This is a new Facebook status meme.
A game for my book loving friends. In your status line, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don't take more than a few minutes and don't think too hard - they don't have to be "right" or "great" works, just the ones that have touched you. Tag 10 friends, including me, so I'll see your list.
These books are in no particular order of importance--just as they come to mind. Share one or more of yours in the comments! You don't have to list the explanations--I just included it because I wanted to explain what exactly stayed with me.
1. Little House on the Prairie series. I liked how Laura told Manley that she would never obey him, and how she didn't want those in the wedding vows. Thank goodness my husband pointed out that "obey" aren't even part of Catholic wedding vows, and he was fine with me being a disobedient wife. Being obedient would have been creepy, he said.
2. Harry Potter series. Once I got past the first few chapters, I fell deep into Harry-Potter-verse. It provided me with many, many hours of escape while growing up. I identified with the feeling of despair that accompanied the Dementors. I used a Patronus as an excuse to escape into my mind when taking in dad's rages. I wanted a Time-Turner and a Pensieve. And I appreciate Dumbledore teaching us that our choices matter far more than our abilities, and that after a traumatic event, it is better to talk it out than to bottle it up (at the end of Book 4.)
3. Matilda. I secretly wanted to develop magic powers like she did and have Miss Honey as a parent. And live in that grand old house like in the movie.
4. Lord of the Rings. "Three rings for the elven kings under the sky/ Seven for the dwarf lords in their halls of stone/ Nine for mortal men doomed to die/ One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne/ In the land of Mordor, where the shadows lie." 'Nuff said. Nerd.
5. Stop Walking on Eggshells. I was convinced there was something wrong with me when I was in high school/college. I read many, many self-help books about being a people-pleaser, learning to say no, codependency, and similar, but none of them fit into the "symptoms" or circumstances quite right. It was always scratching the surface of what the problem was, and I kept reading on. Then I stumbled across this book. Everything finally made sense, and it gave me the teensy push to start making changes to protect myself. In retrospect, my boundaries were about as porous as a sieve, but it felt so SCARY and huge at the time. And it set in motion a better life for me.
6. The Bible. I didn't really want to put it on the list, but whether or not you believe, the Bible has a huge, huge impact on everybody's life. I grew up with certain verses being taken out of context, like how kids and wives must obey their fathers/husbands. It seemed to be yet one more way dad held control over us. Yet, in some ways, some of the verses were comforting. I'm still quite ambivalent about it and hold it at a distance.
7. House Rules. I always had a hard time articulating why and the what of Dad's abuse, because on the surface it sounds innocent, and most people won't look past the surface. Rachel Sontag had a father who sounds much like mine, and she did a good job illustrating the insidious nature of control and emotional abuse. It helped me realize that it is possible to write about my experiences.
8. CIA's World Factbook. Okay, so one particularly bored summer I sat down and read the entire factbook, from beginning to end. My dad had bought it as a homeschool resource. I was so convinced that the United States was the best country in the world, but I did a thought experiment to find out what other countries would be good to live in. I don't remember them now, but there were several with better health rates, better health care, better education, better social services, etc. I was so shocked that the United States was not #1. , and I think it planted the seed over the years to encourage me to listen to others' stories and troubles in books, which led me to believe strongly in strong social services and public health care, which was but one stepping stone toward more moderate political and social beliefs.
9. St. Penelope's hagiography. I think it may have been in the Butler's Lives of Saints, but I read it years ago at the library, and one particular saint's story stayed with me. St. Penelope. It's not certain she ever existed and the story is pretty purely hagiography, but she stood up to her abusive father for her beliefs. I would think of it every time I felt caught between my parents and God. It gave me that little inkling that children don't always have to obey their parents. Although it was really awkward explaining to my dad why I wanted her to be my patron saint for confirmation--I ended up lying, "I don't know, Dad" and picked St. Elizabeth Ann instead--the same saint as my parish. Along with like 20 other girls.
10. 2001: A Space Odyssey (and sequels). When I had mono in middle school, my dad gave me a bunch of his old books to read because I was so bored, laid up in bed for 2 weeks. Among them included 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was so weird and freaky. You can't read it and not still be creeped out by thinking about it, even years and years later. Especially the dancing monkeys scene. And the "My God, it's full of stars." And the bit about diamonds in Jupiter.
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