I was going to say that there are 4 books that I've read so far in my life that have deeply affected me... but I really can't put the Bible in with the following group because obviously the Bible is so much more than these other books. It is the living breathing Word of God (and its not non-fiction) So, my disclaimer is that the Bible is my truth, my standard, my love letter from my Lord, and my compass.
That being said, there are 3 books that I've read in my life time that even after I finish reading them, I can't get them out of head...books that have helped shaped some of my philosophies and opionions. I just finished reading #3 tonight:
1.) Les Miserables by Victor Hugo - I've probably read this book 5 times. I love the story and the underlying theme of grace. It is a really good demonstration of love, forgiveness, and mercy. It used to be my all-time favorite. But, since I've read the other two below, its tied. :)
AYN RAND NOVELS - I DO NOT agree with Ayn Rand's basis to her philosophies wholeheartedly. She was an atheist - a person who scoffed at the notion of God. She believed in the virtue of selfishness and putting one's own life at highest reverence. I obviously do not agree with this philosophy. However, her books are accurate portrayals of what happens when higher purpose (whether God or in her opinion, one's self) is removed from man... and the depravity that follows. America is at a significant crossroads and I encourage you to read at least one of these books before voting.
2.) Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand - This is an accurate portrayal of what America IS SLOWLY BECOMING...socialist. A story about redistribution of wealth. The story of the immediate effects of a society who loots from its producers yet expects them to keep producing. The corruption and suffering and death; death of the body, the mind, the spirit. The story of a country who refuses to see that its collapse can be saved through personal hard work and ambition of the INDIVIDUAL not the COLLECTIVE! Key word! Notice who uses the word "collective" all the time? Read this book and a specific candidate will start to scare you.
3.) We The Living by Ayn Rand - This is a story based on Ayn Rand's life in Communist Russia before she escaped to the U.S. A very powerful and startling description of what life is like when putting the "Collective" before the "Individual". What is the "collective"? It starts out as a desire to even the playing field, to care for others. Nothing wrong with that right? Well when handing off the responsibility of caring for our brothers and sisters to the government or institution of the state, what does the collective become? It becomes about the state, the institution... not about the people, the individual! Some people lose the motivation to care for themselves when the "state" will do it for them and some people lose the capacity for compassion when they are forced to support the dead weight of others who won't support themselves. They are asked to sacrifice for the collective, for the party, for whatever word you want to call it. Enough! We need to quit feeding the expensive inefficient machine that is big government and take on some personal responsibility! I'd much rather support a private based service organization with my pocketbook that let the gov't tax me into oblivion to support the programs they deem important. Wouldn't you? I could go on but I won't.... we just need to be careful that we don't move too much further into the picture that this book depicts.
My friend Jana reminded me through her blog the other day that the most important thing I can do for this election is not neccessarily voice my opinion with anyone and everyone but to pray! To diligently pray without ceasing. Sometimes I get worried and forget that my God is awesome, just, all-powerful, all-knowing, all loving and I want to take things into my own hands. As you read this, know that although I am extremely passionate about some things and will act on them, ultimately I surrender to the perfect will of God.