Books impart knowledge. Knowledge is power.
Through books you can find sanctuary, thrill, suspense, understanding, pleasure, fun, adventure, humor, peace, love, consolation, inspiration, motivation, and many more elements of life.
As a kid I loved to read. Phonics, spelling, writing, and reading were my favorite subjects from elementary school to high school. In addition to the required texts for school, I signed books out from the library to read for pleasure. This was pre cell phone/computer/social media distractions, so I had lots of free time.
When I think back to some of the books I read in elementary school I notice an animal theme (Charlotte’s Web, Black Beauty, the Velveteen Rabbit), which is ironic because I am not a fan of furry creatures today. As I matured into a young adult reader I started choosing books that were filled with mystery and suspense, such as the Nancy Drew series. I also explored some of Stephen King’s thrillers, including Pet Cemetery and Cujo. However, this simply deepened my fear of dogs and cats.
Later in middle school I found myself wanting to read happier more realistic stories, so I made my way through all nine autobiographical books (Little House on the Prairie) by Laura Ingalls Wilder. But when I needed a break from the non-fiction anecdotes I would move on to books like Flowers in the Attic, Petals in the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, or Garden of Shadows (the Dollanganger Series).
In high school I had an English teacher named Mr. MacDonald who gave us some autonomy in his class. He allowed us to choose books from a suggested list and then form small reading groups to discuss them. He had a profound way of making connections to all of the novels we read and how to make some of those lessons applicable to our own lives. He enhanced my love for reading.
I took a four year hiatus from pleasure reading while in college because I had so much academic reading to do for my classes. Although there is one book I remember reading a few weeks before I started my student teaching assignment: My Posse Don’t Do Homework. It was about the trials and tribulations of a first year teacher in an inner city school. While some of the stories scared me then, in retrospect the book instilled some important lessons about how to establish a rapport with students. Sometimes caring about what goes on in their lives outside of the classroom walls is just as important, if not more, than the academic content I’m teaching.
After my first year of teaching I read Lies My Teacher Told Me, which really opened my eyes to some of the historical information that our antiquated text books had wrongly published. When I interviewed for my second teaching job I happened to have a copy of this book in my bag when the interviewer asked what book I was currently reading. I was able to use examples from this book as a connection to some lessons I had taught in World History.
I have read hundreds of books in my life and am currently participating in two books clubs.
The following is a list of some of my favorite books (in no particular order):
- 1,000 Splendid Suns
- Tiny Beautiful Things
- 19 Minutes
- The Autobiogrpahy of Steve Jobs
- Eat, Pray, Love
- Savage Inequalities
- How to Yoga
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
- The Last Lecture
- The Help
- Shit My Dad Said
- My Sister’s Keeper
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
- American Sniper
- Firefly Lane
- Gone Girl
- Girls on the Train
- I am Malala
- The Miseducation of Cameron Post
- The Glass Castle
- The Fault in Our Stars
- The Open Adoption
- The Smartest Kids in the World
- Orange is the New Black
- The Husbands Secret
- The Good Girl
- Running for My Life
- They Poured Fire on Us
- Magic Strings of Frankie Presto
- The Things They Carried
I am not one of those people who has to finish a book that I started. If a book doesn’t capture me right away, I tend to put it down. This is a list of books I started and never finished:
- Harry Potter
- The Hunger Games
- Boys on the Boat
- And the Mountains Echoed
- The Shack
What is your favorite book?!?!