“The Shack”, by William Young
This best seller drew criticism from some corners because I think there were objections to the main character, despondent over the murder of his young daughter, spending a week end with the Holy Trinity. No doubt the embodiment of God, in what I pictured as a jolly Oprah Winfrey, cooking the four of them dinner and doling out bits of Divine wisdom over coffee could be viewed as some sort of heresy by some.
That said, I personally liked the book and I think it was commercially successful because it focused on the importance of Love above everything else. If you can simply follow the instructions of Jesus and love your neighbor as yourself, or better yet go so far as to love your enemies, everything else will more easily fall into place. For me it circumvents the human bias or institutional and doctrinal elements that can be so troublesome in organized religion today.
As someone once wrote “All you need is love, love, love is all you need.” How hard can that be?
"The Box Car Children" by Gertrude Chandler Warner
You are probably wondering how a children's book ended up in the Salmon library. A funny thing happened at the used book store I frequent. Arwen went with me and I planted her in the kids section while I browsed the store. When I came back, I couldn't find her which of course scared the heck out of me, thankfully I located her two aisles over in the kids "chapter book" section.
She had her heart set on a Hannah Montana book so I quickly looked around to find something a little more literary if that is possible in the kids section. I looked up from where she was sitting and lo and behold there was an assortment of the "Box Car Children" series , a book I remember from my youth.
This is bit ridiculous perhaps but this book was something (along with an overdose of John Wayne movies) that I think helped shaped my world view. Here was a group of orphans during the depression that stick together as a family and through hard work and self reliance set up house in an old boxcar. Of course, just like in real life, they discover they have a rich grandfather and they all live happily ever after.
After a few minutes of negotiation I convinced Arwen that this was way cooler than Hannah Montana and that we would read a chapter a night. She really latched on to the adventure as I related our own camping trips. Our nightly reading session became a hit. Now in my quest to turn her into a mini-me I am thinking we might move on to the adventures of Tom and Huck.
"Do You Believe in Miracles? The Story of the 1980 U.S. Hockey Team" (2001)
From the library's video section I have added this HBO documentary about the 1980 Olympic Ice Hockey gold medal win. I wrote on this several years ago when it was presented as part of an American History course I was in a the time. I recently found a copy at our local second hand store for four bucks and couldn't pass it up. If this story doesn't bring a tear to your eye you got to be a commie;)