To many people, a book is just a book. To us, a book has the power to change a life, a perspective, a bad day into a good one, a regular moment into an extraordinary one. A book has the power to transport you to another place, another person’s life, another time. In the spirit of thankfulness, we would like to highlight the books that we are most thankful for.
I wouldn’t be doing my list justice if I didn’t mention Harry Potter. I first picked up Harry Potter from my local library in 1999. I was almost ten and actually believed that my American Hogwarts letter would come in the next year. After finishing the first book, I immediately ran out (just kidding—my mom drove me) to the library to pick up the Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban. By the time I’d finished, my entire family was hooked on the book. My first midnight release party at Barnes and Noble was for the Chamber of Secrets—that’s right—my mom let me stay up past midnight.
As a homeschooled kid who lived in the country, friends were sparse. Books, on the other hand, were numerous, and my only rule at the library was that if I couldn’t physically carry the stack, I had to put some back. I grew very strong for such a nerdy child. Harry Potter was the first real series that I became an obsessive fangirl with, and I continue to hold that status today.
This book gave me the travel bug, and a love of learning about other cultures. I read this during my sophomore year of college; I was in an Eastern Civilizations class, and this was an assigned reading. I read it in a week. It was truly the first nonfiction book I read that I really, really felt a connection to. It made me want to join the Peace Corps for several years before I decided against it. I haven’t re-read it since that class, but I think I ought to.
I read Life As We Knew It for a Teen’s Choice Award committee I was involved in for the library (because I wasn’t nerdy enough in high school, being on yearbook, newspaper, and showing chickens in 4-H). It’s about a girl who is trying to survive with her family when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth, creating disaster and devastation all over the globe. It made me realize how unprepared we all would be in that situation, and that we need to stop taking our way of life for granted.
I know I sound like a broken record here, but seriously. THESE BOOKS. I feel like before I (finally) read Poison Study, I was kind of at a stagnant place with reading. I would read all of these books and while I liked them, I wouldn’t get as sucked in as I remember getting when I was younger and I couldn’t figure out why. Reading this series has completely changed that and renewed my hope in books, renewed that hunger for reading that I’ve always had and that had somehow dwindled over the past years. So thankful Lauren recommended the series, and so thankful that I finally started reading it.
I can’t NOT put this book on here. I read it and recognized the similarities between Kate & Tully’s lives and mine & my best friend’s and immediately made her read it. We’ve both read it numerous times since then and it’s just as good the 2nd and 3rd times as it is the 1st.
We moved around a lot when I was growing up, and I remember before I made any friends in my newest neighborhood, I would spend all of my free time reading these books. I even made my mom buy me all of them because the library closest to our house always had an insane wait list for them. HP and all of this friends (and foes) got me through starting new schools, making new friends, and dealing with the angsty teenage feels that we all go through. As I got older, the series became a way to bond with my younger brother and brought us closer than we ever would have been without them. Hogwarts and Harry, every character and every setting, JK Rowling herself… they’re all lifesavers and I will forever be grateful for it all.