Top Ten Tuesdays: Top 10 Books I’m Thankful For

November 21, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the theme is: Top 10 Books I’m Thankful For

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.

My reviews: Alanna: The First Adventure In the Hand of the Goddess  |  The Woman Who Rides Like a Man

 

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!

23 Comments

  • Books, Vertigo and Tea November 21, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Maybe I should have included the Night Circus in my list. It was my first solid intro to good MR <3 I normally avoid romance at all costs but am hopping over to look at Soulmate? You never know 😉

    • Jackie B November 23, 2017 at 10:17 am

      What’s a Soulmate is a creative look at magical realism in a contemporary romance setting. It’s YA, so it might not be your cup of tea completely– but it was just the right thing for me when I needed something heartwarming, light, and fluffy.

      • Books, Vertigo and Tea November 30, 2017 at 3:37 pm

        I am interested and did add it, but I am going through another slump with YA at the moment. I am not sure why I keep doing this. I think my tastes are just evolving.

        • Jackie B December 4, 2017 at 9:06 am

          Haha. I totally understand. It’s hard when your tastes are changing to find the right book to pick up, too. I am finding the same thing is happening to me. All the books I’ve read lately feel like two-star reviews. O_o

  • Trang (Bookidote) November 22, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    MY JOY OF SEEING HARRY POTTER AND THE NIGHT CIRCUS IN HERE! <3 Great one!

    • Jackie B November 23, 2017 at 11:01 am

      Thank you!!! These books all bring my joy, so it makes me super happy that these books bring joy to other people as well. 😀

      Thanks for stopping by, Trang!

  • Dani @ Perspective of a Writer November 23, 2017 at 11:53 am

    WOW! WOW! Wow! Jackie this is the post I would have wanted to write for this topic… alas I’m just not a past person and could only think of books I read this year but seriously I LOVED that your family had family reading time! So did mine! In fact later my mom would read adult books like Shanahra and tell us what happened as a sort of story time… it caused one of my brothers to read adult fantasy VERY young… and I think we ALL have a love of story because of it. GAH AND SO CUTE you were proposed to at Thanksgiving dinner?! What a memory that makes… And The Night Circus is definitely going on my reading list for 2018…

    • Dani @ Perspective of a Writer November 23, 2017 at 11:59 am

      It took out my cute emojis! There was a mind blown emoji after seriously (totally ruined that!) and a cries one after this year… and a heart eyes after the memory line!

      • Dani @ Perspective of a Writer November 23, 2017 at 12:02 pm

        Oh! And I forgot to say HOW ROCKIN is that mom of yours! That is TOO COOL that she wrote a book and dedicated it to you!! *heart and star eyes* why Russia? Did she know Russians or just loved doing that research? Or what?!

        • Jackie B November 28, 2017 at 9:09 am

          I’ve found a lot of TTT lately haven’t appealed to me, or I have just stared blankly at the prompt presented. So, I can definitely relate! This one really spoke to me, however. Inspiration is a fickle muse.

          Yes! He proposed at Thanksgiving! It took a lot of guts to do that. My family is an intense and overwhelming bunch. I totally embarrassed myself because I wasn’t expecting it. I just kept saying “What?” over and over again. O_o

          Ugh! Stupid WordPress stealing your emojis. They are there in spirit. That’s what matters. 😉

          The Russian in the Attic is a MG novel about the son of the Russian Counsul who runs away the day before his father returns to the USSR. He hides in a car and ends up going to a farm house with a Jewish girl who hides him while he figures out who he is and what it means to grow up in America but be Russian in the early 80s.

          Why Russian? Well, this was the end of the Cold War. She wanted to explore the US/USSR relationship in a way children would understand. Plus, her grandparents spoke Russian fluently, so she had a lot of knowledge about what was happening “in the Homeland”. It’s a fun story, honestly.

          Your comments fill me with so much joy. I’m so glad that we found each other, Dani. 🙂

  • Annemieke November 23, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    The Night Circus is great. And I’ve heard a lot about Tamora Pierce but have never read anything by her.

    • Jackie B November 28, 2017 at 9:15 am

      I’m so glad you also enjoy The Night Circus! It’s definitely my favorite novel. Re-reading it last week just reinforced that for me. 😀

      Tamora Pierce writes MG/YA feminist fantasy. It’s so empowering to read about a woman who wants to become a Knight and how she breaks down walls for future women who want to become knights. If you like fantasy and you want to feel empowered, I’d definitely recommend her works. Start with Alanna: The First Adventure. It’s a terrible title, but it’s a great introduction to Pierce’s writing.

