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Christmas in July: Bookish Gifts

Christmas may still be several months away, but some of our GUG writers are ready early. Good thing there is Christmas in July! To celebrate, they have each chosen a book that they would give as a gift to someone else and explained why they chose that particular book. You might even consider giving these books to one of your geeky friends… or yourself! Though July has never been called “the most wonderful time of the year,” summer reading can make you feel jolly. Merry Christmas in July from GUG!

David Fernau’s Gift
The Superheroes Devotional
Ed Strauss

I’d surprise my friends with The Superhero Devotional. Yes, you really can find God and Christian truth in superheroes! There are 60 readings, and most of them center on one single superhero, such as Spider-Man or Captain America, or even a supervillain, like Thanos. The author, Ed Strauss, ties the stories of the comics back to Biblical truth, one story a day. It’s a great gift for a geek who is also into comic books and superheroes!

For example, did you know that in Marvel comics, the same comics that give us Thor and Loki as gods, there is a being named The-One-Above-All? Thor himself called The-One-Above-All, “the Creator of all Universes.” And a being with immense power known as Uatu the Watcher proclaimed, “All-powerful? There is only one who deserves that name. And His only weapon… is love!” While Uatu didn’t directly refer to The-One-Above-All, it seems pretty clear that Marvel has their own version of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords… perhaps we should also call Him the God of Gods.

These are just snippets of the very first devotional — the rest is similar. We compare Thanos to Satan, compare Iron Man’s armor to the Armor of God, and even explore Doctor Strange’s magic for possible Biblical insights. Even if you’re not a Christian, if you have an open mind, you might just learn more about comics, as well as your Christian neighbors and what they believe.

Mike Henry’s Gift
The Hobbit
J. R. R. Tolkien

My gift would have to be my all-time favorite book, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I know what you may be thinking: “Mike… The Hobbit was written in 1937. Everyone has read it by now!” Actually, I have found that not to be true. Most people around me, even those who love fantasy, have not read this timeless tale. We all know it in passing because we have seen the movies or maybe have read The Lord of the Rings, but I have noticed many have not picked up and read a copy of The Hobbit. I would gift this book to someone for a few reasons that I will share below.

For starters, as I said above, many know the story in a vague sense or understand that this hobbit guy named Bilbo went and took on a dragon, got himself a magic ring, and, at some point, there was the battle of five-ish armies. That probably is a good enough overview of the tale, but this book deserves your read because it is beautifully written. It really does feel like you are on a journey with Bilbo and his dwarf companions as they go to reclaim The Lonely Mountain from the dastardly dragon Smaug! When I first read it, every time I would pick it up, I just felt like I was about to take one more step on this incredible adventure across Middle Earth. The journey is fraught with joy, despair, adventure, and every manner of interesting characters!

Finally, I would also gift this book to anyone because it isn’t just for the fantasy reader who is among a niche audience, but anyone looking for a good story. It is very accessible with its fun story and the writing is fairly easy as compared to The Lord of the Rings. I also appreciate that the story is very much a struggle of good versus evil, and how our heroes must get out of their comfort zone, go on the journey, and overcome personal struggles and setbacks to defeat evil. That is what our God uses us for! He takes flawed people, calls us out of our comfort zone, pushes us to go on the journey of faith, and advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Hobbit opens many doors to talk about Christ and how Christ is the light that overcomes the darkness!

Cadi Murphy’s Gift
Epic
John Eldredge

For me, giving a gift is an expression of the heart. It shows that you’ve thought about someone, and most often, that you know their interests well enough to choose something they will enjoy. Because of this, picking a single book for someone anonymous is tricky. I spent several days considering which book might best delight someone a don’t know. What if they don’t like my favorite genre? What if they don’t like reading in general? What if they don’t even have the same beliefs I do? The answer to all these unknowns led me to this book: Epic by John Eldredge.

Epic is a short, nonfiction, entertaining book that deals with the overarching story of our lives. It is written for Christians, but I think that it would intrigue nonbelievers also. This book has been instrumental to how I view the world, my life, history, stories, other people, and even the way God deals with His creation. Using examples from popular stories like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, Eldredge gives an overview of our past, present, and future from the perspective of a storyteller. This book has so inspired and encouraged me that I would definitely give it as a gift in the hopes that it would do the same for someone else.

 

What book would YOU give as a gift? Leave us a comment!

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By Cadi Murphy

Cadi is an editor who masquerades as a writer. When she's not helping author's make their stories the best they can be, she works on her own projects, including a YA Fantasy/Steampunk trilogy.

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