Monday, June 06, 2005


You may have noticed this comment on the last post:
Julana said...
Dear Dorcas,Would you mind being tagged for a book meme?The questions are:Total books owned, ever:Last book I bought:Last book I read:Five books that mean a lot to me:
Tag five people:
A humble reader.

I had no idea who Julana is but I tracked her back a bit to find that she is a mom from Ohio with a blog called Life in the Slow Lane.
However, I still have no idea how to pronounce "meme" or what it means.

But I’ll take her challenge:

Total books owned, ever: thousands

Last book I bought: a bagful at this cool book fair in Virginia including: The Biggest Bear (2 copies, for gifts. One of the best kids’ books ever), Prisoners of Hope, The Story of Booker T. Washington, Strawberry Shortcake, Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess up Their Relationships by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
(Or wait, was it the other bagful I bought at Powells in Portland when Lois and I went up there on the train: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, an old book of fairy tales, a Bodie Thoene book to complete a set, a Mitford book, and I can’t remember what else)

Last book I read: Probably something like Dr. Seuss’s The Foot Book "Left foot, left foot, left foot, right. Feet in the morning, feet at night.")

Five books that mean a lot to me: How about 5 authors I keep going back to: Elisabeth Elliot, L.M. Montgomery, Garrison Keillor, James Herriott, Erma Bombeck
I always re-read James Herriott when I have the flu so I had a good dose of him this winter.

Tag five people: Um, naaaah. I’m too new at blogging to know if it’s good manners to tag.

I have strong opinions about books and authors, especially those in the Christian subculture. Honestly, if we Christians are ever going to move our message into the world Out There we have to get beyond how-to-improve-your-life books and poorly written fiction and produce quality that can compete with what’s out there. (Yes, yes, I’m trying to do my part.)

There are all these non-fiction (essentially how-to) books that people are always recommending to me but most of them fail to grab me by the collar and pull me inside, so I find better things to do with my time, which makes me feel very unspiritual. But shouldn’t an author earn the right to be read??

Yay for John Eldredge, the Schaeffers, Elisabeth Elliott.
Nay for Beverly Lewis. No Amish person I have ever known said "ever so nice" or "ever so pretty" or "ever so anything." Ever. I waded painfully through one of her latest books and a thousand "ever so’s" just to see how the story ended and then it didn’t even end there. It ended something like 5 books later. So Amy read all the books and told me what happened. (To my fiction-lovin’ friends: you don’t have to agree with me, you know. Sharon, you can keep fillin’ them bookshelves ever so full of fiction if that’s what makes you happy. And then my daughters can borrow them and I don’t have to buy them myself.)

Quote of the Day:
"I think I'm going to hate the lower-case "k" letter for the rest of my life."
--Emily, battling with her last few math lessons in proportions, inverse proportions, and how to find and use a constant (k)


  1. Dorcas: With access to the internet, you should never be left not knowing what something is or how to pronounce it. Wikipedia is your friend. They have a definition, pronunciation guide, and history right here. Two other resources when you have a question are and Google.

  2. btw, defines meme as: "A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another."

  3. Dorcas,
    Thank you very much. I don't know if tagging is good manners, and am hesitant about asking. I did enjoy your post, and totally concur with the last three paragraphs.
    I grew up Mennonite, but am only one at heart any more. (I attended Eastern Mennonite College for two years, and spent two years in VS with Northern Youth Programs.) I enjoy peeking into your portrayal of Mennonite life. It brings back memories.

  4. well julana that makes two of us ex mennonites reading this

    I have to say Dorcas you have voiced my sentiments and opinions exactly. I rarely read fiction. I just finished two fiction books and I believe they were the first two I have read in several years. I rejoined my city bookclub and forgot just how many fiction books they read!!

    Just as i feel fiction is a waste of time so I also feel that writing nonficiton is less than conctructive. Bloggers are forever getting word out about some fiction story contest that you are to write and put on your blog adn then be judged. The winner usually wins a book. I have never entered those because I'm having trouble getting my nonfiction book finished and it just seems like such a waste.