  • theorangutanlibrarian November 23, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Aww that’s so sweet about the proposal! I love this list!! And I loved Tamora Pierce growing up too (still do love it to be honest 😉 ) Aww I feel like a lot of people have stories about how HP was significant to them, but yours is definitely the sweetest 😀 I also really loved Goodnight Moon and Night Circus (that’s a pair of books I never thought I’d put in the same sentence 😉 ) Awesome post!

    • Jackie B November 29, 2017 at 4:52 pm

      Thank you so much!! I haven’t read all of Pierce’s works yet, but I cannot wait to. I recently re-read The Song of the Lioness and it’s just as fun as I remember.

      Haha– You’re right, very few people would ever mention Goodnight Moon and The Night Circus in the same sentence. But you have the honor of doing so! Huzzah!

      • theorangutanlibrarian November 29, 2017 at 5:45 pm

        You’re welcome! Ah neither have I- so I still have plenty to look forward to too 😀

        hehe yes!! LOL! (also nice use of huzzah! 😉 What an underused word!)

  • Hungry Bookworm November 23, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    I love the thoughtfulness you put into this list too! I was particularly touched by the first and last books you included – everyone young girl needs a book that makes them realize they can (and should try to) accomplish whatever they want to! I hadn’t heard of this series before, but I’m glad it’s on my radar now 🙂 So sweet that your mom’s book had such a big impact on you – and of course it did! Wonderful that you still read it regularly and that you had a literary mother to instill that love in you at a young age (I had a mom who did the same for me; thankful for it everyday).

    And of course… Harry Potter. It’s on my list too. (Probably on a lot of lists this week.) I love that your reasoning was that it brought back family reading for you. I can’t wait to share it with my (eventual) children someday.

    Also just wanted to say that I’m thankful to have been in touch with you over the last couple of days, Jackie! I’ve been enjoying what I’ve read of your blog, and I’m loving the social interactions because of the Thanksgiving Readathon. 🙂 Yay for bringing book bloggers together – really appreciate that you and Ottavia put it together!

    • Jackie B November 30, 2017 at 5:54 pm

      If you like fantasy, you should DEFINITELY read Tamora Pierce’s literature. Start with The Song of the Lioness, but the other series are also wonderful. If you enjoy this, keep going for sure! I hope to read another Pierce series next year– my goal is to eventually read all her published works. But there are 86 distinct works according to Goodreads, so that might take a hot second.

      Yay for literary families! My mom’s writing was an influence on me for sure. I used to think I wanted to be an author too– but now I see how challenging it is… I’ll stick with blogging. XD

      I am thankful to have been in touch with you! The holidays are super chaotic for me, so my commenting and blog hopping will be limited going into the new year. That said, I hope this is the start of a great blogging relationship! Food and books?! I’m so there. Your recipes look amazing! Thanks for participating in the readathon, too. It’s so much more fun when there are other people to chat with.

  • iloveheartlandx November 24, 2017 at 6:44 am

    Harry Potter was on my list this week too!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2017/11/18/house-of-ash-review-e-arc/

  • Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity December 3, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    I kind of wish I had read the Lioness books when I was younger (although I suppose I could read them now!) because I see so many people talking about how much of an influence they had on them as both a reader and a person. I think they must be pretty special books for them to be talked about so often in such an important way!

    I haven’t really thought about what books I am particularly thankful for… I know that I am thankful for the very first book I read by myself when I was five – it was about a frog jumping, haha! And I am thankful for the Phantom Stallion books by Terri Farley, and the Heartland books by Lauren Brooke. Both of those series spoke to the horse and animal lover in me, and made the fact I couldn’t have a horse myself a little more bearable. I am in general thankful for YA for all the wonderful books it has given me – far too many to list, that is for sure!!

    • Jackie B December 8, 2017 at 5:26 pm

      Tamora Pierce’s books are wonderful! I hope you have a chance to read them some day, Chiara! I really love how empowering they are. Even as an adult I can appreciate them. I hope to read one of the series I missed growing up, Immortals, in 2018. They are just such fun adventure stories!

      That’s a great list of books you’re thankful for! The first book we bibliophiles read is always so important, isn’t it? I definitely have a soft spot for some wonderful picture books due to the same feelings I had as a child. I’ve never heard of the Phantom Stallion or Heartland books– but now they are definitely on my TBR. I wasn’t into horses as a child. Due to this, I missed quite a bit of great literature. I only read Black Beauty last year!

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