Sydney Avey

Dynamic Women — Changing Times

Use Your Imagination, Part 3

Jun 12, 2018 | Writing life | 0 comments

Fairy tales invite you to use your imagination.

This third in the series listing books that invite us to use our imagination begins with a quote bookseller Byron Borger shared from C. S. Lewis.   

Fairyland arouses a longing for [a child] knows not what. It stirs and troubles him (to his life-long enrichment) with the dim sense of something beyond his reach and, far from dulling or emptying the actual world, gives it a new dimension of depth. He does not despise real woods because he has read of enchanted woods: The reading makes all real woods a little enchanted.

Be enchanted

What enchants you? What seems beyond your reach? Read books that take you places you are curious to go, intriguing physical landscapes and rocky emotional terrain. What would it be like to set out on a journey of self-awareness completely unprepared? That’s the premise of Wild by Cheryl Strayed, who hit the Pacific Coast Trail with an overstuffed backpack and the wrong shoes. Not my favorite book, but nature trails enchant me. I find the idea of a solitary walk on a nature trail until you come to the end of yourself beguiling.        

I admit the Bible enchants me. It is one big storybook. God tells the best stories: Palace intrigue: what will it take for Pharaoh to let Moses’s people go? Horror: a man cuts a woman into 12 pieces and sends them to his relatives. Romance: A wealthy landowner provides food and safe employment to a poor widow, quietly clears obstacles to their union and marries her. And so much more.

Stories play a big part in helping us understand ourselves and the world. These books explain the art, craft, and science behind that achievement. (Order here for 20 percent off.)  

Book List Part 3

Do Story: How to Tell Your Story So the World Listens, Bobette Buster (Chronicle Books) $16.95, about engaging an audience with live storytelling. A very hip little volume.

The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story, Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen (Baker Academic) $24.99.

Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale, Frederick Buechner

(HarperOne) $17.99. 

The Rock That Is Higher: Story as Truth, Madeline L’Engle (Waterbrook) $16.99.

The Stories We Tell: How TV and Movies Long for and Echo the Truth, Mike Cosper (Crossway) $15.99, new ways to appreciate the stories we watch (or read!).

You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, James K.A. Smith(Brazos) $19.99, about how reading well can shape our desires and, consequentially, our virtue.

On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life Through Great Books, Karen Swallow Prior (Brazos Press) $19.99, about how our imaginations can be “conscripted into a story” of a certain vision of the good life. Good stories grab our hearts, shape our imagination, and thereby form our desires— for better or for worse they sneak right past those “watchful dragons” you know. They help us want what we want and love what we love. For those who take Christian beliefs seriously, and want to be part of God’s redemptive story, the problem is, as Smith warns, we might not love what we think we do.

Book Girl: A Journey Through the Treasures & Transforming Power of a Reading Life, Sarah Clarkson (Tyndale) $15.99,  pre-order now.

The Word: Black Writers Talk about the Transformative Power of Reading and Writing, edited by Marita Golden (Broadway) $14.99

Reading for the Common Good: How Books Help Our Churches and Neighborhoods Flourish, C. Christopher Smith (IVP) $16.00,  explains how slow reading and careful conversations are key practices to reform our social imaginaries. 

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction , Alan Jacobs (Oxford University Press) $19.95. 

Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies, Marilyn McEntyre (Eerdmans) $19.00, brilliant “stewardship strategies” for anyone who uses words in these awful times.

Shouts and Whispers: Twenty-One Writers Speak About Their Writing and Their Faith, edited by Jennifer L. Holberg (Eerdmans) $18.99. 

Fabric of Faithfulness: Moving From Belief to Behavior, Steve Garber, (IVP) $19.00. Also, Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good (IVP) $17.00.


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