So in an effort to try and blog more, I’ve decided to participate in a few memes hosted at other blogs. It’s a great way to get inspired and, of course, to find new bloggers out there to read and share thoughts with. So thanks to the folks over at The Broke and the Bookish, here is my first ever Top Ten Tuesday Post.
The Topic: Top Ten Books That Make You Think (about the world, life, people, etc.)
This was actually really hard to do, even with as much as I read. Not to say that there haven’t been a ton of books that have made an impact on me – trust me, there have been many – but the ones that really made me think are fewer and farther between. So here’s what I’ve come up with, in no particular order.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – I first read this my senior year of high school and I remember being so impressed by both Jane and Charlotte herself. It was probably the first time my little feminist heart stood up and said, “Yes! We don’t have to be second class citizens just because we’re girls!”
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley – This is one of my all time favorites, but the reason I love it is because so much of it is unexpected. I’ve read many, many stories about King Arthur and Merlin, but usually they are told from the point of view of either King Arthur or Merlin. Not this one. This one goes beyond that and tells the story from the points of view of the women in the story. Morgan, Arthur’s sister. Ygraine, his mother. Vivian and Morgause, his aunts. Guinevere, his wife. It was an excellent way of learning to think outside the box.
Maus by Art Spiegelman – This was the first graphic novel I ever read. It taught me more about the Holocaust than any history class ever did. Not all the facts, like dates and statistics, but how the people were affected, which to me is more important. Told through a man listening to his father’s stories growing up as a Jew in Europe during World War II, the whole story is told through animals – the Jews are mice, the Nazis are cats, etc.
The Plot Against America by Philip Roth – Another book about World War II, but vastly different from Maus. This is an alternate history, which asks the question: what would have happened if the United States was on the other side of the war? The story is told through a young Jewish boy who has to watch how all of this impacts his family and his life. A very interesting look at how one decision can change the course of history.
The Anatomy of Story by John Truby – I’ve talked about this book before, but I had to include it on this list. This book has made me completely rethink the way I write. I started it with only a bare bones idea for a story, and now I have a partial manuscript of nearly 45,000 words. I never thought that would ever happen. This book helped me focus my thoughts and learn how to structure and outline, something I’ve never been able to do until now.
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes – I read this book very quickly because I couldn’t put it down and, truthfully, I wasn’t right for days. It was so heartbreaking! This story really makes you think about how wonderful advances in science can be, but they can also come with a price. The main character is mentally handicapped and goes through a medical procedure that helps him increase his IQ by leaps and bounds. He becomes friends with Algernon, a lab mouse that was used to test the procedure. I won’t give away the ending, but from about the half way point, I read with my heart in my throat. You know what’s coming and there’s nothing to do to stop it.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguru – Another amazing book that made me think about how science can be seen as both a blessing and a curse. It’s hard to even discuss why without giving the whole book away, so I will just say that you have to read it. And that’s that.
The Path of a Christian Witch by Adelina St. Clair – I was hesitant to put this one on the list. Not because it didn’t make me think, but because I try not to discuss religion on this blog. The reason I loved this book so much was because it showed how to be completely unconventional in your beliefs, but still be able to reconcile them within yourself and find peace and comfort.
Paper Towns by John Green – This book is so good. I love John Green’s work, but this is the first one I read and it is still my favorite. I first read it after seeing John and his brother Hank on their video blog on YouTube. Before this, I didn’t really read a lot of Young Adult fiction, other than some fantasy novels, because I didn’t think it had anything to offer me. This book proved me wrong.
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – Wherever there is a list, you can bet that these will be on it somewhere. Granted, these are seven books instead of just one, but still. They are not on the list for the reasons that you think, however. The story is amazing, everyone knows that, but what I found so inspiring was the story about how J.K. Rowling created it. She was a single mom, barely getting by, when she came up with one idea. She stuck to that idea, worked very hard, and now look where she is. Since I was a single mom when I first really got serious about writing, this really resonated with me.
And there you have it. So what are some of your books that made you think?