Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. My whole family gets together in person. There are ~35 of us. We laugh and eat and drink and play games and just generally appreciate being together. And at the Thanksgiving dinner table, we all go around and tell everyone what we are thankful for. Last year, that’s when David proposed to me. He was thankful for ME. Mind-blown. I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about what I am thankful for. Books, reading, and my bookish friends are definitely high on that list. That just makes this TTT even better.
As Ottavia and I have been preparing for our #ThanksgivingReadathon, what I am thankful for has been top of mind. It’s been wonderful spending time considering what I am thankful for. For this Top Ten Tuesday, I want to think about the books which brought me to where I am today. They might not all be great works of literature, but each of these books shaped me into the reader I am today. I certainly wouldn’t be there without them.
All titles below are links to the book’s Goodreads page.
Top 10 Books I Am Thankful For
The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce
This Quartet of books helped 12-year-old Jackie realize that it’s not only okay to pursue your dreams, but being a woman should NEVER be a barrier to those dreams. I could, and can, do whatever I damn well please regardless of sex, age, or gender. Because, dammit, I can. These are not the books I wanted as a child, but are the books I needed. And I am soooo thankful I found them.
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
When I first learned to read, like many bibliophiles, I learned through memorization. The first book I memorized was Goodnight Moon. Not only did I memorize it, but I carried it with me everywhere and “read” the story to anyone who would listen. At my Mom’s work, at Preschool, at play dates– you name it. This is when we learned I had the bug for reading. Who knows if Goodnight Moon truly gave it to me, but I am thankful it showed me the way to reading and talking about reading.
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
While I cannot say that Harry Potter taught me to read, as the first book was published in 1997 (I was in middle school), it is the series of books which kept my family together. My parents read amazing picture books to us as children, but when we grew out of those books we grew out of family reading time. Enter: Harry Potter. I am thankful this series of books brought family reading time back into my life. When the final book came out, my family ordered 3 copies for the 5 of us. My siblings and I didn’t sleep that night to finish reading them. Then we passed off the books to our parents, who followed suit. The family who reads together stays together.
What’s A Soulmate by Lindsey Ouimet
A newer book in my repertoire, Ouimet’s magical realism YA romance novel helped me realize that sometimes you just need a feel good book. Prior to reading What’s a Soulmate, I judged myself and what I was reading more frequently. Now, I know that it’s okay to read what I want to and what makes me happy. I am thankful this book taught me that valuable lesson – read to be happy, not because someone told you to.
My Review: What’s A Soulmate?
The Ancient One by T.A. Barron
Honestly, if it wasn’t for this TTT, I would not have remembered this novel. I read this in 1993 for my Enriched Placement Program for English (Yup, I was in smart kid English when I was 8). This was when I realized I could get lost completely in reading without even noticing. I was supposed to read three chapters one weekend— I binge read the whole book. Thank you, T.A. Barron, for teaching me I loved reading and exploring new worlds.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
In 2014 I had never heard of Magical Realism as a genre. But, I thought to myself, maybe I wanted to join a book club. It turns out, the book the library-focused book club (West Side Stories – as we’re on the West side; funny, hmmm?!), was reading The Night Circus. Reading this book at this moment in my life helped me realize so much. I am thankful The Night Circus entered my life at this time to help me understand I LOVE magical realism and I needed a venue to discuss books with others. Honestly, this book might be the reason I even blog in the first place….
Star Wars: X-Wing by Michael A Stackpole and Aaron Allston
I read every Star Wars (now Legend) novel published before and during my Middle School career. Seriously. Every Single. One. 115 novels which are still in my house. Seriously. Anyway, these books made me passionate about the written word in a way I couldn’t express. The total 9 books I read were published between 1996-1999. They are described as “Top Gun meet Star Wars”. I can’t even begin to describe how in love with these books I was. I am thankful for the X-Wing series books if only that they showed me I could read over 100 books in a year. It might have been 1998, but that was a life changer for me.
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
Now, when I said I read “all” the Star Wars Legends novels, I wasn’t kidding. It got to a point where my English teacher was so terrified I wouldn’t read anything else she honestly badgered me about it. As a middle schooler reading 2-6 books a week, this was mind-blowing. But she introduced me to The Killer Angels. We read this as a class and it opened my eyes to the REAL world of literature around me. I am thankful Shaara was able to capture the imagination and passion of this poor lost 8th grader.
The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss
My absolute favorite Dr. Seuss story! I am thankful this is in my life because it helped me understand that life doesn’t have to be serious all the time. Yes, I was that child. The one who was FAR TOO SERIOUS. O_o This is not the case now. I thank The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins entirely for this realization.
The Russian in the Attic by Marcey Goulder Forman
This book, The Russian in the Attic was published in 1988 and tells the tale of the son of the Russian consulate who does not want to return to Russia after living in the United States for 6 years. It’s 1988, can you blame him? Why am I thankful for this novel? This novel was written by my Mother. And the dedication in the book? To me. I’m thankful for this book because it instilled a passion for reading and the written word when I was just a tot. To this day, I regularly read this book.
This was a really fun Top Ten Tuesday. This prompt made me stop and think and appreciate where I’ve come from when it comes to reading. I am certainly thankful for many more books than just what you see here. But these are the books which really shaped me into the passionate and dedicated reader I am today. Most of these books showed up in my life right when I needed them. But that’s what makes reading magical. You never know what you’re going to find and how it will shape you forever.
So take a few minutes of your own and consider: What books are you thankful for? And perhaps, if you’ve missed them, add them to your #ThanksgivingReadathon TBR. We would love to have you join us as we make time for ourselves and our books over the Thanksgiving holiday.
What do you think?
- Did you participate in Top Ten Tuesday? Share your links below!
- Which books from this list have you read? What are your favorites?
- What book are you most thankful for? Why?
- Will you be participating in the #ThanksgivingReadaton? We’d love to have you!