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Books for Enjoyment

Many of life's best pleasures are difficult to express. Why do we enjoy swimming on a hot day, reading a good poem, picking a guitar, or relaxing with friends? We can easily list reasons—it's fun, it's stimulating, it's pretty, we like company—but simple reasons don't explain the inherent goodness of these things.

Mankind was created to enjoy good. All true enjoyment comes from God, and the best way to enjoy anything is to receive it as a gift from our Heavenly Father. As followers of Jesus Christ, Christians are not only able, but instructed to find pleasure in the world around them. We don't have to flounder around on our own, though: our relationship to God equips us to experience true beauty and goodness. When God created the world He called it good. What God calls good is good, and He shows us through His Word and the Holy Spirit exactly what those things are.

At Exodus Books we enjoy good things, including good books, good music, and good fellowship. Literature reveals the thoughts and attitudes of other people and helps us experience the world from their perspective; music moves us without words, articulating through sound alone our deepest emotions; and fellowship is essential to vibrant Christian community because without friendship there is no unity.

Not that there aren't levels of goodness: there are some things we don't particularly enjoy, but that we can learn to appreciate. We enjoy what is obviously good, which reflects truth, and that is generally positive. Many things don't fit those categories, but are still worth our attention; some of them are even beautiful.

For instance, F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is a novel of bad morals and despair. But it's not just that: aside from the author's poetic style, it presents an honest, consistent picture of life without God or meaning. While it would be easier to ignore the book and not have to deal with it, to read it and appreciate it while rejecting its message will bring us to a much better understanding of the world around us.

Which begs the question: How much do we need to know about the world around us? Paul tells us to be in the world but not of it, and an easy assumption is that the less we have to do with everything non-Christian, the better. The old answer that you need to know what others think in order to reach them is helpful, but incomplete. More to the point: the only way we can truly appreciate and be thankful for blessings and goodness is to have some knowledge of darkness and suffering with which to contrast them.

God is at the heart of enjoyment. There is an active element in the pursuit of wholesome pleasure that is often overlooked—we must eat food, drink wine, listen to symphonies, and play freeze tag to the glory of God, and therefore we must do these things with discernment and thankfulness. Reading The Great Gatsby is absolutely okay as long as you're aware of the author's point of view, and your enjoyment is rooted in God rather than the book itself or certainly any unchristian attitudes it expresses.

We mustn't apologize for having a good time—Christians don't need to be sorry when they enjoy literature, music, art, food, or anything else. The only thing we need to repent for is failing to thank God for the good things He's blessed us with and for failing to use the reason and discernment He's given us when engaging the culture. We hope our selection of good things is both helpful and thoroughly enjoyable.

