This blog thing is kinda funny.
Inspired by some of our 5-10-15-20 lists, Lisa wrote this piece for our education newsletter blog. In the comments, someone posted a link to THIS blog exercise which, in turn, inspired me to write the entry you’re now reading.
Since many of you have posted about reading lately, I thought I’d take the challenge, so here goes:
The rules are simple—think of 15 books in no more than 15 minutes. The titles don’t have to be cool or influential, just books that stick with you.
Here’s my list (posted in the order in which I thought of them):
- Crashing Through by Robert Kurson
I read this one on vacation two years ago and I’m hoping to read it again this summer. It’s the story of a blind man who gets his vision back, but it’s soooo much more than that. It’s about courage and commitment and a live-life-to-the-fullest philosophy we can all learn from. Utterly fascinating! Read my review, which was originally posted on mySpace.
- Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
When forced to pick one favorite book, I always list Ishmael. It was assigned reading in a sociology class in college and I immediately fell in love with its approachable themes of sustainability, responsibility, and the questioning of “facts.” As I’ve become more educated on many of the issues illustrated in the book, I can understand why some people criticize it for being too simplistic, but it got me “hooked,” so it will always be one of my favorites.
- The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Before I read Ishmael this would’ve been my “favorite book.” I borrowed a copy from Mr. Kleiss’ classroom library in 5th grade and never returned it! From the first sentence to “stay gold, Ponyboy” this book has a permanent place in my heart.
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
We read this in book club and I remember liking it. It’s different. It’s quirky. I usually like books where I learn about something outside of my realm of experience and this kicked off my fascination with Asbergers Syndrome.
- Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
I read this during my “books that were made into movies” stage and then I read a bunch of other Michael Crichton books soon after. It has stuck with me after all of these years SIMPLY because there are a couple of scenes in the movie that make a lot more sense after you’ve read the book. Of course, I don’t remember details now, but one of them has to do with dinosaur dung.
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
I’ve probably read this book 3 or 4 times for school. Any time we could pick our own book for independent reading or for literature circles, I picked this one because a) I’d already read it and b) it’s really, really short. Steinbeck is a great writer, but at the time I was impressed with his conciseness more for my own good than for its literary merit!
- Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Around the time Scarlett came out (the Gone with the Wind sequel, Google tells me it was 1992. I was 13), my mom had hardcover copies of both of the books in our house. I was impressed by the length of the book (“It’s bigger than the dictionary, Mom!”) and decided to read it one summer. I remember laying out in our backyard for HOURS devouring the tale of Rhett and Scarlett and wishing I lived in the South. It was YEARS before I saw the movie and although I appreciated the whole making-a-dress-from-curtains thing, it wasn’t nearly as good as I’d hoped.
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
I don’t remember much about the plot of this anymore, but I remember loving the book when I was younger. And I’m sure it has helped shape my current obsession with Lost and all it’s time-travel loops. Time for a re-read on this one as well.
- Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
I jumped on the HP train kinda late. I refused to read them when they first became popular simply because they were popular. Then I took a trip to visit my grandma. Was reading the books and had the first 3 in paperback by the bed in the spare room. I couldn’t sleep and didn’t have anything to read, so I opened up the first one and was immediately enchanted. I made it almost halfway through the first book that night and she let me borrow the other ones. The next day was September 11, 2001. During the days that followed, I watched the news like everyone else, but I’d spend my nights reading about Harry and Hogwarts. Perfect escapism.
- Lamb by Christopher Moore
I love Christopher Moore’s books. The first one I read was about the grim reaper. This one is a fictionalized story of Biff, Jesus’s best friend. It’s funny (and not quite as sacriligious as it sounds). Moore’s books are great vacation/easy reads.
- Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, and Lyn Vincent
This book was given to me as a gift and even though the gift-giver described it as “kind of spiritual” I read it anyway. (I don’t usually go for “spiritual,” but I almost always feel obligated to read things people give me.) I’m so glad I did. It’s the story of a homeless man and an upper-crust art dealer who become friends. But, more importantly, it’s a story about love and sacrifice and just being a good person. I read the ending on a plane and couldn’t keep the tears from rolling down my face. I highly recommend it.
- Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
I’m not sure how or why I started reading Anne Rice. I’m not especially interested in vampires and I never was much of a “horror” reader, so maybe it was the Brad Pitt/Tom Cruise movie that encouraged me to read the book. I loved it! And I quickly devoured more of the books in the Vampire Chronicles series. They are MUCH better than that *other* vampire series.
- The Family Nobody Wanted by Helen Doss
This was my mom’s favorite book growing up. We had an old, tattered hardcover copy at our house, the kind with the cloth cover (you know… it wasn’t slick and shiny like hardcovers are today.) I remember picking it up because I needed something to read, but I have NO CLUE how old I was. It’s the story of a couple who adopt a bunch of “unadoptable” kids– racially and ethnically diverse kids who “nobody wanted.” Another for the re-read list as I wonder how well it would hold up today.
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Like just about every kid I know, my first introduction to poetry was through Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic, but the book that actually sticks with me is The Giving Tree. My aunt Linda gave me this story about a boy and his unusual relationship with a tree when I was fairly young, and that book has followed me to college, to internships, to various apartments/houses, and now it has a place on my bookshelf at work. It’s cheesy and sentimental, but–at it’s heart– has a good message of friendship and of, well, giving.
- Scruples by Judith Kranz
This is by far the most random book on the list. I remember buying a box of books at a garage sale when I was in 7th or 8th grade. My cousin and I “shared” the box and sifted through it to find something to read. We landed on this story of a woman who does something in the fashion business. I’m not a huge fan of romance novels, but I REALLY liked this one. We both read the book and would take turns looking for the “good parts.” This may have been a precursor to my short-lived fascination with Jackie Collins!
So, there you have it: 15 books in 15 mins (although it took considerably longer to write this post!). Quick– can you think of 15 books that have stuck with you over the years??
And, yes, I plan on reading Jane Austen now. You’ve all convinced me!! :)