I’m taking a cue from fellow blogger Annie Blogs. I discovered Annie’s blog not that long ago, and I can’t stay away. She lives in Nashville and we are in very similar seasons of life. When I see her blog name in bold when I open Google Reader, I get excited. She’s full of wisdom that Annie, and she’s funny to boot. (Plus she recommends great places to eat and has great taste in music). Each Friday, Annie Blogs features “Top Five Friday.” So for lack of creativity today (it’s been a long week, people. Forgive me), here is my “Top Five Friday: Books” edition.
But more than you reading this list, I want your list!! — I’m always looking for reading suggestions.
1. The Notebook. OK, I know what you’re thinking. But this is a favorite on many levels. For one, it was published when I was a sophomore in high school, the same year my maternal grandfather passed away from Alzheimer’s. My mother and I read it together, and it bonded us in a way I can’t explain. To this day, I still love that book because it reminds me of an amazing love and bond my grandparents shared — a bond I am thankful to have seen and witnessed. Little did I know at the time, all three of my remaining grandparents would also develop Alzheimer’s. My dad’s parents died 11 days apart, and I wholeheartedly believe my grandmother died of a broken heart. So yes, I’m a sucker for romance, but The Notebook goes deeper than my fandom of Nicholas Sparks and North Carolina shores.
2. Lord of the Flies. I. Love. This. Book. I read it in high school, and I remember finding the dry humor in what was intended to be a horrible situation. Part of that was thanks to our group projects on the book. A group of boys re-enacted a scene from the book, and 12 years later, I still remember that video being one of the funniest things I have ever watched. Of course, the book was overwhelmingly sad, and even more discouraging was the realization of how it imitated real life. Sad. But I did find this mug online, and I want it. My birthday is in September.
3. To Kill a Mockingbird. I read this book in high school as well, and it’s been a favorite since the first sentence. I didn’t grow up during the days of the Civil Rights movement, but my parents did, as did their parents. Having been born and raised in the South, I’ve heard many stories about that dark time in our history. This book made a tremendous impact on me. I’m lucky to come from a family where everyone is seen as equal. Skin color, hair color, body size or societal standard doesn’t matter. People are people, and God calls us to love all people. This book made so many of the stories I’d heard my whole life real. It gave them faces and names, even if it was through fictional characters. It opened my eyes more than any history book ever did. I still reread it occasionally.
4. Romeo and Juliet. Haha, OK, here’s my truly “hopeless romantic” choice. I knew the story of these two long before I ever read it. And when I finally read it in middle school, I didn’t like it. I enjoy Shakespeare’s language, but as a seventh grader, it was tough to truly navigate and understand the full meaning. Then a friend gave me a copy with two versions. On the left side of the page was the original text, and on the right was the same text in modern day English. Compare it to reading the Bible in King James Version and then reading it in The Message version. Same difference. But when I was able to dive into the words and grasp some of the deeper imagery, I fell in love. No film version of this tragedy will ever do it justice. And the Leonardo DiCaprio version is dreadful. But in seriousness, go back and reread this. It holds true over time. As far as we’ve come in our history, people still cannot accept others — often resulting in unnecessary tragedy and heartache.
5. Needles. To be completely honest, I remember very few details about this book, but I do remember it having a profound impact on me. The book is a semi-autobiography of a type 1 diabetic and her sister. I say semi because one sister wrote it, but often includes details of the the other sister’s life. I remember both women having diabetes, both since childhood. I remember it being real and honest — and it scared me. I read it in college, and I remember as soon as I finished it, I gave it to a dear friend to read saying, “you want to understand what it’s like, read this.” I never got the book back, and I have no idea if my friend ever read it. But I did recently re-order a copy on Amazon so I can read it again. I remember this book having a profound impact on my life because it was the first time I had ever read honest, scary and real thoughts about type 1 diabetes. It was about 10 years ago — and the DOC wasn’t yet around. I highly recommend it, but be forewarned — it will mess you up, Steel Magnolias style. Have some tissues ready kids.
OK. So good, bad, romantic, funny… it’s all here. And I’m a big reader so this list was tough for me. Honestly, these are probably not my true Top Five, just the Top Five I could remember off the top of my head. What are some of your favorites?