    I have a TV in my home and feel the same way about Tv shows. i watch biographys or documentaries or real life video taken in hospitals and such. I just cant get into the sitcoms.

    As for those self help books, I've always shunned them until just the last few months. My 4 year old has driven me to read books about raising boys. I need all the help I can get in that area! He's a little moonster-loveable-but a monster nonetheless!

    A word about memes. Some very reputable weblogs do memes. The big guys shun them as well as any of those millions of tests that are out there to discover you like and dislikes. But mommy blogs seem to always have a meme going. Some women feel very priviledged to be tagged.

    I would conclude that indeed to do a meme is not considered tacky. But then thats my opinion.

  5. yikes I guess I got carried away. I had no idea I'd posted a whole entry in your comments. Lol

  6. The latest series by Beverly Lewis, "Abram's Daughters" (0r something) disappointed me. I haven't read the last one because the previous ones all just left me quite angry at all the characters by the time I got to the end. How could ANYONE, Amish or not, be that un-communicative and mixed up?
    I like some fiction, but I'm picky. However, I am a die hard L.M. Montgomery fan.

  7. As a fellow Mennonite, my comment would simply be that I am really bothered by the fact that the people in our communities are so inept at articulating even the most fundamental beliefs and postions. "Whats that got to do with reading?" you ask. A lot! People often don't read because they are simply intellectually lazy.
    You can go anywhere in Anabaptist circles and get most people to agree that when we are born again that God changes our behavior. Somehow it seems that we believe that the transformation of the heart does not carry over into our intellect. So we become some of the best behaved people and some of the worst thinkers.
    So I would say "amen" to anyone encouraging people to read material that challenges your thinking. Reading is a necessary part of the transformation of the mind.

  8. Yes Dorcas--I do love my books--Karen Kingsbury as most of you(who know me) know is my all time favorite--she writes fiction that has spoke so profoundly into areas in my life--self help books are hard for me to get into most of the time--I also agree that L.M.Montgomery is also one the best--I for the most part love books in general--just don't have enough time to read anymore!!:(

  9. I forgot to say--send your girls over anytime!!!Love to have my books read--

  10. I've seen the Beverly Lewis books mentioned several different places but have never actually read any of them. Sounds like I haven't missed out on much. :) I pretty much don't read any fiction as it usually ends up being more of a waste of productive time. Philippians 4:8 is good to be used as a guide line as well.

  11. Hans--thanks for the info. Trouble is, sometimes I don't want to know badly enough to look it up.
    Julana--we worked with NYP from 1986-1994. Did we overlap??
    Mrs. Darling--write on.
    Lollyjane--Do you like A Tangled Web as much as I do?
    Floyd--Now that's a Quote of the Day: "We become...the best behaved people and...the worst thinkers."
    Sharon--thanks for letting my girls use your house as their library.
    Lindsey--good point.
    Thanks to all for your input.

  12. Floyd Yutzy, say on! May I quote your comments?

    Dorcas, I love peeking in on people's book lists. I'm a little confused though-- what is it you DO like, if it's not fic or non-fiction? Your authors list gave me some clues but--?? Biographies?

  13. To Peacefullady--
    I like nothing better than a good story. I can get lost in the incredible Bible stories of Joseph or Ruth. I like well-written biographies, auto-bios, memoirs, and fiction. Unfortunately, the best of these tend to come from outside the church.

  14. "A Tangled Web"....definitly. And of course "The Blue Castle".

  15. Hi to Floyd. My maiden name was Yutzy. :-)
    Thanks to Hans and Mrs. Darling for elucidating the "meme".
    Dorcas: I was at Cristal Lake from '82-'84, if memory serves me right. I experienced the meaning of the word "silence" in the bush. I don't think I've heard it since.

  16. I was all signed up to go to Crystal Lake back in 1978 but my bishop, Ernest Bontrager, put the brakes on it because they were too liberal. I was heartbroken! I wanted to go sooo bad!

  17. It makes me feel a lot wiser than I actually am when someone finds something I said quoteable. To Peacefullady; I challenge you to not only quote, but to expand and develop these ideas to the point that they become an integrated part of your "world view". And we can graciously affect change in the people around us.
    - Great Blog, Dorcas!

  18. Dorcas, I totally agree with you on Beverly Lewis. I never even got thru one of her books. And don't ever read The Lancaster Brides. Its a book of 4 novellas and I read it on an airplane where the only other options were Sky Mall or watching other people read. So I read the whole thing. I'm sure the Amish must read such books just like we read Garfield or other comics!
    And do you have all the Mitford Books? i just discovered them this winter and I love them. But there are two I haven't read yet and can't find. I might nab you at church one day and see if they are in your library!

  19. OOPS! Sorry! I hit the "post" without signing my name on the last blog comment. Pauline

  20. Okay somebody tell me what is so great about those Mitford books. I've heard so much about them. people love them. I've tried readign the first one several times now and I just get all tensed up while the guy hangs his coat on the fifth peg inside the door and sits in such and such a chair etc. It just moves so slowly with so much detail. is there a plot ot this? I want to read them because everyone raves so much about them. What am I missing?

  21. Mrs. Darling--The Mitford books are kind of like the old Miss Read books--the plot is driven by the sorts of drama real people face--mice in the pantry, should I retire next year or not, a bit of romance, Aunt Mae's pneumonia. There's none of the Zion Chronicles drama of the girl stuck in a little closet in the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral and the explosives in the light wells are about to go off and the good guys are puffing up the stairs and the gun goes off at the last minute etc etc

  22. Pauline---I have the whole Mitford series--I really enjoyed them--I like how they just kinda plod along and take you with!!:) come on over--the library is open--Mrs.Darling--I think these are books you either like or you don't--nothing in between--

  23. I really liked the Mitford series until I realized that the parish priest ends up marrying a divorced woman. That kind of ruined it for me. I can't seem to get past that kind of thing once I come across it. Other than that, though, the beauty of the whole story line and the simple lifestyle and the genuine servitude shown are wonderful.


  24. Thanks Floyd Y., I think what you said already is my worldview. And it's encouraging to hear others say the same.
    Last month my husband and I went to Ravi Zachariah's meeting in Cincinnati (His radio program is "Let My People Think") on the topic of "Engaging the Culture with Conversations that Count". To answer people where they are we must know for ourselves...
    (I think we need another place to continue this discussion, instead on Dorcas' blog! Any church have a messageboard we could move to? :) Maybe someday ours will.)

  25. Mrs. Darling, I like the Mitford books for the same reason I like Dorcas' blog. Its about commom people doing and saying common things, and facing commom problems. I like knowing that I am not the only one who thinks all kinds of mean things about irritating people, but only says polite things to their faces, even if I'd like to say otherwise. The Mitford books I can read to relax, not get so carried away that I can't put the book down, and I sure do need those relaxing times!

  26. Thank you all for explaining this. Once again I feel compelled to read them. I am a very high energy person so when I do take time to read I want my books to be high energy books, the kind that keep you galloping through them.

  27. Naomi,
    In the Mitford Books I believe Cynthia WAS divorced but her husband died before she moved to Mitford. If he was dead didn't that free her to remarry?

  28. Mrs. Darling,
    If you want a really high energy book, try Dee Henderson. I've read almost all of her books and I LOVED all of the ones I've read.

  29. PeacefulLady,

    "another place to continue this discussion" might be...


  30. Okay Mark how do you use those forums? Nothings clickable except "Odds and Ends".

  31. Howdy, Tammy-the-Handwriting-Analyst.

    Did you try the items in the black navigation bar across the top?


  32. No I'll go try that. Good grief how do you remember such a thing. I can hardly do it anymore. This old brain aint what it used to be.

  33. do you like perreti dorcas? he's a great novelist. john eldredge and randy alcorn are amazing as well.

  34. Hi "Rande"--
    Peretti is a great fiction writer but not a personal favorite of mine because his stuff is so intense. It's so real to me I get terrified, which goes to show he's a good author. The same goes for the little bit of Randy Alcorn I've read.

  35. "rande" is my pen name. smirk:)