Pandora’s Library

I wrote a series of essays recently that revolved around books and reading. An organization called The National Association of 
Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE) celebrated Great Books Week (October 4 – October 9, 2009) by hosting the Great Books Week Blog Tour. NAIWE invited bloggers to post one blog entry per day on topics they provided. I posted essays for four out of the five days (I got sidelined by an illness that laid me up too much that last day).

The first essay for this series was entitled “Seven Books, A Desert Island, and Me”. The basic premise was to list seven books to take if stranded upon a desert island for a few years. The last book on this list was Billy Sunday by Rachel M. Phillips. I listed this one because it was a book I had always wanted to read but I had not yet read. Coincidentally, I had just purchased the book before getting wind of NAIWE’s challenge.

This lead to some conversations between my sister and me about books we had read. Our mother was an avid reader who frequently gave books as gifts. Our father on the other hand is not as much of an avid reader as our mother (to be fair, I have met few people who were). That being said, if you gave my father a book, he would read it. If he found a particular book insightful, he would take you to school about it. My sister began to talk about a particularly moving story called The Shack by Wm. Paul Young. This was one of those books that turned my father into Professor McAfee. Trusting my sister’s insight (as well as my father’s), I put this book on my online wish list.

The conversation then turned to another book called 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper (with Cecil Murphy). My parents were involved in a severe automobile accident in 1999. It was by the grace of God that my mother not only survived the accident but lived for another seven years. My parents shared a house with my sister and her family starting in 2002. My sister told me that 90 Minutes in Heaven was a book that my mother felt was required reading. Apparently, it provides a very accurate portrayal of my mother’s experience immediately following the 1999 accident. So, once again, I updated my online wish list.

In addition to this, one of my favorite writers/podcasters, Kevin Cummings, is promoting his new book called Happily Domesticated: Musings on life, love, parenthood, malfunctioning appliances and marital bliss. I love Kevin Cummings’ work. In addition to his book he runs a podcast called “Short Cummings Audio”. If you haven’t read Kevin’ work or heard his podcast, you are truly missing out. Needless to say, Kevin’s new book is part of my wish list.

The days that followed became more and more interesting. I received a copy of The Shack in the mail. My sister went to my online wish list and ordered the book as a gift. I haven’t even started Billy Sunday yet and now I have another book to add to my reading list. Several days later, I received 90 Minutes in Heaven arrived for me (once again due to the generosity of my sister). On top of all this, I received an email from Kevin Cummings. Kevin ran a contest to promote his book. I entered the contest and added an online link to his book onto my blog site. Kevin decided to award all five people who entered the contest an autographed copy of Happily Domesticated: Musings on life, love, parenthood, malfunctioning appliances and marital bliss. I am thrilled beyond words to receive something like this from someone whose work I admire so much.

I started this week by responding to a challenge of writing daily for several consecutive days (something I had never done previously). This helped to remind me that I am the conduit of my writing, not the source (a wise writer once told me that). My week ended with four new books to read. Three of these books were given to me by people I respect a great deal. My writing this week opened Pandora’s box. I am delighted to find it full of books.

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2 thoughts on “Pandora’s Library

  1. Thanks for the kind words Shane. I'm glad you're looking forward to the book.Several of my coworkers have read The Shack. I'll be curious to hear your take on it.At the moment, I'm bouncing between the "And Another Thing" (the new "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" novel) and "Soulless" (Gail Carriger's fun Austen/Steampunk/Supernatural mashup.)

  2. I have re-shuffled the order of my books to read several times in the past week. For what it's worth, My wife read the excerpts on the back cover of your books and cracked up laughing. She think our writing styles our very similar (What can I say, we share the Bombeck gene. Then my wife asked: "When's YOUR book coming out?" I began reading it that day. I really liked "What Little People Can Do". I am still going through it. I will definitely give you my impressions on "The Shack" when I get to it. I am interested in your impressions of "And Another Thing". I was totally out of the loop on that one so thanks for the heads up.

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