My Book ListWritten by Glynis Neves
I am a reader. It's my favorite thing to do. I can lose myself in a book faster than anything, and ignore the world around me while I read. My favorite places are book stores and libraries. Sometimes I like to just browse, to see what titles grab my attention. That's what happened a couple of weeks ago. I was in the library and grabbed a book because the title spoke to me. The book was The End Of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. I was intrigued. I guessed that this book would contain a "bucket list" of books that one ought to read before the end of one's life. I couldn't have been more wrong.
In actuality, the book recounts a "club" the author and his mother start as she waits for chemotherapy to treat her pancreatic cancer. What followed was an amazing journey for a son, as he re-discovered his mother. The simple question, "What are you reading?", led to the discovery that the books his mother read shaped who she became. And at the end of her life, she was a kind, intelligent, faith-filled woman. Some of these things he already knew, but the books she chose to read in the last months of her life, showed him a side of his mother that ulitmately surprised him.
It got me thinking: what do the books I read say about me? I read a lot... seriously... A LOT! I am regularly in the middle of 3 to 5 books at a time. I stash them in different rooms in my house, so that I always have reading material at hand. My husband jokes that buying me a NOOK was a life saver, as he is no longer in danger of being crushed by the books that threaten to take over our home. My library card is one of my most prized possessions. As I tried to compile a list of books, that I felt defined me, I decided I had to narrow the field. Instead of all the books I've ever read, I focused on books that I read over and over. What do they say about me? Would I bequeath them to my children? What lessons have I learned from them, and what do I hope my children would learn from them?
Now, I present to you my top 5 book picks, and what I have learned from them:
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare - I know this is technically more than one story, but I'm counting it as one book. Through these works the best and worst of humanity is shown. How we react to these situations is what makes us sympathetic toward others. The human feelings and emotions and situations in these stories have not changed in over 400 years. Perhaps if we spend more time reading (or watching) these works, we can find a way to change the worst in ourselves.
The Poems of Emily Dickenson - These poems have taught me that it's okay to see the world in a different way. Beauty comes in many shapes, and what some may say is peculiar may have great significance to another.
Jane Eyre - A girl doesn't have to fit the "world's" definition of beauty in order to be the heroine of her own story. She also doesn't need a knight in shining armor to rescue her. Sometimes, she will do the rescuing.
Little Women - Family is the most important thing in the world. Friends and acquaintances will come and go, but family remains constant.
Gone With the Wind - The end does not always justify the means. Throughout the book, Scarlett makes choices to help her family, but each choice ulitmately hurts more than it helps.
I could add more books to this list, and I guess that's the point. What we read becomes a part of us, and that is what we leave to our children.
What books would be on your book list? What lessons do you hope your children find in them?
Stories have always been a big part of my life. I grew up in a very theatrical family, and learned the art of storytelling early on. I'm grateful to my parents for teaching me how to express myself through story. Now that I have 5 children of my own, I find that I use storytelling every day. I love it when my children say, "Tell me the story about..." or "Tell us about a time when..." These are the times when genuine connections occur, and in this day and age, we need all the connections we can get with our children.
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