Literary Gifts to be Thankful For

Did you notice that Thanksgiving is right around the corner? Loosen your belts! Well, I want to be thankful, but here I want to narrow my scope of thankfulness to literary connections. In no particular order, here’s ten things I’m thankful for connected to my abilities as a writer

      1. The Bible – lots of true books, but only one book that is only Truth. It’s literally changed my life. I won’t go on here, but you know, I’m a pastor and if you’re interested in this facet of my life, check out my other blog here. However, I will say this: The Bible, if nothing else, is a literary masterpiece. It expresses sorrow, joy, and reality like no other book I know. Check it out if you never have.
      2. My wife – look, she doesn’t let me fill up three rooms in our house with shelves of books. She revels in it as much as I do! Having a partner in crime that loves reading and searching out literary treasures just encourages me more and more. We both know books and stories themselves are awesome!

      3. Unwind – This book basically opened up YA to me, a category of books I now frequent. It’s so dark and thought-provoking and hopeful, and that one chapter – possibly the only chapter of any book I’ve ever read that legitimately needed a trigger warning. If you’ve read the book, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Ever since, anything Neal Shusterman writes is something I pay attention to. Scythe in particular is one I’ll highly recommend.

      4. Jan Karon – Did you know there are other genres besides science fiction and fantasy? I know! It’s crazy! Jan Karon’s Mitford series is one I go back to again and again. It’s a sleepy, hilarious, heartfelt series, and probably includes the first book that honestly made me cry. I am thankful that she keeps me coming back for something that’s more down-to-earth.

      5. Horatio Hornblower – I came to this series first from television, but the books have opened up another genre to me. It’s just another genre that helps keep me grounded in a very different way. Sailing adventure on the high seas! Now naval literature is something I look for. I loved book one of Ramage, another naval series, though I’ve never found book two just lying about at any used book store. I still haven’t touched the Master and Commander series yet, though I’m planning to in the next year or two.

      6. That one Harry Potter ad – I was not and still am not a huge Harry Potter fan. (Put down the torches and pitchforks!) I read the first four books and didn’t feel the need to go back for more. They were all right. I had nothing against them. I just didn’t have this drive to return. And then the last movie came out, and I saw an ad comparing the first time you saw various locales of Hogwart’s and the last time you’d see them in the movie. And that comparison got me. I had to see the movie. But no way I was going to see the movie without finishing the book series. So back to the books I went! I’m grateful I went back. I’m still not a huge fan, but I certainly enjoyed it.

      7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Yep. I’m thankful to that franchise for literary reasons. See, it got me interested in ninjas, which lead me to Japanese culture as a whole. Now I read things like The Otori Saga and Usagi Yojimbo and Lone Wolf and Cub. It’s good to broaden beyond just Western literature, and I don’t know if I would have done it without those ninja turtles.

      8. Boy’s Ranch – In the town where I grew up, there was a Boy’s Ranch thrift store. For a period of time, my parents frequented there for… something. I dunno. Clothes, maybe? But they had a book room. An entire room dedicated to books. I got a lot of Charlie Brown and Wizard of Id collections there, but I also got Omega Station which was probably my first true science fiction book. I have no idea who wrote it, and it was probably terrible, but it got me into reading science fiction. There was also this book I didn’t get at the time about two little heroes carrying a ring but being stuck between two bad guys that each had their own tower… wonder whatever happened to that series?

      9. That room in my house – there was this room in my house. It was supposed to be a bedroom, but my dad used it as a sort of junk room. There was this chrome orange drum set that I remember him playing once or twice. There was the cat box. There were milk crates full of comics. And there were shelves of books. I loved that room. And it’s probably the single place that made me a reader. The mystique of all those books. I wanted to read them all.

      10. My dad – I remember Sunday afternoons being the time – he’d have the game on the tv and a book in front of him, going back and forth between the two. He’d knock out a Mack Bolan book in an afternoon, or absorb something from Doctor Who: The New Adventures. I saw dad reading. And that probably made me a reader more than anything else. And without me loving reading, I know I wouldn’t be writing. I am so, so thankful to my dad. (My mom read, too – in particular I remember a David Eddings series she went on and on about. But dad was the one I imprinted on for reading, it seems!)

What literary things are you thankful for? Any particular people, places, or books that changed who you are or help you broaden your horizons? Leave a comment, and give thanks for those things, too!

Published by Jon

Jon lives in Kentucky with his wife and an insanity of children. (A group of children is called an insanity. Trust me.)

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