Jul 22, 2009

A Change

by Marielle Carlisle

The Universe is trying to tell me something, I know it.

Last week three events transpired within a 24 hour time frame that have persuaded me to broaden my reading horizon. If you ask me, it was completely uncanny.

First, I went to a book signing for Shannon Hale. She is such a great gal. I loved listening to her talk about her books and about her life in general. One thing that really struck me was when she said she doesn't read books in a series one after another because it affects the way she writes. I thought about that, and it's true. After reading a writer's style for so long, you start to think in the same way they write.

The morning after the book signing, I went on a walk with my father. My dad loves to read (I inherited the same insatiable appetite for books from him), and I told him about Shannon Hale's book signing and what she said about reading different books and how I thought that was a good idea. He asked me, "well, have you ever read any classics?" Um, (awkward pause), not since high school. Lately I've only read new releases.

Later that day, I read a wonderful article in the June 2009 Ensign. It's entitled "Our Refined Heavenly Home," by Elder Douglas L. Callister. He talked about how our heavenly parents are "exquistely refined," and that it should be our goal to pattern our lives after them. More specifically, our language, literature, music and art will help us to be cultivated and happy. I loved reading the whole article, but something really caught my eye. He was talking about music, but I believe it could be directed towards books as well :

"When some music has passed the tests of time and been cherished by the noble and refined, our failure to appreciate it is not a condemnation of grand music. The omission is within. If a young person grows up on a steady diet of hamburgers and french fries, he is not likely to become a gourmet. But the fault is not with fine food. He just grew up on something less. Some have grown up on a steady diet of musical french fries."

My parents fed me a well-balanced diet of books growing up, but I've slipped up a bit. I'm not getting all the important book nutrients that will let my mind grow and develop.

Shannon, my father, and Elder Callister have convinced me that I must look beyond the fantasy section of the library and see what else the literary world has to offer me. Gone are the books of my youth that I am comfortable with (so long Mary Higgins Clark, toodles Clive Cussler). They're not bad books, but I need something new. Something different.

I asked my father what book I should read first on my crusade for intellectual refinement, and he suggested this one:

I've seen the movie, so there's no surprise waiting for me at the end. But it's a compelling story. I must be honest though ... I'm falling asleep reading it. There's no action! No superpowers! No arrow-slinging elves with long luscious locks and dreamy blue eyes! I'm having a hard time.

But I'm determined.

I wouldn't want to upset the Universe.

Any good book suggestions?


  1. Oh Marielle, what a great post. I personally will be keeping fantasy and Cussler close by. I read most of the classics and frankly liked very little of them. Dickens is much better watched as a movie than reading his books. Maybe I'm prejudiced because I know he was paid by the word and so wala all those extra words. So good luck. I do remember that talk. I think I'll try classical musice. I was told much of Barry Manilow was taken from the classics, ha.

  2. Suggestions...
    "To Kill a Mockingbird"
    "A Christmas Carol" - you can get your Dicken's fix in 1/3 the pages!!
    "Ender's Game" - for an amazing look into characterization; OSC is the expert!
    "The Giver" - *sigh*, that was a good book
    Anything by Sarah M. Eden (haha)

    That's a few ideas, anyway.

  3. Pride and Prejudice. Definitely a classic.:)


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