It’s International Literacy Day. So (with the help of September Writing Prompt #8), I’ve decided to share with you the top five books that changed my life.
1. The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham. I read this one in high school. And then again and again. I loved the idea of people who communicate telepathically, and that there was a world where they would be accepted. I think I might have been the only one who liked it though. I recommended it to many people and no one seemed as enthralled by it as I was.
2. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger. Also from high school. What I remember about this book is that it made me feel normal. As though I was somehow understood. I identified with Holden, for reasons I’m not now sure of. I should re-read it.
3. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles. Yet another high school selection. I don’t remember particularly liking it at the time, but I think it was because it scared me. I could see myself doing what Gene did, and that scared me. Another one I should read again. All these things I should read again while my stack of library books grows and my stack of borrowed books grows and my stack of bought books grows.
4. But the one on the right, by Dorothy Parker. You’ll have to look this one up. It’s not a book — more of an article or short story, and again I read it in school. Might have even been in grade 8 and it has stuck with me all this time. I remember laughing out loud at her stream of consciousness writing, and have loved that style of writing (both to read and write) ever since. Hence my love of things like Danny Drennan’s old Beverly Hills, 90210 weekly wrap ups. You should seriously read those. Anyway, I think I was the only one of my thirteen year old peers to find Dorothy’s story absolutely hilarious. Clearly, because I had a past life where I had to go to dull dinner parties in the 1920s.
5. This last one is difficult, because I read something like a couple of books a month, sometimes more and things have a way of getting lost in the shuffle, but I think I’ll go with Good in Bed, by Jennifer Weiner. Finally — a book written in the last 15 years you say! Cause it showed me that a bigger girl could be a perfectly acceptable — actually, scratch that — an awesome heroine. Pretty much love all of Jennifer’s books, but this one was particularly special for me.
There are many, many, many more, but these are the ones that stand out for me.