Well folks, I started this blog during a slow slump at work. We just finished up summer reading (whew!), but I don’t take over storytime until later in the month, and Babygarten and other programs don’t start up again until September. So, in lieu of storytime rundowns and Flannel Fridays, I’m going to steal something from the ever awesome Librarian by Day and talk about the seven books that changed the way I see the world. Because, and let’s be honest here, who doesn’t love hearing about books?
1. The Once and Future King by T. H. White
As I said in my last entry, this is the book that reminded me that it’s actually fun to read. Growing up, I had always been interested in King Arthur, so it makes sense that this book appealed to my 15-year-old self. At close to 700 pages, it was an intimidating read for a teenager who barely read anything outside of school, but when I finished it in less than a week, I knew that my love of reading had returned. As an added bonus, I totally kicked butt during my sophomore year King Arthur unit in English class. And it took little to no studying on my part.
2. The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
If The Once and Future King renewed my love for reading, then this series reminded my 15-year-old self that books can completely transport us to another world. When we read some books, the setting becomes our second home and the characters become our best friends. While I was a little late to jump on the bandwagon (four books were already out by the time I started reading them), I do consider myself a part of the Harry Potter generation. These books helped me through the tough times in high school and gave me a reason to meet up at midnight with my friends during college. I am proud to say that I have stuck with Harry until the very end.
3. War and Peace in the Middle East by Avi Shlaim
I was a history minor in college, and I was required to read this book for a History of the Modern Middle East class. I’m ashamed to say that prior to this class, my knowledge of the Middle East was very limited. True, I heard a lot about it on the news, but we all know that that information is convoluted at best. This book is short, concise, and relatively unbiased (or at least as unbiased as you can get when talking about the history of the Middle East). It definitely opened up my eyes to a lot of things.
4. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Okay, I’m just going to say it: This book is crap. Several of my friends (who usually have very good tastes in reading material) urged me to read it. So I bought it, read it, and then spent months trying to give it away because I was afraid it would contaminate the decent books in my book collection. So why is this one on the list? Well, first of all, it taught me that crap books can become insanely popular. Secondly, I kind of like all the insanity around this series. The movies are hilarious, I love making fun of these books with other people and, back when I was nannying in grad school, I enjoyed having werewolf vs vampire and Edward vs Jacob discussions with the kids. It also taught me that I can be a little bit of a hypocrite with a book: I hate it…but I also kind of like it.
5. The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran
I picked this book up on a whim one evening and ended up staying awake all night to finish it. I honestly didn’t expect to like it as much as I did and, even now, I’m not quite sure exactly what it is about this book that makes me love it so much. However, I have introduced it to several of my friends, all of whom loved it as well, and we have had several discussions about how sexy it is. Maybe that’s why we love it?
6. The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins
Okay, I admit it, I kind of gave up on young adult literature after Twilight came out. It seemed as though every other YA book followed Twilight’s formula of weak, 2-dimensional female falls in love with some awesome supernatural being and nothing else happens plot. I’m sorry, but one Twilight is enough. So when my friends (the same ones who recommended Twilight) told me that I should read The Hunger Games, I was a bit skeptical. But, as I’m sure you can guess, this series renewed my faith in YA lit. And then I discovered John Green, David Levithan, Susan Beth Pfeffer, and Gayle Forman, and I realized that YA Lit never really got bad; I just wasn’t looking in the right places.
7. Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation by Elissa Stein and Susan Kim
I learned so much from this book! Not just about the history of what women did back in the olden days, but also about my own body. Turns out health class left out a lot of information. What makes this book even better are the vintage advertisements that are included in its pages. Very interesting!