This is Day 7 of the 31 Day Online Writing Challenge where we are finding something to celebrate each and every day in October. To see what holidays you missed (and to add them to your calendar for next year), click here to go to the beginning.
Tonight I’m super thankful for a relatively easy topic to post about. October 4th -10th is Great Books Week, and, because I’ve got TV shows to catch up on and pillow cases to sew, I am going to keep this (hopefully) short and sweet and to the point and compensate with mostly pictures.
What makes a book great? Is it fun to read? Life changing? Inspiring? Does it shape the world, or at least, your thoughts on the world? Do you read Great Books more than once? Or are you a one-and-done type person? If you had to make a list of your own, what would you include?
I love to read. I love to read so much I started a book club and now once a month a group of friends (old and new) get together to discuss a book and eat, sometimes disagree, and most always laugh. While reading is a solitary activity, I’ve discovered it blossoms into so much more when you have the opportunity to compare your thoughts and reflections with somebody else’s. It really is amazing that two people can read the same exact words and walk away from it with totally different interpretations.
Compared to some, I’ve read a lot. Compared to many, I haven’t read much at all. Still, when I sat down to think about my “Great Books List”, I had a hard time narrowing the choices to a top 7. (A Great Books List doesn’t have to be seven – it just seemed like a nice number to go with. And it’s the 7th, so that makes sense. And it’s all I have time for.)
I didn’t want to get all philosophical and decide which books are Great based on the impact they have had on this world and our culture (that’s a different story for a different day from a different blogger). Instead, I’m keeping it on a personal level – books that I consider great for a variety of reasons of my own choosing because, well, this is my blog and I get to write about whatever the heck I want. 🙂
My Great Books List (in no particular order):
Zion Covenant Series by Bodie Thoene. If memory serves me correctly, I received some second-hand copies of this book from my mom’s cousin when I was in middle-school and immediately fell in love. I think this was the beginning of my interest in World War II and ultimately history in general.
Dracula by Bram Stoker. I first read this when I was working at Fort Delaware, which was not the wisest move on my part as I was typically alone in the very quiet, very (supposedly – but most definitely) haunted Visitors Center. I was jumpy and my neck hurt for a week after, but it is definitely a great book.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. There is nothing I could write that would really and truly give justice to the marvel that is this book. So I won’t say anything but will instead encourage you to run to your nearest bookstore (local, preferably) and pick up your own copy and read it as soon as possible. I’m super excited this is October’s selection for book club and have been savoring the thought of diving into it again.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. A little history. A little Dracula legend. A fascinating tale spanning three decades (30’s, 50’s, and 70’s) that will make you believe that maybe vampires do exist and consider stocking up on garlic and wooden stakes. Not really, but it’s entertaining and suspenseful and just downright interesting. It’s kind of like Twighlight, except that it doesn’t suck.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. This was a book club selection that very immediately became a favorite and one I wanted to start reading again as soon as I had finished it. Set post-World-War-II, it follows the story lines of Juliet Ashton, a London writer, and the colorful characters she strikes up a correspondence with on the island of Guernsey. It’s composed entirely of letters which gives it a unique voice. And speaking of voices, if you get a chance, you should also listen to the audio version to enjoy a bevy of beautiful British accents.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s been ten years and I’m still working my way through the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but I’ve read The Hobbit at least a half-dozen times. This needs no explaining.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Like The Hobbit, I feel these don’t need much explanation as to why they make my list. It’s not often that an author can inspire, motivate, move, bring to tears, and give you goosebumps in a way that Lewis does. But he nails it. And he does it well. My dog ate three of the seven paperback editions I have (or, had – I guess he likes them, too). Maybe a good Christmas gift idea? (hint, hint)
This turned out to be much longer than anticpated but it’s hard to shut me up when I’m talking about a good book. Would any of these make your list? Tell me your Great Books – I’d love some suggestions. Happy reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow!