Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'm Thankful For

hosted by The Broke And The Bookish

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, today we are considering which books we are the most thankful for. This list always seems to be so tough for me. Usually, I have too many books and I end up whittling my list down to ten, but today I had a difficult time coming up with 10 that I was thankful for. I'm thankful for all books. I'm thankful that I am literate. I'm thankful that we even have books to read. However, I looked through my GoodReads page an I picked out some books that changed my reading habits for the better in some way.

10. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Before you start judging me for liking and being thankful for this book give me a chance to explain. In graduate school, especially towards the end of graduate school, the realization that school (which I adore) was ending for me and that I would most likely not find a job in Greensboro or the surrounding area (which I adore even more) hit me hard. I slipped into a deep funk and that funk included me ceasing reading for a long period of time. I remember hearing about a new movie that my darling Julia Roberts would be staring in soon called Eat, Pray, Love and that it was based on a book. I reaaalllly wanted to see this movie (because I am so in love with Julia) but I knew that I was going to have to read the book first. So, I headed over to Target, got the book, and started reading. I was actually enjoying it! I was relating to the main character who was herself in a deep funk and not sure about her future! I remember this feeling! Was it great literature? Heck, no. Was it the best book ever? Heck, no. Would I recommend it to most people? Heck, no! But, did it do for me then what I needed it to do at the time? Heck, yes! I was outta my funk, I was reading up a storm again, I was excited about what I was reading, and in a few months time BookJackets would be born. I honestly believe that if it wasn't for Eat, Pray, Love I wouldn't have had the reading experience I've had in the past two years including my love of book blogery.

9. The Babysitter's Club Series by Ann M. Martin
While I was taking some YA Lit. classes in school we were assigned to read the graphic novelizations of some of these books and compare them to the originals. I enjoyed the GN, but the originals were my first loves. I remember swapping these books out in my elementary school library with the other girls in my grade. Boy-Crazy Stacey was THE book to read in fifth grade and it was always a huge deal to go look at the cards to see who had it checked out that week. My personal favorite in the series was Claudia And The Phantom Phone Calls (even though Maryanne was my favorite character). The other night I was browsing the 'net and I discovered an article where Ms. Martin herself selects her favorite books from the seriesClaudia and the Phantom Phone Calls isn't on her list, but Boy-Crazy Stacey is! Also, remember that totally awesome movie that came out with some of the most awesome chicks ever in it: Larissa Oleynik and Rachel Leigh Cook and Schuyler Fisk, oh MY! Everything about this series is great and I'm thankful that they were written, if they hadn't been I don't know what 'tween girls in the 90s would have read!

8. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I wasn't much of a classics reader and when I switched my major to English from Psychology in college one of my most anxious concerns was having to read and analyze classic novels that probably wouldn't make any sense to me. This was one of the first classics I remember reading and not just surviving, but absolutely LOVINGJane Eyre is one of those books that all girls should be required to read. Everything about it is classic: creepy houses, romance, an underdog gal, England. Once I finished up this book I was ready for all the classics, I knew I could take 'em! I've not ever seen a movie remake of Jane Eyre, but I am curious about the most recent one that came out a few years ago. Anyone seen it? Is it worth it?

7. Out by Natsuo Kirino
I credit Out as being one of my favorite books of all time. When I was in college (and all through graduate school (and little after graduate school)) I was completely transfixed by a fella. This particular fella happened to have loved the book Out and so finally one day in grad. school to have something to impress him with, I went to the library, checked out a copy, headed home, and read the entire book on my bathroom floor. Yeah, I said it. Bathroom. Floor. The bathroom floor is my go-to reading space. I think I need to do a blog post on where I read. I know it sounds weird and unsanitary to say that I do the majority of my reading on the bathroom floor, but if I'm reading a book there, you know it's a good one. I read the entirety of Out on the bathroom floor. I was suddenly crazy about Japanese murder mysteries and I still get excited when I discover a new one that might find a spot the realm that Out is in, but I've never found one as good, yet. PS, it didn't work out with the fella, which is just as well, at least he was good for one thing: getting me to read Out.

6. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
I'm thankful for the Madeline series of books because this book was the first one I remember being obsessed over. I loved the illustrations and I was so intrigued by the premise of several girls living in a boarding house, and one in Paris no less. Madeline was the best friend I wish I'd had. She was spunky, she was adorable, she was fearless, she looked amazing in a hat, she was French AND best of all, she had red hair, which I have always been crazy for. I had to have everything Madeline for the longest time. I remember carrying around a Madeline doll (complete with appendix scar) and begging my parents to let me dye my hair red (they said no, of course, and so I did as soon as I got to college).

5. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
It seems like whenever I do a top ten Tuesday list I have to put the book I just finished reading on the list and this week is no exception. I'm thankful for this book because it serves as a cautionary tale about what can happen in the future. I'm thankful that I read this book in its entirety. There was a time in the not-too-distant past that I don't believe that I would have plugged away and ended up finishing it.

4. Naked by David Sedaris
This is the book that started by love affair with David's writing.

3. Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
This is the book I did my senior thesis on in college. I didn't care much about Native American heritage or history or literature before reading this book. In actuality I hated this book when first I read it. I ended up reading it again for another class, loving it, and turning a small paper about Native Heritage into my final paper. This endeavor made me realize that one day I hope to continue reading about and researching Native American Heritage and Oral Tradition in Storytelling. Even though it didn't work out with me going back to graduate school this year, I am still determined to one day get a second master's in Native American Literature, and it all started with this book!

2. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
I was in Asheville with my parents one summer and my mom was upset because I was annoying her to play with me (only child, only child!) so she took me to the Walden Books (remember how AWESOME those places were when we were younger?) in the Asheville mall and bought me the first in this series to shut me up, and boy did it ever work. I was in love with the characters and I was convinced that there was a boxcar in the back yard of my mom's house that we were staying at! Every time I read a book in this series from then on out, I pictured it taking place in my mom's friends back yard in Asheville!

1. Charlotte's Web by EB White
Even though I started eating meat again, I vow to never, ever eat pork, and it's all because of Wilbur, he sure is some pig! This book is the main reason I was a vegetarian/vegan for so long. A must read for all animal lovers!

I will be making the 5 hour drive to my parents house today after school. This is the first year that I will have a Thanksgiving where I eat meat in years. Last year I made a completely vegan meal for my family and to my surprise it was a huge hit, so big that my mom asked me to do it again this year even though I am eating meat again. I'm pretty excited about it PLUS I get to see my sweet baby Sheldon:

No matter what you do to celebrate, be thankful that we get some time away from work and we get some time with loved ones and we get some time to kick back and read! Happy Thanksgiving all!

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