Tuesday, November 21, 2017

10 Books I'm Thankful For

Every once in a while, I like to jump in and join The Broke and the Bookish family for Top Ten Tuesday (these are the same friends that do #TBTBSanta in December!). It's an opportunity for book bloggers around the Internet to talk about the same thing once a week. It's a fun way to connect and also to talk books with you Read.Write.Repeat. readers. Please jump in with your additions to my Top Ten list!

10 Books I'm Thankful For

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I know that's a controversial stance, but I'm holding to it. I love Christmas, but there just seems to be more stress around that holiday. Thanksgiving is much more relaxing. Although, I'm likely making the full meal this year again, so maybe relaxing isn't the right word. I enjoy the challenge, though, so don't take that as a complaint. 

I also just love the emphasis on gratitude. I believe strongly that increased gratitude in our lives leads to increased joy. While we should be practicing gratitude year round, it's nice to have a calendar catalyst, a time to purposefully contemplate the blessings and privileges we have. 

Among a litany of other blessings, I'm very thankful for books and the role they play in my life. There are so many people around the world who will never have access to the information and adventures that I do through literature. The ability to read and unlimited access to books are privileges so easy to take for granted. Also, I can't write this post and not acknowledge how incredibly thankful I am for family and teachers who encouraged me to read voraciously and made sure I had plenty of material to work with. 

I love this week's Top Ten Tuesday challenge because I've never really thought through what specific books I'm thankful for. This was a fun exercise! This certainly isn't an exhaustive list, but here are some books for which I'm especially thankful, in no particular order. 

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) - I read this classic for the first time in middle school. Then again my sophomore year. Then about five times since. Every time it resonates with me in a new, deeper way. I'll never get tired of it or stop learning from it. 
  2. Searching for Sunday (Rachel Held Evans) -I don't think I've ever felt so connected to an author's words. It's like Rachel Held Evans was writing my own story. It came to me at just the right time and reassured me that, despite its flaws, I still want to be a part of the church. I've recommended and given copies away of this book more than any other in my life. I also quote it in basically every single conversation I have with people about my faith. I'm really looking forward to meeting Evans at a conference I'm attending this spring!
  3. Half the Sky (Nicolas D. Kristoff & Sheryl WuDunn) - This book opened my eyes. Everyone should have to read it. Once you see the reality of gender inequity around the globe, you can't not see it. 
  4. The Harry Potter series (J. K. Rowling) - Even though I didn't read this whole series until my freshman year at college, it has shaped me so much. Rowling raised a generation with the ideal that good is worth fighting for, even when it's hard or dangerous. She gave us characters of depth and conviction. Plus, these books are so fun to read. 
  5. Strangers in Their Own Land (Arlie Russell Hochschild) - It's no secret that I have really struggled since last year's election. I've read a lot of books trying to better understand how we got to this point in our country. None were more informative or helpful than this one. 
  6. Ella Enchanted (Gail Carson Levine) and Dealing with Dragons (Patrcia C. Wrede) - I know this is two, but I adored both of these books as a child and I'm thankful for them for the same reasons. They not only spurred my imagination, but they offered heroines who were bold, compassionate, tough, and independent. Having strong, female roles models in literature from a young age really shaped me.
  7. Being Mortal (Atal Gawande) - As we being to prepare for the reality of aging parents, this book really helped me think through what I want for our parents, what I want in my own old age, and what action steps should be taken (now and later) to achieve those things. I'm on a mission to get Kevin (and hopefully the rest of my family) to read it, too.
  8. The Hunger Games series (Suzanne Collins) - Not only do I love this series for a wide range of reasons, but I wrote my masters thesis about the symbolism of food in it. So, I have Suzanne Collins to thank, in part, for my successful completion of my masters program. 
  9. Quiet (Susan Cain) - This book really helped me become self-aware in regards to my personality and emotional needs. It was like one giant validation that my introversion is not odd or in need of changing, but a quality to be celebrated in its own right. 
  10. The Bible - A cliché answer, perhaps, but a true one. I never cease to be amazed at the depth, wisdom, and practicality of this book. There is always something new to be found and applied within its pages. 
That's my list! What books are you feeling thankful for lately? 

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