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100 Best-Loved Poems
Dover Thrift Editions
by Philip Smith
from Dover Publications
Poetry for 10th-Adult
$2.00
100 Books for Girls to Grow On
by Shireen Dodson
from HarperCollins
for 7th-12th grade
$7.00 (1 in stock)
101 Great American Poems
Dover Thrift Editions
by Paul Negri
from Dover Publications
Poetry for 10th-Adult
$2.00
101 Hymn Stories
by Kenneth Osbeck
from Kregel Publications
for 6th-12th grade
$14.99
101 More Hymn Stories
by Kenneth Osbeck
from Kregel Publications
for 6th-12th grade
$15.99
1599 Geneva Bible
from Tolle Lege Press
for 7th-Adult
1984
Signet Classics
by George Orwell
from Signet Classics
for 10th-Adult
$8.99
1984
by George Orwell
from Harcourt
for 10th-Adult
$16.00
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
by Jules Verne
from Alpha Omega Publications
for 10th-Adult
$4.00 (1 in stock)
2001: A Space Odyssey
by Arthur C. Clarke
from ROC Science Fiction
for 9th-Adult
$7.99
2010: Odyssey Two
by Arthur C. Clarke
from Del Rey
for 9th-Adult
$7.99
44 Scotland Street
by Alexander McCall Smith
1st edition from Anchor Books
for 10th-Adult
$3.00 (1 in stock)
7 Men who Rule the World from the Grave
by Dave Breese
from Moody Press
Biography Anthology for 11th-Adult
$12.50 $9.50 (2 in stock)
Abigail Adams: Her Letters - Audiobook
by John Adams, Abigail Adams
from Western Conservatory of the Arts & Sciences
for 10th-Adult
$14.00
Abolition of Man
by C. S. Lewis
from HarperCollins
Philosophy/Religion for 10th-Adult
$12.99
Abraham Lincoln: Great Speeches
Dover Thrift Editions
by Abraham Lincoln & John Grafton, editor
from Dover Publications
Political Philosophy for 10th-Adult
$2.00 $1.20 (1 in stock)
Abraham Lincoln: Selected Speeches and Writings
by Abraham Lincoln
from Library of America
for 9th-Adult
$16.95 $11.87 (1 in stock)
Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and The War Years
by Carl Sandburg
Biography for 9th-Adult
$14.00 (1 in stock)
Abraham Lincoln: The War Years - 4 Volumes
for 10th-Adult
$40.00 (1 in stock)
Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
by Sherman Alexie
1st edition from Little, Brown and Co.
for 10th-Adult
$8.50 (1 in stock)
Acts Of King Arthur And His Noble Knights
by John Steinbeck
from Ballantine Books
for 10th-Adult
$3.50 (1 in stock)
Ada Blackjack
by Jennifer Niven
1st edition from Hyperion/Madison Press
for 10th-Adult
$9.50 (1 in stock)
Adam Bede
Signet Classics
by George Eliot
from Signet Classics
Realistic Fiction for 9th-Adult
$6.95
Adam Bede
Everyman's Library
by George Eliot
from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Realistic Fiction for 9th-Adult
$19.20
Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies
Hornblower Series #11
by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown and Co.
Nautical fiction for 10th-Adult
$11.19
Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies
by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown and Co.
for 9th-Adult
$10.00 (1 in stock)
Adventure of Missionary Heroism
by John C. Lambert
from Vision Forum
Biography Anthologies for 7th-Adult
$20.50 $15.00 (1 in stock)
Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
by Arthur Conan Conan Doyle
from Penguin Classics
for 7th-Adult
$14.00
Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Sterling Classics
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Unabridged from Sterling Publishing Co.
for 7th-12th grade
$8.00
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
from Easton Press
for 10th-Adult
$28.00 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
from Penguin Classics
for 9th-Adult
$8.00
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
from University of California Press
for 10th-Adult
$15.95
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Junior Deluxe Editions
by Mark Twain
from Nelson Doubleday, Inc.
for 7th-12th grade
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
3rd edition from W. W. Norton and Co.
for 10th-Adult
$9.00 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Menahem-Mendl
by Sholom Aleichem
for 9th-Adult
$6.50 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Robin Hood
by Paul Creswick
from Reader's Digest
for 9th-Adult
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Theodore Roosevelt
by Theodore Roosevelt
from National Geographic
for 9th-Adult
$16.00
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain
from Reader's Digest
for 7th-Adult
$6.50 (3 in stock)
Aeneid
by Virgil & Robert Fitzgerald, translator
from Vintage Classics
Ancient Literature/Epic Poetry for 10th-Adult
$13.00 $8.00 (1 in stock)
Aeneid
Everyman's Library
by Virgil & Robert Fitzgerald, translator
from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Ancient Literature/Epic Poetry for 10th-Adult
$16.80
Aeneid
by Virgil (translation by Robert Fagles)
from Penguin Putnam
for 9th-Adult
$14.40
Aeneid
Penguin Classics
by Virgil (translation by David West)
Reissue from Penguin Classics
for 9th-Adult
$13.00
Aeneid - Memoria Press Package
from Memoria Press
for 9th-12th grade
$42.22
Aeneid - MP Student Guide
by Cody King
from Memoria Press
for 9th-12th grade
$16.95
Aeneid - MP Teacher Guide
by Cody King
from Memoria Press
for 9th-12th grade
$16.95
Aeneid - Student's Companion
by Robert W. Watson
from Smarr Publishers
for 9th-12th grade
$7.96
Aeschylus I: The Oresteia (old)
The Complete Greek Tragedies
by Aeschylus (translation by Richmond Lattimore)
from University of Chicago
Ancient Greek Tragedy for 10th-Adult
$10.00 $6.00 (2 in stock)
Aeschylus II: The Oresteia
The Complete Greek Tragedies
by Aeschylus (translation by Richmond Lattimore)
3rd edition from University of Chicago
Ancient Greek Tragedy for 10th-Adult
$15.00
Aeschylus' Oresteia
Penguin Classics
by Aeschylus (translation by Robert Fagles)
from Penguin Classics
Ancient Greek Tragedy for 10th-Adult
$13.00 $7.00 (3 in stock)
Aeschylus' Oresteia
Penguin Classics
by Aeschylus (translation by Phillip Vellacott)
from Penguin Classics
Ancient Greek Tragedy for 10th-Adult
$12.00
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