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Know Jack #368 My Top Ten

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

St. Augustine

I came across this quote by St. Augustine while traveling through a few states to which I have never been before—physically that is. I go places all the time without ever leaving the house. I tell Kim, “Well I’m off to Louisiana,” (Texas or Wyoming) all the time, though my body is only in the next room.

Those places are most often where I go to work. So, where does this writer go for fun? Well, here are my Top Ten favorite literary destinations.

1. The Bible. I read it for understanding and I study it for personal application/encouragement. However, it is also great literature. It is a single story with multiple subplots, and awesome, true-to-life characters. Most people miss this aspect of the Bible because they are busy trying to prove or disprove something rather than reading for story.

2. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis Originally it was a series of radio talks that Lewis gave to lift the spirits of his countrymen during the dark days of the Battle of Britain. Lewis, a one-time atheist, and professor of Philosophy presents the greatest apology for Christianity ever in an explanation of the two facts that are the basis for all clear thinking in the universe.

3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. So glad her publisher talked her into extracting this one from her original manuscript that followed the lines of her later Go Set a Watchman. Watchman, in my opinion, was a total flop. Atticus Finch, the man who does all the dirty jobs no one else will touch is one of my all-time heroes.

4. Pet Semetary by Stephen King. This is the first of King’s books I read and still my favorite. An interesting irony that those who believe “we go on” have such trouble with accepting the move. It’s true, sometimes dead is better.

5. Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes. Personally, I think Cervantes fumbled on the goal line. Nevertheless, if I could be any character in literature, I would be the tragically comic Don Quixote lost in my own world within a world.

6. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. The ultimate hero’s journey. The story follows Christian’s travels from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. I’ve read the original and the modern English versions. Go for the older one if you dare.

7. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. It may be fiction, but it is an important insight into what America is all about—its successes and failures on open display.

8. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown. The victors may write history, but the losers are not without a story worth hearing. This is history as told from the other side. If it doesn’t make you want to cry—check your pulse.

9. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. It’s just plain fun. The unassuming Thomas is very much at odds with prevailing attitudes. The view presented of life’s purpose happens to be one I share and a compelling argument for beginning to live one’s best life and dreams now.

10. Come Nineveh, Come Tyre by Allen Drury. Hands down this is my answer when asked about the scariest book I have ever read. It’s frightening because it is fiction that rings with truth. If you’re Woke, pass it by, you just can’t suspend belief in yourself enough to get it. If you believe in the basic goodness of the American Republic, turn off the television and read this.

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