How To Live A Thousand Lives

the hunger games

I few days ago I asked a friend what he was going to do this summer besides work, sleep in and lay around in the sun.

“I’m going to read some books,” he said.

“Me, too,” I replied, “I’m going to read The Hunger Games.”

“Oh, I don’t read fiction,” my friend replied, “I want to learn something when I read.”


Got it.

I’m the dumb little kid lugging around story books while you set sail on an educational journey through deep intellectual waters.

I’ve read basketfuls and truckloads of self-help and instructional nonfiction.

Books on

  • Learning styles
  • Parenting tips
  • Spiritual insights

Titles such as

  • Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
  • When I say no I feel guilty by Manuel J. Smith
  • Women, food and God by Geneen Roth
  • Things Unseen: Living in Light of Forever by Mark Buchanan

And, yes, I’ve learned a thing or two. But, it’s novels and biographies that have my vote every time.

Let’s face it. Not everyone can sail the seven seas or climb Mount Everest.

We only live one life.

Through a good story, we can taste, see and feel the experiences of a thousand lives.

I remember the first time I read the biography of Bruce Olsen, a missionary to a stone age tribe called the Motilone tribe.

It was called For this Cross I”ll Kill You.

I was sixteen. Had no idea what sacrificial living was all about. Olsen’s account changed my life.

I read biographies and memoirs such as

  • Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
  • Blue Like Jazz by Donald Millar
  • Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan
  • My Life by Golda Meir
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

No less powerful are the novels

  • My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
  • Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
  • One Door Away From Heaven by Dean Koontz
  • The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison
  • Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
  • The Last Juror by John Grisham

Scenes from these stories have imbedded themselves in my imagination. They have changed the way I view the world around me.

What do you think? Do you learn from stories or from instructional type books?

What book has made an impact on your life?

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