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Plain and Simple for Oct. 27, 2016 / October 27, 2016
I have written before about my love for reading. I have spent some time thinking about the books that have meant the most to me over the years.

What books have changed your life?

I must start with the Bible. I read it daily and I preach from it every week. Even though I have studied it longer than many people have been alive, I never read it without finding something new and inspirational.

I can never plumb its depths.

The Bible remains the book that influences me the most.

I have a special relationship with William Shirer’s “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.” I spent a summer when I was in junior high school finishing off this very long classic.

Whenever discussions about World War II have arisen, I have been grateful that I took the time to read this book.

Perhaps the funniest book that I ever read was Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22.”

It encapsulates the insanity of war and allows you to laugh at your missteps and crazy logic.

If you read it, you will never forget the amazing and the best catch there ever was—Catch-22.

For pure pathos and heartbreak, few books rival “How Green was my Valley,” by Richard Llewellyn. He creates a world and a time that makes you long to be a part of it. As that world crumbles and disappears, you cannot help but feel emotionally drained.

When I was much younger, I was overwhelmed with “The Catcher in the Rye,” by J. D. Salinger.

It touches the rebellious heart of the young. Any young person who has felt alienated from the world will see himself or herself in Holden Caulfield.

The book is sad, funny, and touching. I still have thoughts that I might want to be a catcher in the rye.

My final book is one in which we are faced with a terrible moral conundrum, “Sophie’s Choice,” by William Styron.

Two broken people provide insight into the terrible toll that life can exact from us. We are seldom required to make a choice as terrible as the one

Sophie makes, but we can look back on choices that have propelled our lives or damaged them.

I love to hear from people about the books that have changed them. We are losing our love of reading and we are much the poorer for it.

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