The Books that have Shaped My Life.

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A Word from Curt

Grayer but wiser and always an Astros fan!


The 5 books that have most shaped my life.

I encourage you to have a reading list for 2018.  I hope you include in this list what I call your Life Book List. These are the books that occupy a special place on your bookshelf and you return to often.

Here is a short list of the five books from my Life List that have most shaped my life.

What is on your Life List?   Reply at the end of this StoryLetter.

Curt’s famous Duct Tape Waterproof Bible. It’s a NIV Men’s Study Bible I bought about 1990.

1. The Bible–  I’ve read it nearly daily since a teenager, so it must (and should be) on my life list.  I never cease to be amazed at its relevance and how a passage I’ve read dozens of times will strike me completely different at a new season of my life. If your Bible is dusty, get a new copy of a modern version (I recommend any of the Journal Bibles, Holman, or ESV.) However, I still feast on the original King James from which I first memorized passages. I’d recommend the New King James that changes the archaic words (thees and thous) to the way we speak today.

I also recommend the Proverbs reading plan. It’s an Old Testament Wisdom book with thirty-one chapters. I read a chapter a day for the day of the month. When a new month starts, I switch to another Bible version and return to chapter 1.  This life-long habit has changed my life.

My original copy of The Hobbit, circa 1976.

2.The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.  Long before the movies and fame, this book was a favorite. My copy from my college years is dog-eared and falling apart.  Every great story is about a journey, and Bilbo’s journey is one of the feet and heart.  I like the later Lord of the Rings trilogy, but The Hobbit (which is actually a prequel) is the one I return to year after year.

3. True Grit by Charles Portis.  You can argue which movie is best (John Wayne or Jeff Bridges) but the book outshines both. I’d encourage you to get the Audible version that brings the saucy narrator Mattie Ross to life.

BTW, which of the two movie versions do you like best?  Why?

4. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.   A hard read but the greatest story of forgiveness and redemption ever written.  I love the musical, all of the movie versions, but Hugo’s rambling work is the source of it all. Jean Valjean, prisoner 24601, always moves me.  I wove Les Miserables into my latest novel, As the Crow Flies.  Les Miserables was originally published in five volumes and Crow narrator, Missouri Cotton, is constantly on the search for the subsequent volumes as her gypsy-like travels take her across the South.

You can order paperback, large print, or ebook formats of As the Crow Flies at Amazon.

As the Crow Flies is our latest novel, and according to many readers, our best to date. Read the reviews at Amazon.

5. Essentialism by Greg McKewon.  A recent book on “Less is Always More.”  In our busy cluttered Western world, a must-read for anyone who doesn’t want to always reach for the good or temporal but miss out on the Best.

Lagniappe*  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.     What can I say?  The ultimate Southern book written by a Southern woman with a poignant insight into what can be called the “Duality of the Southern Thing”:  The complex, troubling, wonderful, dreadful, perplexing relationship of blacks and whites in the South. No greater book relationship than Scout and her father, Atticus Finch.

*Lagniappe is a Cajun word for “something extra.”

What books are you currently reading and would recommend?

Do you read paper or Kindle? or both?

Do you listen to audiobooks?

I’d love to hear from you!

Learn about our thirteen titles at our Creekbank Book Table. 

We believe that every journey has a story, and every story involves a journey.


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