Today I was thinking about the letter “o.” I was thinking how the shape of it resembles the shape that your mouth makes when producing it. Then all of a sudden, I got a flashback to a description of October Sky, which I read four years ago.
The description that came up is actually one that I think about a lot–it’s at the part where Homer and his friends are trying to get railroad scraps to sell for money. While doing this, Homer’s wrist gets badly injured, and he describes being able to see the round “o” of his vein which has been severed.
So I decided to make a list of books that stay with me. They may or may not be my favorite books. I may have rated them 5 stars or 4 stars or less. Regardless, they have impacted me in some way. They are the ones that I remember, and will continue to remember.
In no particular order…
It took me three tries to actually get through this book, which I finally did early this year. It’s unlike anything else I’ve read, both because it’s about the Vietnam war and because you can’t really fit it into a literary genre. It’s not quite a novel, but it’s not quite a collection of short stories; it’s also not quite fiction, but not quite non-fiction.
Upon finishing the book, I wrote in my journal, “you applaud Tim O’Brien for writing truth in a way that you will always strive for and for writing a story you know you never could. You are intrigued by this naturalistic, pessimistic view on life in writing and would like to experiment with it in the future.”
Honestly, this book broke my heart. But it needed to break my heart. It wasn’t painful to be painful–it was painful because that’s how life is. My words can’t do it justice. Just go read it.
I first read this book in high school. We went to my grandma’s for Thanksgiving every year, out in the middle of no where. I brought this book with me, which I had been trying to get through for a month. I read the last 1/3 of it on the carpet in her storage room and cried until there was nothing left.
You will never read another book like this one. You will never feel language the way this book paints it. You will never find characters that are more dear, more desperate, more destined. You will never see Death so clearly and uniquely portrayed. You will never cherish the art of storytelling as much as you will after experiencing this book. This story demands to be told. This story lives on after the last page. This story will never be forgotten.
Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
I read Sorcerer’s Stone for the first time in 4th grade. I was nine years old. Up until that point, I had most been reading The Babysitter’s Club and other books of little substance. I wasn’t a reader until I met this series. It literally changed me. I continued reading the books throughout middle school. I waited in line at midnight when Deathly Hallows came out in 2007. I reread them all again in high school. And I just finished reading Sorcerer’s Stone again, because I’m in the midst of all kinds of change and just finished Divergent and my school work is too much to focus additional time and energy on another new thing. But I can always go back to Harry Potter. Any time, any age, any circumstance. It’s enjoyable, it’s heartbreaking, it’s well-written, it’s easy to get through. It’s the story of my generation. I grew up with the characters, like childhood friends. It’s one thing that will always remain constant in my life.
other notable works:
*please note that although I love reading, I’m a rather slow reader and have not read as many books as I should. Just because a book isn’t on this list doesn’t mean I don’t like it; it probably just means I haven’t gotten to it yet.