Thursday, November 25, 2010

Books I'm Thankful For

In the United States, today is Thanksgiving. This afternoon my family and I are celebrating by going under the overpass and down the interstate to Grandmother's house (that is, my kids' grandmother, aka my mom). Another twenty-five or so members of the family will be joining us, and we'll be eating a traditional Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, rolls, salads, vegetables, and pies and other desserts.

Beginning tomorrow, I'll start dieting (just kidding!) while I am Thankfully Reading for a few days.

For today, I'm going to borrow an idea from Suey and list some books that I am thankful for.

  • B is for Betsy by Carolyn Haywood. This is the first book I remember loving. As I recall it, I was in the second grade and home sick, lying in my parents' bed, when my mother brought me a book she'd picked up at the library. First published in 1939, B is for Betsy is still in print. I loved the entire Betsy series - and that likely helped form my love of book series today.

  • Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Gift from the Sea is one of the few books that I have read over and over. This classic non-fiction book was given to me by my mother after I had graduated from college and taken a job in another state. The issues Lindbergh explores are just as pertinent to women today as they were when it was first published in 1955. My copy is filled with highlighting and notes.

  • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Reading The Happiness Project this year has been a truly life-changing experience for me. I've been thinking about happiness for several years, and this book has provided me with a perfect way to more seriously consider what I can do to be more happy. As Gretchen Rubin says, "Each person's happiness project will be unique, but it's the rare person who can't benefit from starting one." I'll be working on my own happiness project for years to come!

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I first read this classic as a senior in high school, and I re-read it this year for its fiftieth anniversary. I was afraid that I wouldn't love it as much this time as I remembered loving it then - but I think that, with some life experience, it was even better this time! I credit To Kill a Mockingbird with helping solidify my strong sense of social justice.

  • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. I first read - and fell in love with - this celebration of nonconformity when it was required reading for my older daughter's middle school language arts class. I want to be Stargirl when I grow up! I also think that Stargirl introduced me to the concept that I could enjoy young adult novels - a genre that has become a favorite.

I'm also thankful for all-time favorites such as The Princess Bride, The Joy Luck Club, A Simple Plan, The Giver, The Hiding Place, Small Change: The Secret Life of Penny Burford, The Doomsday Book, and The Secret Life of Bees, books which have changed me or my view of the world in some way and which also illustrate my eclectic taste.

Finally, I'm thankful for The Chosen, Dinner at Homesick Restaurant, Midwives, The Bean Trees, and My Sister's Keeper, books which introduced me to the work of their respective authors, who became favorites of mine.

Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. I should make a list like that, too - great idea! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  2. Sometimes I am under the impression I am "well-read", but then I look at your blog...

  3. Florinda: I'd love to see your list! Happy Thanksgiving to you!

    Jody: So many books, so little time! :) I hope you're having a good Thanksgiving weekend!

  4. Those are all wonderful books! I've been wanting to read The Happiness Project.

  5. I want to be Stargirl too!!! I read it two years ago because a student of mine said how great it was. Yeah, I finished that thing in one setting. I haven't read <3 Stargirl yet but I want too!

    Happy Thankfully Reading :)

  6. Wow! What a great list! To Kill a Mockingbird is a favorite of mine as well. I read it in high school. I reread it in college & got even more out of it.

  7. Great list of books. I was afraid if I named more than one I would have never been able to stop.

  8. I love Stargirl! What a great main character the boy (I forget his name) is. They are both so sweet and good. Thanks for sharing your list!

  9. I love B Is For Betsy! I also read it for the first time when I was sick!

  10. What wonderful books! We're going to town with this challenge!

    Jennifer @ The Literate Housewife Review

  11. Mandy: I highly recommend The Happiness Project! It's the kind of book that you can read a little at a time.

    Christina: I enjoyed Love, Stargirl - but not as much as the original.

    Jenn: TKMB really is a book that can "grow" with the reader!

    Beth: So hard to stop at one!

    Mrs. DeRaps: He's Leo - and I <3 him too. :)

    Susan: You may be the first person I've meet who knew who I was talking about when I talked about Betsy!

    Pam: Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Jennifer: It's fun to think about books and their influence on us!

  13. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is one of my favorites as well. It is one of the books I reread regularly. I use to teach it in my high school English class and it was consistently one of my students' favorites as well.

  14. There really are too many to choose from to pick just one.

  15. Oh I loved loved LOOOVED Stargirl! What a great book. I've heard great things about The Happiness Project. I really need to check it out. Great list!

  16. I just read To Kill a Mockingbird this year and enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. Awesome book!

  17. Wow, so many books on your list that are new to me, I can't wait to go check them out! Thank you!!

  18. To Kill a Mockingbird is on my favorites list, as is Stargirl. I love them both

  19. Of your main list, I've only read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I actually read it for the first time a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it.

    I also like your play on "To Grandmother's house We Go" (don't know if that's the actual name of the song) in the intro. It made me smile.

  20. It was really hard for me not to make a list because I too, have so many books that are special to me. Both my kids have now read To Kill A Mockingbird. I'm glad I was there to discuss it with them because it took some time for them to understand why this is a classic.

  21. Jen: TKMB is must-reading!

    Leslie: No way to pick just one! :)

    I read books: I highly recommend The Happiness Project!

    Deseree: I'm glad that you liked it!

    Alison: You're welcome! And I like your name. :)

    Jenna: You've got good taste! :)

    iubookgirl: Thanks for noticing my play on the words of the song! :)

    Charlie: TKMB is a great book for discussion.