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Books Given and Received

Readers of this blog know by now that I’m a bibliophile, I love books and reading them. Granted, I’m selective in what I read, but within certain categories I read avidly.

I must be selective in my reading because there are just so many books to choose from. Therefore, I also seldom re-read a book, although I have done so with a few. (So many books, so little time!) As Sir Francis Bacon famously said, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed on and digested.”

Having been reminded that Christmas is just around the corner (only 75 days, in fact, from the date on which I’m posting this), I began thinking of books that people have given me over the years, books that made an impression on me as a child, and of books that I possibly might give to some people on my list this year.

I think my Mammaw and Pappaw Peterson gave me more books than anyone else. Knowing how avid was my reading addiction, they, I suspect, were on the lookout throughout the year for books they thought I might enjoy.

Some titles they gave me stand out in my memory. Gentle Ben. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Angel Unawares. The Heart of a Champion. I’ll Trade You an Elk. (I later worked with a man who had worked at the zoo that is the setting of that latter work.)

Other titles were included in the series Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, which my grandparents gave to me. Airport, To the Top of the World, At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends, Once an Eagle, and Currahee! stand out in my memory.

Oh! And just about every year they also gave me a Lifesavers Gift Book filled with a variety of flavors of that sweet little round candy. My favorite was butter rum!

My Aunt Martha and Uncle Henry also gave me some books. I recall one volume, arranged much the same as the Condensed Books series, that featured excerpts from books by Winston Churchill and other European authors in a double-column format and very fine print. Although I enjoyed reading those excerpts, in a sense it was a frustrating experience because I could tell that I wasn’t getting the whole story. I wanted to read, as Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story.” They always left me wanting more, but that “more” just wasn’t there!

But I must begin thinking of books that I want to give to others on my Christmas list. I have a daughter who is almost as avid a reader as I am. She enjoys historical fiction. Pioneer stories. Little House on the Prairie-type stories. Orphan Train-type stories. Romance. She likes books that have some romance, a lot of action, and correct biblical doctrine, so I must be on the lookout for books that include, as novelist Gilbert Morris explained, “Kiss-kiss, bang-bang, hallelujah!” I also have seven grandchildren who are beginning to love reading or being read to. I have to help them move beyond The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Curious George (they already have those memorized) to some new adventures and deeper content. Ah! The joys of being a grandparent!

But I think that the greatest gift book one could ever give or receive is the one that God gave to us: the Bible. I still have the little New Testament that the Gideons gave us students in sixth grade. I still have the Bible I won for memorizing verses in the church youth group. I still have several of my father’s Bibles. And I’ve accumulated dozens of other Bibles in various translations as a result of the editing and fact-checking work I’ve done on scores of authors’ manuscripts. It’s a forever book, one that will still be around when all others are in the remainders piles or have passed into oblivion. What’s more, it tells of the greatest gift of all time and for all people: God’s Son, Jesus Christ. It is the book that is most worth reading and re-reading and re-reading again.

As the Christmas season approaches, why not consider giving a book to someone who will enjoy it? I think a book is one of the best gifts anyone could give or receive. (A not-so-subtle hint: I’ve written a few that you might consider as possibilities for gifts. You can view them by searching “Dennis L. Peterson” on Coming soon, but unfortunately not in time for Christmas, is my latest, Combat! Spiritual Lessons from Military History from TouchPoint Press

Finally, I have a small request of you, my readers. If you have enjoyed any of my posts, please consider following this blog. If you’re reading on WordPress, click “Follow,” and you’ll receive an e-mail notice once a week letting you know I’ve posted a new message. If you’re reading on FaceBook, “Like,” “Follow,” and leave a comment. (FB is now using such reader responses to determine the “reach” of the posts people make, and a follow is better than a like, but I’ll take whatever!) And I’d also appreciate your telling others of my blog. Send them the link and let them know you were thinking of them when you read it. I’ll consider that your Christmas gift to me. Thank you in advance!

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