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Books I’m Thankful For

2011 November 23

While browsing on Twitter the other day, I noticed the “books i’m thankful for” hashtag and it was an idea that was immediately appealing to me (almost as appealing as the brilliant #literaryturducken, but we’ll save that for another day).

Obviously, books have had a huge impact on my life. I honestly don’t know where I would be without them–seriously, I met my fiance in grad school while studying publishing and writing. Who does that if they don’t love books? So, I am very grateful for books in general. Specifically, I put together a tiny smattering of the books I’m grateful for and why:

1. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

I don’t remember how old I was when I read this book, but I had a small, fat paperback, with illustrations, that I read and reread as a little girl. When I was in high school, I bought a hard cover edition that included Little Men, Jo’s Boys, and a few other Alcott stories, but nothing ever beats Little Women, in my opinion. I even wrote a research paper on Alcott for a high school English class. It’s the first book I really loved in a kind of sentimental, connected way, and I still love it.

2. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Fannie Flagg

My mom took this book out of the local library and just kept it, she loved it so much. My grandmother rented a beach house for a week in summer when I was 8 or 9, and I decided to read this book. I was probably a little too young, but I loved loved loved it, and I don’t remember being confused by it, though the murder, complicated female relationships, and domestic abuse were probably a little over my head. The movie came out a few years later, and all of a sudden, everyone knew the story. I’ve reread it several times, and my college roommate even bought me a copy for Christmas when my old copy got lost. Even though it’s a little more sensational and not as “literary” as most of the books I read now, it definitely remains in my top ten list.

3. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

I read this in college, at just about the time that I was discovering that I really loved to write. Reading the journals of one of the writers I admired most was really helpful in understanding what it’s like to pursue writing, and the creative genius behind one of the foremost female poets of the 20th century. The collection is dauntingly huge, and I don’t think I ever quite read everything, but I’d recommend it if you are interested in learning more about Plath than the myth that she was just a crazy woman obsessed with suicide and death.

4. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon

I was hesitant to read this book because it’s about comic books. But as soon as I was finished with the first page, I knew I had found something special. It’s about so much more than comic books, and the writing is sublime. I read it about five years ago, and every once in awhile, I’ll take it down from the shelf and reread certain passages, but I haven’t reread the whole book. Part of me is afraid that it won’t live up to the first time I read it. Maybe that’s crazy. Either way, when someone asks the question, “what’s your favorite book?” this is my go-to answer.

5. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Ok, so this one is a gimme, but I really love it. It’s one of those tried and true classics that lives up to the hype–despite what some haters will say. I read this in my junior year high school English class, and I distinctly remember doing the Charleston in class, awkwardly, trying not to look like too much of an idiot in front of the boy I liked. But despite the corny 1920s lessons that went along with our reading the book, the deeper themes resonated with me, and it was one of the first books I was required to read for school that I really loved. I read it again in college, and wasn’t tired of it. Even now, I find myself rereading certain parts, and of course, there’s my totebag that I carry every day.


What books are you thankful for?


And now, I’m off to Rhode Island to spend Thanksgiving with the family. Happy Thanksgiving to all–see ya next week!

10 Responses Post a comment
  1. November 23, 2011

    I love love love Little Women.

  2. November 23, 2011

    Great idea for a post! I think I’ll borrow it for the Friday reading assignment post I do every week. :) I’m mostly thankful for the books I read as a kid: The Little House on the Prairie series, the Anne of Green Gables series, the Wizard of Oz series, Marry Poppins, The Secret Garden, The Little Princess.

  3. November 23, 2011

    Excellent list! Glad to see Sylvia Plath on here–I thought her journals were fascinating. She was truly brilliant.

    Have you ever seen Gatz, the play that is literally The Great Gatsby read aloud? I loved the book before hand, and the play made me appreciate Fitzgerald’s writing even more.

    (PS–if you are in RI on Friday and want to get a drink/coffee, Walt and I are around!)

  4. November 24, 2011

    Fried Green Tomatoes pulls on my heart strings every time! I adore that book!

  5. Mal permalink
    November 24, 2011

    This is a great list! My short list would look something like this: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Grapes of Wrath, Slaughterhouse 5, and The Handmaid’s Tale. I didn’t read Little Women until I was much older–it may have even been post-undergrad–but I absolutely loved it. Unfortunately, it was a bit late for the life-changing phase of things.

    I think at this point I am thankful for any and all books, as they will hopefully give someone joy, entertainment, or information, and they will provide me with a job. :-)

  6. November 28, 2011

    The Great Gatsby is one of my top 10 favorite books :) And my fiance has been asking me to read the Adventures of Kavalier and Clay forever… I should start!

  7. November 29, 2011

    i’m one of those weirdos who never read ‘little women’ when i was a kid and hence never liked it as an adult, but many people i know count it among their favorite books ever. i did read and love fried green tomatoes. and michael chabon lives in berkeley, where i grew up, and he lived across the backyard from my high school boyfriend (how’s that for claim to fame? :)

  8. November 30, 2011

    The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Book Thief, To the Lighthouse, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Life of Pi, the list goes on and on!


  9. December 14, 2011

    I love Gone with the Wind. I first read it in middle school, and it was a great example to me of how someone can break out of the mold they’ve been taught to live in. It also showed that while the popular beautiful girls may get what they want, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re any happier than anyone else – maybe less so.

    Come to think of it, Little Women touches on the former subject too but it didn’t resonate with me in the same way.

    I never really got the appeal of Gatsby. I liked it okay, but it puzzles me why so many people cite it as a favorite.

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