Monday, November 8, 2010

Fabulous 15: Books That Changed My Life

I will try and do a weekly segment of 15 things I love, whether they be albums, stories, movies, etc. This week I chose to do books (inspiration credited to my lovely sister, Megan)
There are about 100 other books I could have added to this list, but these were the first to reach my brain. Enjoy!

15 Books That Changed My Life (In No Specific Order)

1. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
My first memory of this book is from Kindergarten, when my dad read it aloud to me. He did all the voices. This book is not just a book, it's a childhood memory that got me hooked on all things fantasy. "In a hole, in the ground..."
2. Self-Reliance (and other essays) by Ralph Waldo Emerson
You all saw this one coming. This essay helped me get through some tough things in my life. I don't know that I need to say anything else about it except; if you haven't read it, do.
3. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Because I am a quintessential girl, who loves a story with a great (and believable) heroine. Austen is a classic.
4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Although this story is a bit redundant, the message is sweet and simple. I read this little gem after high school and I consider it a small contribution to a lot of growing up.
5. Harry Potter 1-7 by JK Rowling
I wish I could write a book about how much I love these stories. I was 11 when these books came out, and pretty sure I was going to get a letter of acceptance to Hogwarts right along with Harry. It seems silly to say, but the characters in this book were my friends. I grew up with them (Hermione is even a fellow Virgo!). Each and every one deserves a spot on my list but I'll put them all here. Magical, whimsical, dark, uplifting, I love the definitive line between good and evil represented here. Cheers to the boy who lived!
6. The Bible
Although I don't attend church or even know my thoughts on God as a whole, I think it would be silly to leave this one out. It was a big part of my childhood, a HUGE part of the culture I grew up in, and whether I believe it all or not it at least got me thinking.
7. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
This is the definition of feminine indulgence. Plath's writing is rich and sorrowful, and it's easy to get sucked in. Her life story, played out by Esther Greenwood. Beautiful, haunting. Love.
8. The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Where to even begin. This is one of the most magical stories I've ever read. I love everything about it. Set in Berkeley, California (go figure) and all about Egypt, this book is definitely one that changed my life. I give this book full credit to all my Archaeological aspirations.
9. Oh, The Places You'll Go! by Dr Seuss
Do I even need to say anything about this? Dr Seuss is a classic for all kids. It's passed through so many generations of kids, from my parents to my 4-year-old nephew. Dr Seuss was a genius.
10. 1984 & Animal Farm by George Orwell
There are a few other stories I could put into this one- Anthem by Ayn Rand and the Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. It pushes my buttons and gets me thinking. I read Animal Farm first, which was a great prelude to 1984. It haunted me for a long time afterwards.
11. Love Poems by Pablo Neruda
Beautiful, pure, simple, and sensual. I have a copy of this book with both the Spanish version and the translation, and both are amazing to read.
12. The Constellations by HA Ray
Same author as the Curious George books, this funny little book made stargazing with my dad so much fun. I have the happiest memories reading this book with my dad alongside his telescope under a gorgeous starry sky. I've seen the rings of saturn. I've seen meteors so close the blue flame left an imprint that stayed in the atmosphere for seconds afterward. I've seen the northern lights in my own backyard. I'm a lucky girl.
13. Meet Kirsten by Janet Beeler Shaw
This American Girl book is how I got my name, a sweet collection of stories, and a pretty little blonde haired, blue eyed doll. A Tenney girl favorite.
14. The Sleeping Beauty by Mercer Mayer
Gorgeous illustrations! This version of the story is beautiful and elaborate, and every little girl's dream fairy tale.
15. Jake by Judy Ceccherini
I'm not sure if my mom ever finished writing her story about a young girl named Jake, but this story definitely inspired me to write my own. My mom is an incredibly talented writer and poet and has written many beautiful, beautiful things.

So what are some books that have changed YOUR life?


  1. Ms. Kiersten,
    I think your blog is absolutely splendid.
    Thanks for sharing.
    -Andrea Hatchlette

  2. Of course I love your book list...we definitely grew up in the same household! So many of the books you chose were books that I read and loved too. One of these days we ought to get together and do our own "book club" and compare some of our favorites. :)

  3. In La Mesa there was a children's book store that I loved to go in. ("Yellow Book Road") There were so many books! The choices were difficult because there was so little money, but I would take a few dollars of grocery money to purchase books that I thought we'd all enjoy reading and so we managed to build a little library of children's books. Both your dad and I really enjoyed reading to you and your sisters. I cannot impress on you how precious those books were in terms of the very few resources that we had when you were little. Of course by the time you arrived, there were more than what we had started out with. Is it possible that the preciousness of the dollars spent somehow translated into the love that you have for these books? I think so! And also because we all loved the lap time of cuddling, reading and sharing I think you realized what a gift it was. I am so glad that you love to read. You are adventurous in your selections and I am glad to see that you have so many favorites. The Sleeping Beauty was a gift to Kelly and Megan from the Hall family. Megan and Kelly both got pneumonia at the same time and RaLee brought the book over as a gift. She was also in financial difficulties and so I think it was a sacrifice for them to buy it. But it was given in love and that is so wonderful isn't it?