Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Life in 10 Books

"When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your life does..." — Nora Ephron

Today's post is a lengthy one, but it was a lot of fun to write. Books can shape our feelings, personality, and ideas as much as any experience. Here are 10 books that have shaped my life from infancy to adulthood...

1. Madeline I can recite Madeline stories to this day, I love them so much. Madeline was the first strong female literary character in a book for me and I love her spirit and spunk. She’s not afraid of anything! Not to mention that she wears cute clothes and an adorable hat. I admire her strength, her spunk, and her wardrobe. Speaking French is a fabulous skill, too!

2. The Tale of Peter Rabbit One of my favorite stories! I didn’t understand why Peter’s mom gave him chamomile tea until I learned that it had calming qualities. The pediatrician recommended it for my minnies for colic when they were babies! The homeopathic teething remedies come from chamomile tea, so Peter’s mom certainly knew just how to soothe his aching tummy after his mishap in Mr. McGregor’s garden. To be honest, this book helped to keep me in line. I didn't want to wander off because I might find trouble like Peter did, only I was afraid of a mean woman with an even meaner dog who lived in the neighborhood. And, I know that Mothers always know the minnies learned this lesson quickly...Peter's mom knew what had happened without asking.

3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Probably one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. A beautiful story told through gorgeous visuals is pleasing to all ages. I've always been attracted to beautiful colors and fun details. My idea of many perfect picnic foods comes from this book. It makes me think of summer treats. It's also a feel good story about a beauty coming from within and change.

4. Harold and the Purple Crayon How cool is a little boy who can’t sleep and draws his own fantasy world!? I love Harold. Keeping the theme of Madeline that she can do anything, I love it that Harold is in charge of his own world. As an adult, it's often easy to blame others, work, stress, or other factors for problems we face in life. But I like to do what Harold did; I simply draw a new scene for myself...or some pretty scary monsters to eat the meanies!

5. Little House in the Big Woods Really, I loved the entire series. Life was difficult, but simple, and Laura truly enjoyed life. I loved her sense of adventure and it seemed like she was a good sister.

6. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. This book is a lifesaver to young women. My mother was wonderful and talked with me, but this book is a must-read for all pre-teen girls. I truly identified with the book characters. But just an FYI, the “We must” chants don’t work.

7. The Secret Garden A hidden garden full of treasures? A wonderful book about discovery and friendship for all ages.

8. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler After reading this book, I was convinced that if I ever decided to runaway, I’d make my way to New York to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art! I've always wanted to have a lot of excitement and adventure in my life. Books like these fuel my quest for travel and new experiences, perhaps with just a dose of mischief.

9. Gone With The Wind The romance of the novel and historical references put GWTW at the top of my list of favorites. The story has everything from good and bad, rich and poor, rivalries and friendships, to themes like war and history. Scarlett is a portrait of strength and beauty. I admire her inner strength even in difficult situations. She's not afraid to do anything and didn't hesitate to work in the fields or the hospital during a crisis.

10. The Prince You’ve probably know that I am a political science geek. History and politics have always fascinated me and run thick through my blood. Machiavelli’s work is a primer for life. Although the book was written as guide for success in politics, I’ve always believed that life is a game and that life is politics. Every playground, PTA, and board room has a political order. The easier we learn to play in that order, the more successful we will be. Some people think that word Machiavellian has a negative connotation, but I disagree. It’s better to know that lying, cheating, and alliances are a possibility in life than to be taken by surprise!

What books have influenced your life?




  1. fabulous booklist! A lot of those are my favorite childhood books. My teen favorites included Gone with the Wind, Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre.

  2. I love this post--books can be such an enriching part of our lives! And hmmm..when I was young I loved I Love You Forever; The BFG; Nancy Drew Books; in middle school I loved The Princess Diaries Series; high school there were SO many I loved--fun girlie books as well as books that were assigned for school. In the last year, Firefly Lane has been the most influential book I've read!

  3. I remember reading "Are you There God? It's me Margaret" when I was eleven years old, definitely a must! My friends and I just devoured it. :)

    Books that have inspired my life include: Pride and Prejudice, Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy (love all of her books), Chronicles of Narnia, Anne of Green Gables Series, the Harry Potter Series, and The Art of Racing in the Rain.

    Fun post. Have a lovely Sunday!

  4. I do believe I have read all on your list but "Harolf and the Purple Crayon." I agree that "Are You There God? It's
    Me Margaret" is a must read. I wish it would be updated a little, but very honest. And like you, my mother and I also talked openly.

    The book GWTW is fascinating. If you love the movie then it is a must read. So much was left out just to get what they did into a decent movie length.

    Great post!

  5. OMG! I agree with every book on your list, but one...Gone With the Wind...I didn't read it till much later in my life...but each of the others is a very important book to me...maybe I would add Paddington instead of GWTW? :)


  6. Loved all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. My fav was Little Town on the Prairie. That's where the budding romance between Laura and Almanzo began... Sigh...

  7. What a great list! I've read them all. I'm a kindergarten teacher and I love reading "Harold and the Purple Crayon" and "The V H C" to my classes. I give my kiddos a purple crayon and have them draw their favorite scene from "Harold." Then I take their dictations, type them up and glue them to their masterpieces. Afterward I bind them and put the book in our class library. Year in and year out, it's one of the kids favorite books.

  8. I was so excited, I forgot to check "email comments..." so I'm writing this in order to follow the thread. Sorry.



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