I hated reading assignments growing up. Reading felt like such a chore, and I thought I had a problem with comprehension. I had this idea that I should be able to recite material verbatim after reading it once, so I always ended up frustrated. During summer breaks, my mom would assign "homework" to keep our brains active. I always put off the reading. We weren't allowed to play outside until our homework was done, so my sister would read articles or chapters for me, tell me what happened, and then I would recite it to my mom. So sneaky! My sister even included this little story of teamwork in her Matron of Honor toast at my wedding!
It wasn't until high school that I enjoyed reading for school, and then I started picking up books for leisure reading. I used to read one or two books per month, and now it pains me to admit that it hasn't happened in years. Sometimes I worry that my brain will turn to Gak. (Raise your hand if you remember the original Gak in 1992!) I used to have a big problem with buying books faster than I could read them. My friend Cory and I were roommates in L.A., and she would "check out" books from my "library". Today I wanted to share some of my favorites growing up and what I have on my to-read list.
+ My Aunt Charlene and Uncle Fred gifted me with a gorgeous copy of Aesop's Fables for my birthday one year. The illustrations are stunning. I was so proud to pull it out of my backpack during D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) at school.
+ Bridge to Terabithia was one of the first "chapter books" I read. I saw a musical production of it in third grade and dreamed of being Leslie Burke -- fearless, athletic, creative, and a good friend.
+ My Sister's Keeper is so much better than the movie, as is always the case. I was disappointed that they changed the story for the film. How dare they. But I still cry every time I see it on TV.
+ The Time Traveler's Wife had me in tears. I read that sucker in one weekend and cried to the point of headache. Because my husband and I have an age gap, Claire's experience of her relationship over her lifetime somehow grasped my heart. I did enjoy the film, but there is only so much they can fit into two hours!
+ Wicked. Oh, Wicked, how I love thee. It's provocative, political, and raw. I think Gregory Maguire is a genius for creating this deeper view of Oz with such wit and adult understanding. If a film version ever makes it to the screen, I'd be really interested to see which direction they take with it. Until then, I'm just plain excited to see Oz: The Great and Powerful next year!
+ I really wanted to join the Peace Corps after college, but it didn't fit into my life when I wanted it to. My compromise was joining an AmeriCorps program. Through that program, I met one of my best friends, Caitlin. I learned about her love of the country Bhutan, and she recommended that I read Beyond the Sky and the Earth: A Journey into Bhutan. It was written by a Canadian woman who signed up for a two-year teaching contract in Bhutan that changed her life.
+ The Kind Diet is easily one of the most useful books I've ever read. It is a great source of information about plant-based diets. It's a must-read for everyone. I'm not out to change anyone's diet, but even meat-eaters should learn more about what's on their plates. Turning a blind eye never helped anyone.
+ I loved Freakonomics and Super Freakonomics. Whether I agreed with every theory or not is beside the point. The books forced me to see events and situations from a different perspective which was really fascinating.
+ I only own two "self help" books: If This Is Love... (pictured above) and a parenting book called Queen Bees and Wannabes which was the basis of the movie Mean Girls. I always end up looking at self help books at bookstores but never buy them. I've never thought of myself as needing relationship advice, but I'm so glad the book was given to me by the author six years ago. It's a great (and quick) read, whether you're single, dating, married, or divorced.
A handful of the books on my to-read list:
The Power of One
All five novels in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series
Life of Pi
A Million Little Pieces
Have you read any of these books? Thoughts? What else do you recommend I add to my reading list?