Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Am Thankful For

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!
Thanksgiving is coming up in just a matter of days, so you won't blame me for having some of the things I'm thankful for on the brain. Naturally, some of those things are books. I'm thankful that the Top Ten Tuesday theme for this week fits everyone's current mindsets so well... and besides, this way, you might just find a couple of great book recommendations for the long weekend!

1. Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth

Not only was this one of the first books our Dad read to my sister and I as kids, but he also set aside a beautiful hardcover copy for each of us when we got old enough to really appreciate it. It remains one of the first books I turn to when the real world starts to look a little too much like the Doldrums... Milo and Tock always help break me out!

2. J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series

These books will no doubt be showing up on almost  everyone's lists today, but that doesn't make their presence on this one any less personal. I was always a reader, but I wasn't always an adventurous reader: there was a period of my life where I simply stuck to reading this series, back to back, for over a year! Knowing that Hogwarts is a home I can always return to keeps them on my shelves... and makes me want to buy a personal collection that hasn't been completely destroyed by my siblings.

3. All of the Ali, Kel, and Beka books from Tamora Pierce

I came into the Tamora Pierce fandom both late and a little backwards: the first series I read was the Trickster duology, and I could never really get into Alanna - Ali's famous mother -'s series. Still, if you are a leading female of Tortall, you have a place in my shelves, and the adventurous Ali, steadfast Kel, and dogged Beka (see what I did there?) have long served as inspirations of mine to try and be a little more badass.

4. Madeliene L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time

Another gift from our Dad's library, I think I'm still hanging on to his bright pink-colored cover, because it's just always going to remind me of home. It's unsurprising that a book that involves, so strongly, the power of family, has just as much of a strong place in mine.

5. Frank Herbert's Dune

Yet another gift from Dad, I fell in love with this story long before anyone in our family realized that its author was born and raised in our own hometown! This science fiction epic was read right on the tails of Neuromancer and the first of the Foundation novels, neither of which I particularly enjoyed... if it hadn't been for Dune, I honestly might have given up on the genre! And then where would I be???

6. The Nancy Drew series

I could talk for days on end about the importance Nancy Drew has for me: from getting all of those yellow-spined classics as a kid, to playing the PC games with all three of my siblings huddled on the couch around me, to collecting my favorite editions as an adult (the blue ones that have the war paper rationing stamps on the front pages), it honestly seems like I've spent my whole life loving Ms. Drew. I even have plenty of books on the history of the series (hence, why there's not an author name displayed by the title), and even on its ties to psychology: I have an entire book on Jungian psych in Nancy Drew that I used for a research paper in my junior year AP class!

7. Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

This spot was originally going to go to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, because they serve similar functions in documenting my reading history, but after reflection, I chose Bronte for what it meant to me, which was something a little different. Everyone thinks they can be the sparkling, sharp-witted Lizzie, but in reading about plain, introspective, and practical Jane, sophomore year Savannah had a lot more in common. The fact that it's now a book my sisters have both read, as well, means I get to share in the love!

8. Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

I seriously cannot say more about this book in this space than what I've said elsewhere: I read it way too early, and it was one of the first books I truly ever fell in love with. I read it every summer, and have done so for over a decade of my life, because this book will always seem like summer to me: a sunny celebration of independence, childhood, and living life like it's one big adventure.

9. Steven Covey's The 10 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

This book launched my love affair with the self-help genre when I was only in the eighth grade! The idea that books could help make your life better - by the direct messages of non-fiction, rather than the indirect means of fiction - always seemed like an appealing one to me, and the engaging, illustrated teen's version of the classic drew me in completely.

10. M.F.K. Fisher's How to Cook a Wolf 

Another beloved read from the high school years, I first became acquainted with Mrs. Fisher through a cooking class's book report project! As a longtime wannabe home cook, her frank instructions, built into the context of descriptive paragraphs, rather than a typical cookbook format, blew my mind. Giving narratives to food was something I had never seen done before, and the ways she made easy ingredients stand out in complex ways was something I held on to (and is one of the reasons I now love to read Ina Garten!). This book was one of the ones that really launched my love of cooking.

Unsurprisingly, when I originally drafted out this post, there were several additional books that made an appearance on the list, as well, including the Dear America series and Max Lucado's Wemmick children's books; however, while I think being thankful is super important, you can't name them all. Hopefully this theme comes around next year so I can thank Jamie Oliver's cookbooks and all of the American Girl library in their own time.

Happy holidays!

What's in your Top Ten? Let me know, in the comments below!

1 comment:

  1. I love/have read most of your choices. I probably would have had Jane Eyre AND Pride and Prejudice on my list, because I go back to both again and again. Would also throw in Salem's Lot. Not because it's one of best Kings, but because it was in a compilation book your dad gave me when I was 14, and my first introduction to his work. Because it was from your dad, still one of the stories I'm thankful for. Nancy