It’s Thanksgiving today in the United States. In honor of the holiday, we thought we’d share the books that we are most thankful for — the books that have in some way inspired us.
I know it is cliche, but Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is the first book that I am most thankful for. It was the first full-length novel that I read as a child. Carroll’s words fueled my imagination. I felt as though this specific book unlocked something in my mind. It gave me permission to dream. Whatever boundaries that were being placed on my imagination by culture and society as I matured, I ignored. My imagination is my most prized possession and I am proud to say that as of today, in my 30’s, it is still brilliantly limitless.
Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood is another book that I am thankful for as it taught me about letting go and finding where I am happiest. Elaine Risley was the first character that forced me to reflect on my life. Her story was one that resonated with my soul. Just like Elaine, I also have a background in Biology, but I chose my passion and career to be in the arts. When I read this book, I was struggling to let go of experiences from the past. It was this very book that showed me how to let all of that pain and sadness go. Also during this first reading (and as a sophomore in university), I was wrestling with the decision whether to continue with my goal to become a Marine Biologist or to change my career to a Technical & Creative writer track. Cat’s Eye was the force that compelled me to choose writing.
A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle was probably the most important book of my childhood. I read it around the time a horse I loved died, and in a lot of ways it helped me learn how to cope with loss. Though I read a ton of books as a kid/young adult, this is the one I always remember. I think every young person (and adult) should read it at least once.
A lot of people are surprised by this one, but Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell is one of my favorite books of all time. No one can forget the brutal, stubborn, selfish Scarlett O’Hara. I don’t know if admitting this is a good thing, but she was one of the first characters I truly could relate to. She’s a survivor. Weaknesses and strengths aside, I understood her.
I’m going to buck the trend and eschew all that sentimental crap my colleagues are spewing. What books am I most grateful for? Good question. To be perfectly honest with you, I’ll read just about anything, but I have a very special place on my shelves for Terry Pratchett. The wit and surreal perspective, not to mention the sheer genius of the Discworld, have always spoken to me and keep me coming back for more. If I had to pick one book out of the canon which really stands out, I’d have to say Mort.
Another book and author to which I owe a lot in terms of inspiration is American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I’ve grown up on myths and legends but this was the first time I’d ever seen deities in the modern world. The fantastical and yet everyday themes which colour Neil Gaiman’s tales started me down the path
to insanity which I am currently hurtling down head-first.
Which books are you thankful for? Let us know in the comments!