Don't forget about my mega Holiday Giveaway where I'm giving away 13 FREE YA BOOKS, because I'm just overflowing with holiday cheer.
|Hosted by The Broke and Bookish|
I love the holiday season. The weather cools off (as much as it ever does here in Los Angeles), I get to wear my cute winter wardrobe, I get to bake unapologetically, and I always have more time for reading. And with the holiday season comes a whole bunch of warm, fuzzy nostalgia feels. So when I try to think of the books and authors I’m most thankful for, I automatically think back to the ones that tie back to my childhood or my family.
My previous Top Tens: Books I'd want on a Deserted Island, Worst Ways to End a Book, Literary Characters I Want to Marry
In no particular order:
1. Ella Enchanted
This is a book I devoured as an eight-year-old. I was an early reader. Like freakishly, everybody-thought-I-was-a-genius-until-they-realized-I-couldn't-count early. I read a lot of books as a kid, but this was one of the first I remember savoring. It sparked a lifelong love for fairy tales and big words. I learned that kids’ books should never be dumbed down, because kids are smart enough to figure out what words like chicanery mean (I learned that from Ella!).
2. Jane Austen
Yes, this choice is far from original. The vast majority of female bibliophiles are also Janeites (and if you aren’t OMG YOU’RE CRAZY WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU), but Jane Austen is probably the author who has affected my life the most. I know her books by heart. She inculcated in me an obsession for all things old and all things British.
|Old and British. Just my type.|
And even more, Jane is part of my bond with my mom. We’ve had our severe ups and downs over the years, but fangirling over Jane Austen is always something we can do together. We’ve watched almost every adaptation together, debating who’s the best Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth. Absolutely no question) or which has a better soundtrack, Sense and Sensibility or the BBC version of Emma. My middle name is Elizabeth because of Elizabeth Bennet, heroine of Pride and Prejudice.
So without Jane, I literally would have no middle name.
3. A Little Princess
When I was six I wanted to be named Sara, after Sara Crewe. She was the most magnificent fictional girl I’d ever met. Kind, wildly inventive, a captivating story-teller who perseveres through all the bad. She loved her father in the same way I loved mine. I carried this book around so often it shredded.
4. Tamora Pierce
I loved fantasy as a kid. I still do. Tamora Pierce’s Lioness Quartet was my first real obsession (besides another famous fantasy series I’ll get to later…). Not only was ass-kicking Alanna my hero, but when I was about ten or so I wrote my very first EPIC NOVEL (untitled) that was basically a direct rip-off of the first two Lioness books (my heroine was named Arianna and she fell in love with a dark-haired prince named Jonathan. That was how different the stories were). It still lives on my computer and will never see the light of day, but that was definitely the beginning of my dream of becoming an author.
Without getting too maudlin or too personal, I will just say this book spoke to me as a lonely teenage girl in a way few YA books I’d read ever did. It’s so powerful it’ll break your heart then stitch it back together so it’s stronger than ever. I’m so thankful for Laurie Halse Anderson for writing this book.
6. Meg Cabot
I’ve read nearly every single Meg Cabot. They’re shamelessly light, frothy, and funny. These books are proud of what they are and make no excuses. They always served to brighten up my dark days. They were the first hot pink YA covers I ever had proudly displayed on my shelves, looking oh so cute and girly sandwiched between the Harry Potters and the fat Dostoevsky my uncle gave me one Christmas.
7. Anguished English
If you are a firm defender of the sanctity of English and grammar, buy this book. It’s basically about the way people unintentionally murder language and how fun it is to point and laugh at them. I’m thankful for this book not just because it’s side-splittingly funny, but because of how many times I’ve bonded with friends and family over it. Many a time I’ve sat around a table with people reading excerpts, basically howling.
8. Jane Eyre
I read Jane Eyre the summer I turned fifteen. I was on vacation with my whole extended family and took to reading it under the dinner table (the height of rudeness in my mother’s eyes). Jane and I were literary SOUL MATES. She GOT me. She was girl power personified in a time period where that concept basically did not exist. I totally needed a role model like her when I was a teen girl who didn’t know how stay true to myself around distractingly distracting things like handsome teenage boys.
9. Dorothy Parker
|Look at that smirk. She knows something you don't (a lot of somethings, probably).|
Dorothy Parker is basically who I want to be when I grow up. Witty, sharp, and ballsy, she was sort of like America’s answer to Oscar Wilde- someone too pithy for her own good. My mom had a copy of The Portable Dorothy Parker that I have since stolen. It lives comfortably on my overcrowded bookshelf now. Whenever I need a jolt of brilliance (or need to sharpen my own tongue a bit) I read the part that basically just lists all the amazingly clever things she ever said, either as a reviewer, a poet, or as a member of the Algonquin Round Table. She was one of the first funny women, famous for her mind and her words.
10. J.K. Rowling
|I searched in vain for a photo with a halo.|
Yes. The big kahuna. So many reader-ly kids of my generation owe a huge debt to Rowling. I still remember the first time I saw a Harry Potter book.
I was in first grade. I came home from school to see an array of books laid out on my bed. My mom would always buy me them as presents because she is the awesome-est, then let me choose which one I wanted to start with. Being six years old, I didn’t read a lot of book reviews, so I’d never heard of this weird Sorceror’s Stone book. But it had a kid on a broomstick on it, so I figured that one would probably be fun. And the rest was history.
There’s not much more I can say about Harry Potter that hasn’t been said already. Not only does it personify the magical transportative power of really good fiction, not only did it teach me about things like good vs. evil, prejudice, and friendship, but through the years I learned there are actually people out there just as obsessed with these books as I am! There are people willing to talk about books ALL THE TIME! People who think about fictional people as if they’re real! And it isn’t just me!
Without J.K. Rowling and the amazing Potterheads, I probably never would have become a book blogger, and never would have known to find this awesome online community of book nerds.
Mostly, I am super-duper thankful for all you guys. I’m so glad I decided to join the world of book-blogging. I’ve met some amazing people out here in the wilds of the internet and it’s been so much fun! I hope you all have the very best Thanksgiving ever full of love, books, and pie. Lots and lots of pie.
Tell me: what’re you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Or at least tell me your favorite kind of pie. (There might even be some of you who don’t LIKE pie but this is too strange for me to envision and I won’t know what to say to you.)