Ah, Thanksgiving, the time of year for turkey, cranberries, and Black Friday-none of which are on my list of things that I enjoy. What I do enjoy, however, is reading. Today I thought I’d share some of the books I’m thankful for.
- INSIDE, OUTSIDE, UPSIDE, DOWN by Stan and Jan Berenstain. It’s the first book I remember from my childhood. My Dad used to read it to me. Or rather we used to read it together, long before I knew how to read. I can still quote some of it today. “In a box; going to town; inside, outside, upside down.” As an educator/author, I know this picture book was written to enforce the concept of direction. As a wee reader, it enforced a love of language and cuddling up with my Daddy. I’m thankful for both of those things.
- A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle. I mentioned this one last week, but one can never mention this book too much. Without a doubt I owe my writing career, whatever it ends up being, to this book. Not only did this book create a passion for writing in me, it was absolutely the catalyst to the Sci-Fi geek that I am today. Without this book, my 4th grade self would have said Star Wars is for boys. Without it I would flipped through re-runs of Doctor Who on PBS instead of watching them. Without it, I wouldn’t know the difference between Wil Wheaton and Joss Whedon. How sad and unimaginative my life would have been!
- FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC by V.C. Andrews. I read the entire series. Was I too young at the time? Absolutely. ( If my mother had known what went on in that book…) I’m thankful for this series because not only did it prepare me for Mortal Instruments, but I think it was the first time I had an emotional connection to a book. (Beyond loving them.) I remember being in the hospital (diabetic complications) and being just vile and hateful to one of the nurses. My mom questioned why I, normally a pleasant and accommodating teen, would be so mean. She couldn’t understand why I didn’t like her because by all accounts, she was nice to me and a great nurse. I didn’t understand why at first either. I just knew I didn’t like her. Then it occurred to me one night as I was reading one of the books in the series-this nurse looked exactly like I had pictured the evil mom looking. And I hated her for it! It seems silly now, but I’m thankful that I can totally immerse into a world. I still do that. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. (Note: I have learned to channel my aggression, so if you look like President Snow or Jeanine Matthews, I’ll still give you a chance.)
- HARRY POTTER series by J. K. Rowling. My daughter is a reader (and also a pretty dang good writer/poet.) J.K. Rowling is the reason. In her early years, she was a reluctant reader who read only when her teacher assigned it. Then came Harry. I truly believe that the series changed her mind about reading. She grew up with Harry and it is impossible for me to separate him from her. I’m thankful for that, but I’m also thankful that I could read right along with her. We were at every midnight release and bought two copies so we both could enjoy the magic together.
- TWILIGHT series by Stephanie Meyer. Yeah, I’m thankful for books that I have never read. (Sorry, couldn’t do it-not my cup o’ tea, as they say.) But I’m thankful anyway. This book, more than any other, grew a fandom. As a professional fangirl, I appreciate that. Without this book we’d have no Teams! Who doesn’t love a good Team war? I think this series paved the road for a culture that I truly support. With so many ills in the world, it’s important to have something that takes you away from all of that. Fandoms do that. Now, I don’t think fandoms are the most important thing, but I think they’re a good thing.
- UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld. I’m thankful for this series because it is a master class in world building. I read this many years ago and I still refer to things as “bubbly-making.” If you need another world, fine, read another Westerfeld. He’s done vampires, historical fiction steampunk, pop culture-you name it. I can’t wait until his next book!
- DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth. The moment after I finished Divergent, I grabbed my laptop and wrote the first sentence of my first book. I didn’t really even know yet what it would be about, I just knew that I had to write. Something about Veronica’s voice spoke to me. She didn’t make it look easy, she made it seem worthwhile. So I started writing and I haven’t stopped. For that, I am most thankful.
There are so many more that I can list. Really I should have just said “ALL THE BOOKS” because every story is worth telling. And every story will find its audience, no matter how small or large. For that, I give thanks!