I love books, but there are certain books that have had such an impact on my life that I couldn’t imagine the world without them. Here is a list of five books for which I am truly thankful and the reasons why.
A Dog Called Kitty by Bill Wallace
I first read this book when I was in third grade. The book is about a young boy who is afraid of dogs until he meets a dog who answers to nothing but the word “kitty.” A Dog Called Kitty is the first book that made me both laugh and cry. I proceeded to loan it to all my friends. I even read a portion of it over the phone to try to get one of them interested in reading it. Now that I have a nephew in fourth grade, I have given him a copy to read and can only hope that he will love it as much as I did.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
No one will find it surprising that I first read this book for my high school freshman English class. When we started reading it, I had just finished The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom and The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss. So when Scout’s teacher comments that she doesn’t understand how Hitler could treat Jews the way he does because they are such nice people, all the while the town she lives in is condemning Tom Robinson for a crime they know he didn’t commit just because he’s black, I became so upset with that character I threw the book across my room. Thus, To Kill a Mockingbird became the first book in which I acted out one of my favorite Dorothy Parker quotes, “This isn’t a book to be tossed aside lightly. It must be thrown with great force.” It was the first book that I was forced to read in school that I actually enjoyed.
The India Fan by Victoria Holt
When I was a teenager, my family moved from New Mexico to Missouri, but my mother was still working on her Master’s degree at the University of Eastern New Mexico. So, I ended up staying most of the summer with my grandmother in West Texas, which, any teenager that has spent the summer with their grandmother will tell you, is very boring. To stave off my boredom, my grandmother loaned me the book The India Fan. I read the book in two days, and then my grandmother and I sat around talking about it. This started a pattern for the rest of the summer. After my grandmother passed away, my aunt asked me if there was anything I would like to have, and now The India Fan and the other books I read that summer reside on one of my bookshelves.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
When I was a freshman in college, a woman I had never met, a.k.a. my roommate, told me that one of her favorite books was Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and she strongly suggested I read it. Now, I had read several fantasy books that my older brother loaned me, but science fiction just wasn’t my thing. Still, in order to have a common bond with my roommate, I agreed to read it, and I’m so glad I did. The ridiculous humor that permeated each page opened me up to science fiction, and I can point my obsessions with Doctor Who, Firefly and Ender’s Game back to reading that book.
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Finally, I wanted to end with the most important book in my life. I read The Outsiders when I was 13 years-old and it remained my favorite book until…actually, it may still be my favorite book. Not only does it have an engaging story and memorable characters, but it is beautifully written—by a 16 year-old girl. At 13 years-old, I remember thinking that if I wrote a book I would want to write a book like this. So, that year I sat down and started writing. I am still writing, and one day I hope that someone will be thankful for the books that I write.
The Outsiders 50th Anniversary edition was just released this month, and apparently many others feel the same way I do about this book because by the time I went to pick up a copy, my Half Price Books store was sold out. So, I’m still looking, which means if you want a copy, you may want to call your local HPB before I do.
What about you? For what books are you truly thankful?
Happy Thanksgiving and Seasons Readings!