One Book

Open Bible
What is your favourite book?


I remember ‘Each Peach, Pear, Plum’ – the first book I carried home from school on the bus at the age of five. I left it on the bus and there was no end to my distraught tears. I loved it because it had a whole cast of characters from nursery rhymes, as though they had all met up behind the scenes. I loved the comfort and the rhythm of the words.


I remember getting my Good News Bible when I was seven, my first ‘proper’ Bible, and the mornings that I got up at 6.30am to read it. I revelled in the stories, and could name all the Bible heroes.


I remember Enid Blyton, stacked in piles under my pillow so I could whip them out as soon as my parents had left the room. I would hold my bedside lamp under the covers while I followed the next adventure of the Famous Five. I remember the hole in my duvet cover from where the lightbulb had been too close, and the black, singed pieces of hardened cloth falling onto the sheet.

I remember taking my Bible to camp, and the stickers covering it, ‘seven days without prayer makes one weak’ and other such witticisms, and the notes and prayers written in the title pages from fellow campers who were embarking on the adventure with me. I started posting up special verses, ones that had spoken to me.


I remember my teens and Robert Cormier and William Golding and George Orwell. I raged against the institution and I was going to change the world someday.

I remember my NIV paperback, so well-thumbed that it proclaimed proudly on the front, ‘Bibles which are falling apart are usually read by people who aren’t.’

I remember Silvia Plath and delicious darkness; Shakespeare’s elegant lyrical acrobatics; Jane Austen’s sarcasm, Keats and the comfort of melancholy; Camus and Beckett and the verse of despair. I drank in the words and wondered if I were falling apart after all, if we were all falling apart.

I remember my Study Bible, my questions, my underlinings, my tears, my searching and researching; the mourning of dismantling and then the joy of seeing it as an architect – oh, this is how it fits together!

I remember fighting with God through it and because of it, rejoicing at the words written as though just for me, reading the same thing again but feeling like I was reading it for the first time. At times the Bible has been to me a sword that strikes so deep it divides bone from marrow and I feel the spiritual pain as it does so; at times cool water to my thirsty soul and honey to my spirit.

To declare love, true love for God’s word is to declare war with my will, and every time I pick it up I do battle.

I have a whole wall of books written by fine people, and their words are beautiful, but none are life like this book. It speaks of my Saviour and carries his whisper into my life, when my heart is still enough to hear it.

“O give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God! I have it: here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be a man of one book!” ~John Wesley

“The law from your mouth is more precious to me
than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.” (Psalm 119:72 NIV)

Very late to the party, but this post was inspired by Amber Haines’ piece: An abstraction on a book.

Linking with Joy in this Journey, Imperfect Prose, WIP Weds 

Over to you:

  • What was your favourite fiction book(s) as a child?
  • What has your relationship with the Bible been like?

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30 Responses to One Book

  1. Charity Jill 10th October, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    I loved all serial mystery series with female protagonists–Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, even the Baby-Sitters Club mystery books. I tried to get into some series with male main characters, but just couldn’t get interested. Thinking about it now, it probably just didn’t strike me as “risky” for dudes to solve mysteries as it was for girls, and therefore the payoff of reading, say, Nancy Drew, seemed so much greater than the payoff of reading The Hardy Boys. Plus, of course, it was empowering for me as a young girl to see females with such agency. I think that power has a lot to do with how I approached literature in general, and even the Bible…some of my motivations being good and others not so…holy. In my teen years I committed much Scripture to memory out of a sense of duty and a desire to have the tools to win arguments…but now, I can enjoy the blessings of the Scripture I learned long ago in a better way, so I’m really not sure if it was a good or bad thing. It is what it is. Thanks for this thought-provoking post, I’m going to be mulling over it more I’m sure…

    • Tanya 11th October, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

      I’m so intrigued by your comment about power and literature – that sounds really interesting!
      On the memorising scripture thing –
      I remember reading Corrie Ten Boom being taken away to a concentration camp, and how she couldn’t take her Bible with her because that would reveal the hiding place of the Jews they were hiding, and how gutted she was not to have it. that made a strong impression on me as a child, to ask myself, how much of the Bible would I remember if I didn’t have it anymore?

  2. Mandy 10th October, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

    I loved the Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Cat In The Hat & The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe at different points of my childhood. My relationship with the bible came through my own child learning about the nativity. Now I have a relationship with God & prefer the more poetic books of the bible e.g. Ecclesiastes & Psalms

    • Tanya 11th October, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

      I only read Cat in the Hat as an adult, discovering it as a mother- it’s so good! It’s really cool to hear a little of your journey with the Bible – really encouraging. I also like the poetic books. Jeremiah and Job are also favourites of mine!

  3. Elizabeth, @wynnegraceappears 10th October, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    Oh what I journey I just took with you. I long to read the ones I missed, but you just took me there on the backs of your words. Oh the books, but none like His.

    • Tanya 11th October, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

      Thanks so much for your comment! (it got lost for a while in the spam filter, but I fished it out…)
      ‘oh the bookshop but none like His’ – exactly this.

  4. Alice 10th October, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    Oh gosh. LOVE this post.

    I loved Dogger, then any Roald Dahl and any Enid.

    Then I read almost anything I could.

    At 16 I read 1 Corinthians and just couldn’t believe how true – like, really ‘for me’ true – it was. I read greedily.

    That hunger has waned for a while recently, but I can feel the pangs slowly return.

    • Tanya 11th October, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

      Dogger! I remember Dogger…
      I can relate to the hunger pangs waning a little, of late. Sometimes it’s just about eating anyway, isn’t it?

  5. Daniel Roe 10th October, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    That’s absolutely lovely.

    • Tanya 11th October, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

      This comment meant a lot to me – thanks, Daniel.

  6. Debbie 10th October, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    My favorite fiction was the “Little House on the Prairie” series and also Nancy Drew mysteries. I love my Inductive Bible Study!

    • Tanya 10th October, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

      I loved the Nancy Drew mysteries! There was something compelling about imagining myself solving mysteries and having adventures!

  7. Jennifer 10th October, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    Beautiful!! As a mother to one who devours books at age 7, much like you describe here, I pray she finds the highest vital importance of His word. And I pray the same for myself!

    • Tanya 10th October, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

      Thank you! It struck me as I was writing this, that God uses the Bible to speak in different ways in different seasons of the soul. I hope your daughter also becomes a woman of one book! 🙂

  8. Mia 10th October, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    Hi Tanya
    I heartily agree with you, What would life have been without those deep souls opening the windows of their souls allowing us a small peek inside!

    • Tanya 10th October, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

      That’s such a lovely way of describing literature!

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