

        A voice in the Wind is my vote too! Totally changed my life and ignited my love of fiction.

  5. March 7, 2012, 6:40 am   /  Reply

    Yeah, I know where you answered that! Ah ha! I got an answer from you after all. You rock, Beth!

    Getting excited for you…it’s getting warmer here which means release day is coming!
    ~ Wendy

    • Beth Vogt
      March 7, 2012, 7:54 am   /  Reply

      Yes, you did get an answer from me, didn’t you, Wendy? That’s one of the rules of your Friday question game … and I always try to play by the rules — at least on Fridays.


  6. March 7, 2012, 6:55 am   /  Reply

    Pat, I love Exodus, and the nation of Israel. After visiting Israel & then seeing the movie Exodus again, when the King David hotel came on screen, I cried.
    I remember great stories in 2nd and 3rd grade readers–many of them stick. And I discovered folk songs, spirituals, and poetry, and then writing poetry. When I was 11, my father’s mother noticed and bought me a volume of famous poems for Christmas. I disappeared under the pile of coats on the (cold) guest room bed and discovered new favorites, having my own sense of rhyme and rhythm stretched far. And our home was across the street from a small public library–what could be better!

    • Beth Vogt
      March 7, 2012, 10:57 am   /  Reply

      What could be better than living right across the street from the public library, Dee?
      Maybe living next door to you?

  7. Jeanne T
    March 7, 2012, 7:23 am   /  Reply

    So many books I could mention. One of the most life impacting books for me would have to be The Debt, by Angela Hunt. It really challenged me to think about how I live out my Christian life. Convicting in the best sorts of ways. A book that ministered to me during a time of heart ache was Francine Rivers’ The Atonement Child. Love the story of choosing life and the beautiful way Francine weaves the story together.

    • Beth Vogt
      March 7, 2012, 10:56 am   /  Reply

      Well, Francine Rivers continues to be a popular author today. Need to add her books to my reading list.

  8. March 7, 2012, 7:56 am   /  Reply

    When Heaven Weeps by Ted Dekker made me cry more than any book ever. It’s a riveting story with such deep, deep truth. Love it. It’s sort of a modern day Hosea-Gomer story with drugs and suspense and a mega love story. I love it soooo much. I think it’s the first time I realized what power lies in “story”… I think we humans are wired to connect with stories. Something about stories gel with us…and I’m crazy about the idea of someday writing something as poignant as that novel, with the capacity to not just touch lives but sorta punch ’em. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      March 7, 2012, 10:58 am   /  Reply

      I agree, Melissa. I think story connects us to others. It is so, so powerful.
      I have no doubt you will one day write that poignant novel that touches others’ lives.

  9. Megan DiMaria
    March 7, 2012, 11:11 am   /  Reply

    Picking a favorite book would be like picking a favorite child. No can do.

    But there are books that have stayed with me long after the last page was read. I can’t remember the name of the series I read in the 6th grade, but the story was about a religious Jewish girl who lived in Brooklyn. Loved it! Loved learning about how her faith impacted her day-to-day life. I loved Forever Amber, a required reading book in college. It was written in the 1940s and is considered the 1st chick lit novel. It’s a story that I journeyed with Amber from the time she was 16, pregnant, and penniless until she was mature and powerful.

    Thanks for the stroll down memory lane, Beth!

    • Beth Vogt
      March 7, 2012, 2:09 pm   /  Reply

      Like you, there are books that have stuck with me forever. This is why I will always by traditional books — ones that will sit on my bookshelves for years and be taken down, re-read again and again. It’s hard to savor the whole book experience via Kindle.
      That is a whole other blog post, I know.


  10. March 7, 2012, 2:55 pm   /  Reply

    Just one, huh? I loved your answer, Beth. Outside of the Bible, I’d have to say, “Six Hours One Friday” by Max Lucado. His word pictures take me back to the foot of the cross every Lent. I’m re-reading again right now. Powerful. Life-changing. Amazing.

    • Beth Vogt
      March 7, 2012, 4:13 pm   /  Reply

      Oh, Donna, I love, love, love Max Lucado’s books.

  11. March 7, 2012, 3:24 pm   /  Reply

    I absolutely loved The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster when I was in 5th grade. It was my favorite, favorite, favorite. I read it to my 5th graders out loud each year that I taught.

    • Beth Vogt
      March 7, 2012, 4:13 pm   /  Reply

      My daughter is in 5th grade. She received The Phantom Toll Booth last year — it’s in her To Be Read pile. She is a voracious reader.

  12. Karen S. Elliott
    March 7, 2012, 4:33 pm   /  Reply

    I don’t remember the first book I read all on my own (not as school work)…it was probably a Nancy Drew. I love the way some books introduce me to other cities, countries, and cultures. I love to read good historical novels, too, to learn more about how life was like back in my ancestors’ time. There is no way I could pick one book. Though I do know when I was going to be under flood waters the next day and my son was helping me grab a few things, I told him, “Grab my books!” And that’s about all I came away with, my three bookshelves full of books.

    • Beth Vogt
      March 7, 2012, 6:46 pm   /  Reply

      About to be flooded and saving your books.
      How telling.

  13. Patti Mallett
    March 8, 2012, 8:12 am   /  Reply

    “See Jane run.” Yes, Beth. I remember those books. (Thankfully they didn’t ruin us for reading forever. haha….)

    Every one of the original “Nancy Drew” books must be on my list.
    They led me to a love of reading. My girlfriends and I often read them to each other.

    “Gone With the Wind” is on the list, too.

    Thanks for stirring the embers this morning. My brain needed the heat!!

    • Beth Vogt
      March 8, 2012, 8:55 am   /  Reply

      Ah, yes, Jane was part of the story too.

      • Patti Mallett
        March 8, 2012, 9:52 am   /  Reply

        Was thinking of you while driving toward home, wondering how I was going to pick up where I left off with a new story idea. Then a voice in my head said, “Just throw up on the page, Patti.” (lol) And I instantly relaxed. Seriously. Getting permission to do that is Huge. Thanks for that, Beth!! (……erp.)

        • Beth Vogt
          March 8, 2012, 9:56 am   /  Reply

          While this comment has nothing to do with books …
          Yes, yes it does.
          It has to do with the writing of books.
          You can do it, Patti.

  14. March 8, 2012, 1:26 pm   /  Reply

    I’m having a difficult time selecting one. I loved to read as a kid and cherished those trips to the library to pick out a stack of books. It was always fun, especially when I searched for books outside of the children’s book section.

  15. March 9, 2012, 2:16 pm   /  Reply

    I had trouble getting back to your blog!Glad I found it. I’m also glad to hear you say you don’t have one favorite book–I don’t like that question when asked as I love every book for itself. Like you, I remember the thrill of learning to read and the excitement I felt when I was able to go to the library and pick out any book I want. (still my favorite place ever to be)

    • Beth Vogt
      March 9, 2012, 2:52 pm   /  Reply

      I’m glad you found your way back too, Terri! And, yes, I still love the library — and I loved introducing my kiddos to the library too.

  16. March 10, 2012, 10:33 am   /  Reply

    What an interesting discussion! And I remember the Dick and Jane books for the same reason. They introduced me to a myriad of other worlds.


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