Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Irony of an Inspirational Book (Week 3 essay)

Over the years I have read my inspiring books. Some books that inspired me through high school were, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Outsiders, and some of the Chicken Soup series. However, the most inspirational book that I have ever read was The Shack by William P. Young which I just recently read. The Shack is a theological fiction book which tells the story of a man, Mack, whose daughter was brutally murdered. Young covers a wide variety of theological topics in this book, each of which is relevant to the theme of Mack’s suffering and his inability to trust in a God who could let his daughter be treated in such a horrifying way. A friend of mine recommended the book and told me that I should read it. I was a little skeptical at first being that I’m not a big fan of theology and was afraid that it would change my beliefs not to mention the fact that I’m not very religious at all. Coincidently a few weeks after that, Young was a guest speaker at our church. He talked about what inspired him to write the book and how it was really a story about his childhood. I immediately became curious of the books context and asked my friend to borrow it. Since reading the book my whole perspective on life has changed especially my spirituality. Though The Shack is fiction, it allowed me to interact with my spiritual self. It is ironic that I would become such a big fan of a “Christian” book being that I rarely go to church, and that the day I did decide to go there’s this guest speaker who I immediately become a big fan of. I guess great things really do happen when you least expect them.
Growing up in a bilingual home, books played a very interesting role. Books to my parents weren’t necessarily important for their educational purpose but for the purpose of enriching my Spanish skills. My parents would make me read books in Spanish so that I wouldn’t forget my native language. They even requested that I be placed in the bilingual program at school. As I grew older and equally fluent in both languages my parents did encourage me to read anything I’d like as long as I was reading. For my 13th birthday my parents even bought me the World Book Encyclopedia collection, a little extreme some would think but I was really excited. For about a month after I would just pick up a random letter from the set and open it to any page and read whatever topic was on the page. Eventually it became boring so I was forced to move on to other forms of reading.
Finding time to read a book for leisure is extremely difficult particularly when you’re a college student taking 3 English courses each with about 80 pages worth of reading every night. However, this past summer I was able to squeeze a book I had hear about through the Oprah’s book club, The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. It is a fiction novel of Medieval England. When I first opened the 900 page book I wasn’t sure what to expect but the book was so rich in detail that I rarely wanted to close it. The protagonist of the book is Tom, a man who loves gothic cathedrals and how they are constructed. It takes place against the backdrop of actual historical events of the Middle Ages as Tom leads us through his domestic life and journey of finding a place to settle with his family. We follow Tom as he plans out the structure, and see how it's the kind of structure that a builder lives to create. This book is a wonderful way to absorb history and enjoy a multilayered story in the process. I became a big fan of the book because it was unlike any book I’ve read and the plot was very unique. Not only is Tom looking for employment he is also looking for love. This story was so vividly detailed that it almost felt as if I was living in Medieval England. Since then Ken Follett has become one of my favorite authors.

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