Sorry, but this week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic, Characters That Embody Your Hogwarts House, went nowhere for me! So, here’s my alternate topic. Books That Crashed on Me Like A Tidal Wave!
First, thank you to blogger The Book Satchel for writing the original post with this title. It was very inspiring and I decided when I read it that I would put together my own list. So, please, click on her link and read her blog, too, as a thank you!
These are the FIRST FIVE that crashed on me–you could call these the “coming-of-age” years five.
GWTW is my all-time favorite book. It was one of the books I took to Peace Corps. I re-read my favorite parts annually. Yes, there are things in it, like the degrading dialect that the slave-characters were written with that are offensive today, and I do not like that. But the story of Scarlett and Rhett is the classic American romance. Gone With the Wind.
I read Journey and was mesmerized by it. I gave a couple of copies of it away. It led me to Nicholas and Alexandra. Without what happened in Journey (no spoilers!) Nicholas and Alexandra, the classic telling of the last Romanov Tzar and the wife and family he loved, would never have been written. N & A is the book that helped me decide to specialize not in my first love, British history, or my second love, the Civil War, but in Russian and Soviet history. When I first read Journey I devoured it. I got passes out of class and sat in the library and drank it in. Around this time I also enjoyed the Nicola Pagett version of Anna Karenina on PBS and read that book. I plowed on to Nicholas and Alexandra. I’d already read a good deal about the British royal family so it was a logical next step. I’ve watched the movie, but found it dull. By contrast I’ve re-read both of these books several times. From Journey I learned that doing hard things is often the best escape from times of real trial. Nicholas and Alexandra is one of the books I wish I’d written.
One of my first assigned readings at Indiana University in September 1980 was this book–Stop Time. It was in a literature and writing course focusing on self-discovery. This book helped me know I had made the right choice in going to college–even if I made a mess of much of it. This book was so real I could smell the dog crap in that pen he cleaned. But it was the way he kept going, the way he “made it” that stuck with me. Stop Time by Frank Conroy.
The only “all-nighter” I pulled during my slacker-college student years was to read this book. It absolutely took my breath away. I was reading it just as I was learning the history of that very time. Later, when the movie Reds came out, I both liked and disliked it. Overall I thought the movie captured the spirit of the book well. Today, 30+ years later, I can still remember the almost feverish state I was in reading this book.
10 Days That Shook the World, by John Reed.
What books would you say have crashed on you? Leave me a comment.
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