My friend Ale nominated me on Facebook to list 10 books that have shaped me or been special to me. This is hard, because I can think of like 100, but 10? Just 10??? That’s hard. Plus, no one should nominate me for things like this because I ramble on forever… Which is why I’m doing it my way and just turning it into a freaking blog post. So here goes, in no particular order.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver- What can I say about this book? I’ve read it over 40 times. My dad told me once that I’m probably trying to subconsciously memorize it. This is probably true. I love the characters so much and I’ve read it so many times that I sort of feel like I carry them around with me. I hear quotes from the book at appropriate times, as if the characters are advising me. I always have the urge to call Barbara Kingsolver my friend when I refer to her, only we’ve never met or anything like that.
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle- If there is one book I wish everyone could read, it’s this. The ideas inside of it literally reshaped my brain and how I think of the world. I swear I am a bigger, better person from having read (and re-read) this book until I could wrap my little brain around it. It’s a game changer, for sure.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot- This book made me so freaking mad that I had to actually set it down numerous times before finishing it. Who is Henrietta Lacks, you ask? Well, you should know. We should all know since she’s done more for medicine than maybe anyone ever has. Except she was a poor black woman so she (and her family) were treated terribly despite the way she changed the world. Read this book. It sheds new light on science but especially inequality.
Still the Mind by Alan Watts- Really, read anything by Alan Watts. That guy will take your brain and turn it inside out and make you look at the whole world new forever. He chases in circles but always comes back around. He’s deep but funny. He’s amazing. He is the person I’d have lunch with if I could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive. I named my cat after him because I love him so.
Big George- The Autobiography of an Angel– I don’t know where this book came from and it’s out of print with no author listed. But it’s available on Amazon on occasion and it’s worth paying for if you find a copy. It’s a magical little book about an angel that comes to earth in the form of a premature baby, sent here to teach us to love one another. It warms my heart every time I read it.
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert- I found this book some time before it was popular. Someone dropped it in my lap. Isn’t that how it always goes with good books? It was exactly what I needed at the time. It’s about one woman’s struggle to find herself after landing in a dark corner within herself. At the time, I could so totally relate. I think we all can at some points in our lives.
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris- I was reading this book at the doctor’s office once while I was there for a check-up. I laughed so hard while in the waiting room that it took me straight through being weighed and measured and into an exam room before I could get my shit together. I was a little afraid that they were going to put me on a 24 hour psych hold because I was literally in tears. David is the funniest guy ever and I recommend him so very highly.
A Prayer for the Dying by Stewart O’Nan- This book is sad and dark and strange, written in the second person voice so it makes the story seem eerily yours. Set in Friendship Wisconsin just after the civil war, you are the town’s undertaker, pastor and sheriff during the midst of a diphtheria outbreak. Like I said, sad and strange, which is why it still haunts me.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn- I often times don’t like books that really hit it big, but I liked this one. It made me say “Holy shit!” like 7 times. I don’t often find books that keep me on my toes like that. I kinda couldn’t put it down.
Dreaming Out Loud by Michelle Roth- I have to list my own book, because if we’re listing books that shaped us, writing a book is for sure on the list. If reading a book can change us, then writing one will change your whole life. I highly recommend it for anyone who has even the slightest inkling, but I warn you that it will challenge you and make you face demons and skeletons you’d forgotten years ago. At varying points in the process, I compared writing a book to an endless road trip without a working odometer, to pregnancy and to childbirth. That said, I wouldn’t change it for anything and it was one of the most gratifying things I’ve ever done.