Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I'm Thankful For9:00:00 AM
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. "This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!"
- The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – I can't begin to describe how much these books mean to me. I started reading them in the second grade at the age of seven, and now a decade later these books still resonate with me just as much as they did then. I wished and hoped and dreamed I could experience Harry's world for myself. I related to Harry's struggle with grief and the loss of loved ones at the same time as I was first reading the series, as well as school bullies that never left me alone. My friends and I found ourselves within these books, and it was the first time I knew I would never truly be alone so long as I had a book with me.
- Nancy Drew Mystery novels by Caroline Keen – When I was little my dad used to read to me every night before I went to bed, and that in turn is how I learned to read. It started with simple picture books, and then I slowly made my way up the ranks of I Can Read books from Biscuit the Dog to My First chapter books. When I was old enough, he bought me a boxed set of the first five books in the series that seemed to go on forever, and together we would read a chapter or two a night until we slowly but surely made our way through more than 50 books about a sleuth and her best friends who solved mysteries and basically represented everything that was girl power.
- The Mara Dyer trilogy by Michelle Hodkin – I read these books in a day each when I first got my hands on them last Christmas. My whole life I've struggled with general anxiety disorder but I had never been officially diagnosed until last fall. To see my experiences with doctors visits, counselors, therapists, and various other treatments mirrored in these books made everything click for me. This was the first time I had ever read a book that involved mental illness that didn't treat it as some elephant in the room or the beast inside; instead they normalized it, destroyed stigmas surrounding it, and made me feel like my struggles were being heard and recognized as valid for once. Despite the fact that the characters' mental disorders were just the manifestation of supernatural abilities, these books are some of the most important to me because of how they handle the subject that many authors simply avoid.
- Where The Sidewalk Ends and other collections of poetry and stories by Shel Silverstein – When I was in elementary school and we would receive the Scholastic book order forms, my parents always let me go through the catalogue and highlight or circle the books I wanted the most. Every time, without a doubt, I would circle Shel Silverstein's newest featured book. Be it Where The Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, or Falling Up, I would stay up late into the night reading his poems and sticky-noting all of my favorites. To this day my copies are rainbow tagged along the edges. Runny Babbit and The Giving Tree were my favorite story books of his, and they were a huge part of what solidified my love for reading and urge to create my own stories.
- The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo – I downloaded an ebook copy of Shadow and Bone when it first came out, but stupid me didn't read it until this past summer! This series was one that pulled me out of a months-long reading slump and really reinvigorated my passion for reading. It also helped me realize my true passions in life and ultimately led me to decide on publishing as a career path to follow after so many years spent wondering what in the world I was supposed to do with my life after high school. These books reminded me that a bunch of bound pages full of strung-together words had magnificent power over people, the power to make them feel something, the power to make them see the world differently. That's exactly what these books accomplished for me. On top of this, I'm incredibly thankful for the fact that I recently had the opportunity to meet Leigh and tell her exactly the impact her books had on me.
- The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart – Once again I found myself less alone in the world thanks to a book series. From a very young age I was labelled as a Gifted and Talented student after extensive academic testing. This essentially means my brain solves problems in a different way than your average joe, and that I have a higher capacity to problem solve and to think and perform at higher levels. This didn't mean I was smarter or good at taking tests, it simply meant I needed to be challenged a bit more in ways that a standard public school education didn't always offer. While my school held a Gifted class once a week with a small group of other students I grew to know as my Gifted family, it was another level of special to read about other kids like me in such a fantastical setting as in The Mysterious Benedict Society.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – Starting off my freshman year of high school at an entirely new school with a completely different set of teachers and peers than the ones I had at the school I attended before was daunting, to say the least. I read this book during a weird transitionary period in my life, and because of this book I finally started to come into my own and realize a lot more about myself and others than I did before. This book was eye-opening and resonated with my life that so similarly paralleled Charlie's.
- Just Kids by Patti Smith – A memoir that soon became my holy grail, I gained a new perspective on what it meant to be an artist. Patti detailed her early life as an artist and a writer trying to make a name for herself in New York City during the golden age of peace, love, and rock and roll; a period in her life spent with her dearest friend Robert Mapplethorpe. This book was incredibly poignant, and it truly defined just what it means to be a starving artist. When you head to New York with $50 you found in a telephone booth to your name, sleep on stoops because you're in between friends' couches for the night, and make the grueling decision of whether you spend the last of your paycheck on food or art supplies, only then do you know the truth of being so passionate about something you're willing to through yourself and the rest of your life into.
- Dirty Pretty Things by Michael Faudet – This book was the push I needed to decide on what I would do for my senior project. A compilation of poetry outlining love, lust, and everything in between, Michael's debut book was everything I could ever ask for as far as inspiration goes. I turn to this book anytime I'm in a writing slump and each time I take away something different that I hadn't noticed before.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan – Lastly, I'll end with one of the books that solidified my need to tell stories of my own. I was reading these books at the end of elementary school, as Rick was still writing the conclusion to the series. My love for learning included a huge fascination for mythology of all sorts, especially Greek at this time. On into middle school, after the release of the fifth book, my best friend at the time and I decided we were going to write ourselves into the story. We had a composition book that we would hand-write chapters in, passing it back and forth from day to day at school, taking it home overnight to add to our version of the story, and ultimately collaborate on what was essentially my first fanfiction... We proceeded to do the same with some of the Harry Potter books, too! But thanks to Percy and his friends, I knew that writing was my calling and telling stories is what I wanted to do.