Yesterday I was tagged in a Facebook chain message. My first response, like any chain snail mail or email from years past was to ignore it, but this one was about books, so how could I resist?
The purpose was to quickly share, without too much thought, ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Here were my ten (with a brief explanation of why):
1. Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck is a beautiful piece of literature that seamlessly weaves real characters and intersecting them with everyday people. The juxtaposition between Edna St. Vincent Millay and Laura Kelley is brooding with layers of passion and sacrifice that touches me deeply.
2. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly focuses on Mattie who wants to better herself and she does it by learning new words and seeking knowledge. This is the motto of my life.
3. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton moves me on an elemental and mystical level. It’s the deep-seated family history and Ava’s final moments with Nathaniel Sorrows that absolutely transformed me.
4. Mudbound by Hillary Jordan is a modern version of The Awakening. A woman and her sacrifice, passion, and dreams dead-ended in their muck-covered Mudbound farm.
5. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez. Where do I begin with this soul-ripping, earth-shattering darkness that throws your emotions around like a rag doll? Naomi, Naomi, Naomi. Pain, passion, a quest for comfort and love.
6. Guardian by Julius Lester begins with “There are times when a tree can no longer withstand the pain inflicted on it, and the wind will take pity on that tree and topple it over in a mighty storm. All the other trees who witnessed the evil look down upon the fallen tree with envy. They pray for the day when a wind will end their suffering. I pray for the day when God will end mine.” There is nothing more to do than to read and follow the pain. One of the most uniquely beautiful opening paragraphs.
7. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is a contemporary classic about a girl finding her voice when it has been silenced by rape. There have been many iterations, both well-done and not-so-much, but this one takes the cake with a simple but clear message that YA readers need so desperately. And regardless of what most think, the movie was spot-on and truly showecased the mood of the book for me.
8. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold was one of the first books that I literally photocopied pages from to keep and reread. The transcendental nature of a narrator talking from haven was unique and sad and then having read Sebold’s memoir Lucky, it all came together.
9. A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman makes me want to know more and be better. Ackerman’s knack for beautiful writing and a well-researched focus feeds my need to focus on the beauty and gratitude of nature (in the form of our five senses).
10. What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World by Taylor Mali is a force for those in education. Having been able to see him a small, eclectic bar/performing arts establishment was invigorating and his ingenuity and talent for spoken word pours from him. And though his observations are spot on and the book is a testament to that, it can only be best experienced with the ear. I’m linking my favorite here: “I’ll Fight You For the Library”.
As you can see, the books that speak to me tend to be ones where characters are experiences the darker side of emotions but are trying to chase passions regardless. There is a reason my tattoo is what it is and why I feel these books on an elemental level.
Please share yours whether it’s on social media or in the comments. Not that I need more to add to be to-be read pile, but, that’s what book sharing is all about.