The Broke and Bookish Top Ten meme this week is a perfect one for Thanksgiving—ten books I’m thankful for. No matter how you slice it, it’s hard, because I’m grateful for every single book that takes my mind somewhere else, whether it is invigorating or calming. But just choosing ten?! That’s almost impossible. I’ve read over 1,500 books since I started using Goodreads in 2009 so even if I culled it to my 5 star picks…I just can’t. So, I decided to go old-school and look at my bookshelves first to see what jumped out at me. As I did, I found themes in my favorite reading and suddenly, everything came together.
I talk about reading for escape, but these three books landed me in the midst of reality. Each powerfully represents modern day social issues and communities where I have no experience. And even though two are fiction they are no less representative. I’m thankful when I get pulled out of my own worldview, even when it’s uncomfortable.
These three books stand apart for the beauty of their writing and its ability to overtake not just my mind, but my heart. They are books to read when everything hurts. Their whimsy, creativity, and intelligence make them sublime reading time and again. I’m thankful I found them—or did they find me?
First of all, there is no one book that can encapsulate what being a woman is like. I know this, but these books sang out to me and my experiences of womanhood. They’re the kind of book where you want to underline entire passages because it seems certain that the author was in your head.
The Longings of Women: I read this book over a decade ago and the reason it’s here is because it was the first book I read that turned my expectations for the norms of female adulthood on their head. I want to read it again, but am almost afraid that it can’t possibly hold up to my memory of it. Goodreads synopsis
Now I cheat a little bit, because it’s not a book but an author, but honestly, I’m not sorry. I am deeply thankful for Kent Haruf. His writing is the purest form of beauty I’ve ever read. Just as you might say a glass of cool water is simple, it will keep you alive and is a glorious thing when you need it. The same is true of Haruf’s books. Sadly, he passed away this year so there is no more. If you haven’t read him, don’t wait. These two are from his Plainsong trilogy.
In addition to books there are three bloggers, Sarah, Eva, and Susie that I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know better this year. Enough so that we’ve moved beyond the bookish world and into the rest of life (yes, we do have lives outside of reading! OK, sort of). I consider them friends and for that, I’m very thankful.
How about you? Do you have books you’re thankful for?