I’ve got this problem.
I can’t stop buying books. I’ll be blogging, or banking, or checking my email and suddenly, I’m on Amazon and my cart is full of books, my finger moments away from clicking, “complete order.” I won’t have any recollection of how I got there, but realize at the last second, I probably shouldn’t spend 143.99 on fifteen new additions to my library. Sigh. I leave the books in my virtual cart anyway. It makes me feel good to have them there. And then, when I really do need to buy something from Amazon, and I’m only seven dollars away from free super saver shipping, I can go grab a little piece of literary deliciousness and add it to my order, and feel totally justified in doing so. You know. For the free shipping.
So yeah. I love to read. I love to be surrounded by wonderful words so that I never, ever have a reason to be bored. Books make me happy on all kinds of levels. All kinds of books, fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, biographies. I love them. Have I said that already? I do. Most of all, I love books that leave me feeling like a better, more aware, more enriched person for having read them… books that make me see bigger. Does that make sense? Books that alter or improve my perspective, that provoke thoughtful evaluation of what I really think, and how I really feel. There are a lot of really wonderful books out there. But there are a handful that always stay with me, as my “See Bigger” books. (They don’t stay with me in the literal sense. I’m not SO much of a nerd that I carry stacks of books with me everywhere I go. Though I do often have one or two stashed somewhere close by.)
And now I’m going to tell you what those books are. Hope you don’t mind.
1. Man’s Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankl: Frankl survived life in a concentration camp, and then wrote this book, detailing his experiences and sharing his attempt to find meaning in an utterly meaningless existence. It’s brilliant. It’s inspiring. It’s strengthening.)
2. Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand: A complex study of human integrity and principle and the decisions we make to adhere to our personal standards of value, or not. It’s long, but a worthy read if you’re willing to endure.
3. Hawaii, by James Michener: Another long one, but oh, how glorious it is. This book taught me about people, and the importance of understanding where people come from and how our culture influences who and what we are. The entire book is full of richly diverse characters and as a bonus, closely adheres to an accurate and intriguing history of Hawaii. Learning something along the way is a bonus. 🙂 (thank you Aunt Linda. I treasure the copy you gave me. it will always be one of my favorites.)
4. The Bronze Bow, by Elizabeth George Speare: This one isn’t long. It’s an easy read that tells a beautiful story of the pure and healing power of love, and the sweetness of redemption. It made me cry. It made me happy. You should read it.
5. The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak: I’ve written about this one before. It will always be a favorite. It’s another World War II book, but it’s different in that it tells the story of a young German girl and her family and the pressures they faced living under the watchful eyes of the Nazi party. This book taught me to remember that the Holocaust victims were not the only victims of the war. And it’s a beautiful story of hope and love and a fiercely resilient human spirit.
6. My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult: This might be categorized as summer reading by some. It’s a fast paced story about a family dealing with illness and tragedy and the difficulties of having one daughter making tremendous sacrifices for the other. It is full of raw and ragged emotion with a surprise ending that might make you wet your pants. It’s intriguing, morally complex, and teaches a great lesson on perspective. I want to read it again just thinking about it.
Okay. my list isn’t done, but this post is getting eternally long. A few more of my favorites in list form…
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Emmuska, Orczy
The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd
100 Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marques
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, by Carson McCullers
What are your See Bigger books? Or maybe just your favorites? I’m looking to add a few more to my imaginary shopping cart on Amazon. 🙂