How a Book Is Like a Banana

a half-peeled banana in front of an open book.

A group of physics majors at Calvin University once put me up for two nights and served me chilled sumac tea. During dinner, they had an animated discussion about how necessary the hard sciences are and how froofy and “soft” the arts are.

I’ve thought back on that conversation often in the years since, and this is the conclusion I’ve come to: If you need to hammer in a nail, a banana won’t do you any good. But if you need nourishment, it’ll be just the thing.

Books are meant to nourish us, and different books nourish us in different ways.

Get Your Word Vitamins

Sometimes I need the understated beauty of The Curve of Time. At others, I relish the flavorful metaphorical explosions of Dandelion Wine. Reading Outliers (and other books in the genre) sparks thoughtfulness, curiosity, and reflection. And at least once a year (sometimes twice), I crave the hilariously sarcastic entertainment of The Murderbot Diaries.

The trick is to find the book vitamins you need this season. And also to put yourself out there and sample words outside your “comfort palate.” You might discover something wonderful, fulfilling, and delicious.

For example, I never thought reading multiple chapters on the Parisian sewer system in Les Miserables would add anything to my life. And yet, in an inexplicable way, it has. And though I give most Christian fiction a wide berth, Sharon Garlough Brown’s Sensible Shoes series proved refreshingly honest, convicting, and inspiring. And if I hadn’t read a book on sleep that got me interested in the microbiome and got me reading about the gut, I wouldn’t have discovered I was celiac before I got really sick.

What books have you found nourishing this season? And if you haven’t found any, what wordy flavors are you craving?

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