On this first Friday of August (AUGUST!) Ginger at GReadsBooks has asked:
Which books have affected you on a personal level and lingered in your mind long after you closed the pages?
Well. You see. I'm the kind of person who really delves into books. Meaning, I have a tendency to over-involve myself with the characters. I get so involved that I feel like I KNOW them, and, sometimes, I find myself adopting their attitudes and/or speech patterns. I know. It's weird. But I never said I was normal.
But, what this all means is that there are a lot of characters or entire books that have really resonated with me while I was reading. But the ones that have STAYED with me? They're a whole different breed.
1. Mansfield Park—Jane Austen
As much as I love Pride and Prejudice, it was Mansfield Park that really made me an Austenite. It's in this book that Austen's grasp on not only gentility and society shine, but her knowledge of politics and social commentary comes through as well. I guess it can be argued that all of her works have an element of politics in them, but this one REALLY does. And it's the one I point Austen critics to when they admit they've never read it. And Fanny Price is an incredible heroine—strong and smart and steady, even when she doesn't feel like she is. In fact, when people ask the always fun hypothetical question "If you could be a literary character, who would you be?" I often say Fanny Price. <3
2. Georgia Nicholson series—Louise Rennison
This series shows up on basically every list I make, but it's because it means so much to me. If you've read the books, then you're probably thinking, "Bethany . . . what?" And I know. These books are goofy and silly and so stylized in dialogue that some people may be put off by them. But you know what? I lurve them to the point that I have incorporated a lot of the words Georgia uses into my everyday vocabulary. (e.g., Mariachi-a-go-go. I only refer to Mariachi music as Mariachi-a-go-go music now.) Anyway. I just have a really special place in my heart for these books about a super goofy British girl. I started reading these when I was still in high school, a place where I was really confused about who I was as a person, and Georgia was the first character to make my super goofy ass feel as if it's ok to be super goofy. So, BIG HUGS for Georgia and the hilarious Ms. Louise Rennison.
3. If I Stay and Where She Went—Gayle Forman
These two books, man. They are intense. And though I only read them for the first time earlier this year, probably everyone I know has heard me talk about these books. When people come to me for book recommendations, these two ALWAYS come up, no matter the age/gender/interests of the person who is asking. They are just incredible. The story is arresting and the writing is so vivid that it's hard to not get personally involved in these books and completely swept up in the story of Adam and Mia.
4. Harry Potter—J.K. Rowling
I'd be remiss not to add these to this list. I'm not gonna say much, because other people before me have waxed poetic about these books in much more sophisticated ways than I ever could. But. Well. Y'all know. These books are just special. They leave a mark (ha!) on everyone who reads them and Ms. Rowling deserves every damn royalty penny.
5. Looking for Alaska—John Green
This is another book that shows up on almost every stinkin' list I make about books, but really, this one is important to me. My sister introduced me to the Green brothers' vlogs back in . . . Lord, 2008. From then on, I've been hooked. But, when I realized John is an author, I dashed out to get Looking for Alaska. I had no idea it was a YA novel. I had no idea what it was about. I just knew that I found John to be a very intriguing, funny, intelligent man and that I wanted to read his book. It did not disappoint me. In fact, I think I'll credit Looking for Alaska as the book that got me back into reading YA. I was so impressed with the style and tone he uses in his writing that I was like, "I have GOT to start reading YA again, if this is what YA books are like now." And thus began my reintroduction to the YA genre. And now I have a this here bloggy blog.