Over on my personal blog, I’ve been working on a series of posts called “Books I Love.” It’s a cataloguing of the books that survive all my bookshelf purges, that I return to again and again, that have impacted me in one way or another.
1. Evening Class, Maeve Binchy. I already mentioned this when I wrote about my favorite fictional place, but it bears repeating. This book was my companion during one of the hardest times in my life, and in many ways, I credit its hope and humor for keeping me alive.
2. The Stand, Stephen King. If you’re put off by King’s reputation as a horror novelist, read this one. More than anything, it’s an amazing journey novel, and a beautiful love letter to America.
3. The Lords of Discipline, Pat Conroy. Conroy is most famous for The Prince of Tides, which is an amazing book, but this one holds a special place in my heart. Pat Conroy pushed me, in my quarter-life crisis, into following my heart and becoming a teacher and a writer.
4. The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton. Written when she was 16, and worth every bit of its enduring reputation. I could read this book again and again. Oh, wait, I do.
5. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell. This is one of the very few books where I saw the movie before I read the book, and am not disappointed. It’s complex, and frustrating, and troubling, and an absolutely glorious read. It’s my go-to book whenever I visit Atlanta.
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee. God bless the teacher who introduced me to this book. There are three scenes that never fail to make me cry: when Atticus kills the rabid dog, when Reverend Sykes says, “Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passing,” and when Scout talks to Mr. Cunningham outside the jail. My stars, what a book.
How’d I do? Do any of the books on my list make yours, too?