Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Good Reads

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?


Katie said...

You've given me some great books to add to my reading list! I especially need to get my hands on The Kind Diet!

As for my favorites, I love anything by John Green, anything by Donald Miller, and Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist. But really I could go on listing books forever :)

Empirically Erin said...

Lol, GAK!!! Wow I haven't thought about that stuff in a long time! Looks like we have very similar taste in books! Thanks for the ideas! I've been meaning to read Outliers so I will definitely be looking for that one soon!

Jess said...

GAK! That stuff was awesome! And am I a total nerd since I love the idea that your Mom gave you summer homework?! Definitely doing that with my kids someday ;)

The Time Traveler's Wife...one of my favorites!
I really want to read that book that Mean Girls is based of of! I didn't even know there was one.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy sounds interesting...what's it about?


Kristin said...

Oh these all sound fabulous! Sadly, I seem to have become a "bits and pieces" reader these days. While I used to devour books by the bucketload, I am now more of a blog/article/magazine kind of girl. Just the season of life I suppose... Looks like you've got some great books on your to-read list! Happy Tuesday Lindsay!

LAEP 4100 said...

Life of Pi was totally amazing & I love Outliers. I had trouble getting into Hitchhikers Guide so ??? High five for the Gak reference!

Bre said...

Have you signed up for Goodreads.com? You can rate the books you have read and they can give you recommendations. I love reading and have been flying through books since I got my kindle for Christmas in 2010. I still can't stay out of Half Price Books though.
I really liked Life of Pi. It starts off slowly but really picks up. And it will be a movie very soon, so you might want to read it before they change everything up.

Kate said...

I love looking at what other people are reading! I've read several books by Adriana Trigiani lately... she's my mom's favorite author, and I'm really enjoying them!

Whitney said...

Wait, wait... that says "Scott Kudia." You didn't even mention that in your post!!!

Jenn said...

First - I used to think I should remember every word I read after reading a book too. I mean, unrealistic.

Second - Gak, oh you were so fun!

Third - You should read anything by Augustine Burroughs, especially if you like A Million Little Pieces.

Emily H. said...

My Sister's Keeper is what got me into reading. It was the summer after my first year of college, and I had to fill the 12 hour drive to Austin. Loved it so much. The Time Traveler's Wife was the second book I read, and I loved that one also. They both had my bawling by the end. Loved them! Still love reading anything by Jodi Picoult

jessi bridges said...

What a great mix of genres!! I didn't start reading for pleasure until late in college. I just never took the time to find books I was interested in and I hated every book I had to read for school. Now I can't stop reading. There are too many to name on my to-read list. Do you have a goodreads acount? I LOVE that site. It's such a great way to keep track of what you've read, your reviews of books, your list to read, etc.

Lins @ Country Roots City Living said...

I LOVE to read. I got into reading about five years ago or so. My husband got tired of turning off the light when he came to bed because I fell asleep reading! HA HA so he finally got me a kindle. I love to upload free books and get so involved in a book! :)

Mish Lovin' Life said...

LOVE My Sister's Keeper....so so good...and yes, very disappointed they changed the movie! :(

Gesci said...

I liked Life of Pi. and you know my feelings on HGttG.
Hmm... I stray towards historical fiction, and Margaret George is amazing in that genre. The Outlander series is a go-to every year or so for me. I read a lot of classics, though. The Giver is one of my all-time favorites, and Lolita is hands-down my favorite overall. Walt Whitman's poetry. OH! Anne Rivers Siddons. Anything, everything. Best are... Outer Banks, Hill Towns, Peachtree Road... The Colony was not my fave, but I prefer her Southern-set novels.
Lamb, the Gospel According to Bif... by Christopher Moore is hilarious and eye-opening in a great way, as to how religion is viewed and received today. But mostly hilarious. You won't realize the thought-provoking part until it's over.
The Bloggess' book, Let's Just Pretend This Never Happened.
Both of the Fug Girls' books, Spoiled and Messy.
Moby Duck is really, really good non-fiction.
Need more? ;)

Allie @ Between Dreams said...

I read and loved Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson.... I actually wrote a review about it on my blog awhile back! I would definitely recommend it. :)

Mae said...

Love all of your choices! I want to read some of those too. I'm reading The Middle Place right now and loving it. One of my all-time favorite memoirs is "A Girl Named Zippy" and the follow-up, "She Finally Got Off the Couch" by Haven Kimmel. You should add those to your list :) Fast reads!

Nadine said...

We have such similar taste in books! The Time Travelers Wife was definitely one of my favorites. I just finished reading a book called The Lost Wife about a couple that gets married right as the Nazi's take over Eastern Europe. It was a truly incredible book; a lot of history but also a really fantastic love story. Thanks for sharing some of your faves!

tara said...

i loved a million little pieces. read it years ago and now i'm definitely thinking about re-reading it! i have about 60 books on my to-read list on goodreads!

Emily @ Emmy June said...

Ummm yeah....
just another reason why we're BBFF's.
I love Douglas Adams, Life of Pi, and A Million Little Pieces. So good :)
I've heard a lot about Outliers, and will definitely read it one of these days. I believe in data, but I also believe in creating your own reality...so it should be interesting!

Artista said...

I prefer self help/non fiction over fiction. I just read Mindy Kaling book "is everyone hanging withou me" and Tina Feys "Bossy Pants" quick fun reads!


Rachel said...

Oh, Bridge to Terabithia, I haven't thought of that one for a long time! It was one of my favorite books when I was growing up, though. Such a sweet and heartbreaking story. I cried when I saw the movie, too.

Devon said...

Gak! And DEAR! (I actually just raised my hand) Gotta love the 90s. The story about your childhood homework is too funny. I too fell more in love with reading as I grew older. I was actually sort of a slow reader at the start, so it made me resent reading. Now, I'm in love with it and I feel it really helps my writing.

I just finished Secret Life of Bees and Dominique moceanu's autobio (quick read, crazy life story about gymnastics, suing her parents and discovering a secret sister). We're on our road trip so I've had plenty of time to read! Both were great for different reasons.

I have Outliers on my next list too.

Thanks for sharing this. I live to see what people love to read.

Martina // Spunkyrella said...

I LOVED The Time Traveller´s wife, I even recorded the movie the other day but still I couldn´t get myself to watch it so far..... I mean I love the book so much that I am afraid if the movie sucks, I won´t like the book anymore :-/ weird I know :)