For good or ill I was exposed to a great deal of literature as a young child and encouraged to take full advantage of that privilege. Consequently, I became an avid reader starting at what most would consider a very young – I won’t, however, say “tender” – age.
It followed quite naturally that my reading greatly influenced my thoughts upon many things
While many, many books of varied sorts influenced my views on myriad topics, I truly believe that no single work influenced my thoughts on living more than Robert Heinlein’s Time Enough For Love.
Time Enough for Love by Robert Heinlein finishes his “Future History” as presented to world by his then-editor, John W. Campbell. In it we are given a cornucopia of other stories, as Lazarus Long, now some 2300 years old, is induced to reminisce about his life as part of a complex deal to preserve the ‘wisdom’ of the oldest man alive. Each of the stories that Lazarus relates are fairly complete by themselves, and many authors would have chosen to publish each of them separately so as to maximize his monetary returns.
Heinlein, being the author and the man that we was, chose to keep them all as one piece, as each story helped to illuminate his overriding theme, on just what is love in all of its myriad aspects and why it is so important to man’s survival as a species.
This is a book that I strongly and most emphatically recommend for everyone, though not, perhaps, for children as young as I was when I first read it as it contains much that I prepubescent child cannot viscerally understand. This does, however, present a problem as many of the “lessons” contained within this work are best learned as young as possible.
Many Christians will have issues with this work; of this I have no doubts. I would suggest trying to get past this as the work contains many ethical and behavioral lessons of great worth.
If you can bring yourself to do so, put the situational details aside and absorb the underlying context and message.
Go to your your library and check it out if they have it. If not, buy it. In any event, read it. Personally, I’d suggest buying it since I’ve been returning to it for nigh on 40 years and love it still. It’s the sort of book that becomes an old friend and teacher – one that you keep coming back to and finding new meaning, joy, and sorrow in.
Time Enough For Love also contains two “interludes” which comprise the 64-page The Notebooks of Lazarus Long (Kindle), which I believe is a useful addition to anyone’s traveling library in the same fashion that Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Mushashi’s The Book of Five Rings, and Machiavelli’s The Prince are.
And yes, I know; it’s more than odd to include a work of fiction – science fiction at that! – alongside philosophical works such as I have done. Mr. Heinlein was that sort of man though. He, much like that radical rabbi from Nazareth, knew that parables teach far better than anything else.