As a former English major, it’s no surprise that I’m kind of obsessed with books. And, I mean actual physical books — you know, the kind that you open and are full of pages? I completely understand that Kindles and other tablet readers help save space, paper, and perhaps even time (no running to the bookstore), but, as long as we’re admitting things, I’ll be the first to raise my hand and confess that being practical isn’t exactly my strong suit. Plus, I’m a big fan of bookstores and libraries.
But, we’re not here to admit shortcomings. We’re here to talk books.
For National Book Lover’s Day (celebrated this August 9), I’ve compiled a list of four books that changed my life.
- “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss . While this sing-songy story may have become the mantra for all graduating seniors, it held a dear place in my heart long before I put on my cap and gown and long after. “Bang-ups and hang-ups” can happen at any point in your life, and I love Seuss’s reminder that for every slump you may get into, you can also “un-slump” yourself, too.
- “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. Yet another book intended for children that I still read to this day. I think the one thing I’ve grown to appreciate more over time is its simple story — a tale of selflessness, loyalty, and true friendship — paired with the equally as simple drawings.
- “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret” by Judy Blume . Intended for a more mature crowd than the work of Seuss and Silverstein, I read this Blume classic circa fifth-grade, right before entering middle-school. Blume’s young adult novels always hit upon blush-worthy topics, but still simultaneously maintain a certain innocence. Last year, I had the pleasure of seeing Blume talk about her body of work, and I was struck by one thing most audience members brought up: her ability to make them feel like someone understood them at a time where they felt so, so misunderstood.
- “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien. “The Things They Carried” is technically a grouping of essays about the Vietnam War (and the only novel meant for “adults” that tops my list), but it’s so much more: it’s about the act of storytelling, the urge to write, and the hazy line between fact and fiction. Anyone I meet who also claims to love reading is pretty much immediately handed a copy of this book whether they ever plan on flipping through its pages — it’s that important to me.
Please, share your own lists in our comments or on the BOP Facebook page. If there’s one thing a fellow book-lover enjoys more than the act of reading a book, it’s talking to people about the books they’re passionate about!
xo ~ Cassie