As you can tell from the tabs at the top of this page, I like to read. That isn’t something that happened in the last few years, though. I’ve been a ravenous reader since I was a child and that love for the written word is reflected in this post from 2007. I called it “Reading List” then; now it’s this week’s Weekend in Rewind.
So, I was inspired by USA Today’s list of top 25 most influential books (from the last 25 years) and decided it was time to make a list of my own. There’s no order to my list, and it’s by no means conclusive. I just wanted to list a number of books that have left an impression on me and explain a little about why!
1. Black and Blue by Anna Quinlan. I love Anna Quinlan. I think her writing style is masterful and beautiful. Black and Blue helped me to understand that most happiness is tinged with sadness, despair, and hurt.
2. Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult. I just finished this book a few weeks ago. Besides teaching me much about the Amish, it taught me a lot about love.
3. The group I like to call the Romantics: Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park; Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre; Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. While she doesn’t really fit with the rest, I’d also include Daphne DuMurier. I love Rebecca and Jamiaca Inn.
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Enough said.
5. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkener. I’m not a huge Faulkener fan. His round-about, meandering style drives me CRAZY. But scenes, themes, and descriptions from this book are still stuck in my head, even though I read it about 7 years ago!
6. A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor. I admit it, I love Flannery O’Connor. Her writing is always a little, well, off, but somehow, I find myself liking it. She’s just so intriguing to me as a writer anyway.
7. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. I read this book years ago in college because it was assigned. I thought it was weird. I still think it’s weird. But entire scenes have stuck with me all these years later. The magic realism of Latin American writers is present, but I like the idea that love can pervade the food the one in love prepares and cause a change in the lives of those who eat it!
8. Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. I refer to this as the saddest book ever written. Read it and you’ll find out why.
9. Dispatches from the Edge by Anderson Cooper. It’s no secret that I love Anderson Cooper, but this book gave me a lot of insight to him and his drive to teach us about what’s going on in our world. As a journalist of sorts, I find it all incredibly intriguing.
10. Through the Painted Desert by Donald Miller. I may not agree with Donald Miller on all theological points, but I loved this book. His style of writing is so open and friendly, yet at the same time, always pushing you to think about things differently.
11. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I admit it, I’ve read this book more than once, and I own the movie. It’s an epic, and I learned a lot about the consequences of our choices, the problem with being self-centered and selfish, and love.
12. The Autobiography of Malcom X by Malcolm X. Yep, I had to read it at Vandy. I don’t believe the same things Malcolm did by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s an interesting look at the inner workings/spiritual journey of a famous man.
13. The Bean Trees and Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver. I first read these books when I worked with Kelly Lewis at the Missouri Baptist Convention and she told me about them. Quirky and a bit strange, but real.
14. Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts. I fell in love with the movie, then read the book. For once, I think the movie actually can compare with the book! With the simple story of a young girl who has a baby and grows up with her, this book captured my heart and taught me a lot about a mother’s love.
That’s all I’m going to list right now, but know that this isn’t my complete list! Write back with comments about your favorite books or books that made an impact on you (that’s code for: WRITE COMMENTS, PEOPLE!)