For all of us in America, today is Thanksgiving. For me, Thanksgiving is a good push to remind me to reflect upon all of the things in this world that I am thankful for. And, every year, I tell myself that it is vital to keep all of these things fresh in my mind on a daily basis. The older that I get, the easier it becomes to do this. So, today, I decided would be the perfect opportunity to make a list of all of the books and/or authors that I am most thankful for.
Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.
Lord knows how many entries in this blog are now completely dedicated to either one of them and/or their children, but, as we know, Sylvia Plath is my all-time favorite. Her signature is tattooed on my back. All of her writing – whether it be poetry, prose, or her journal – inspires me. She was the first writer that really got my jazzed about writing poetry and, if I’m ever in need of inspiration to write, I just pick up some of her work.
Ted Hughes writes differently than Plath, but thanks to my love of her, I was exposed to his work. And I love it. I won’t lie, I tend to prefer Birthday Letters to most of his other work, but all of his work is beautiful. And this blog is named after a line from one of his poems, after all.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
This was a ‘required reading’ novel my sophomore year in high school. The length looked daunting, but I started devouring it after getting into the first chapter. The setting is bleak and the characters are awful to each other, which could potentially make for an entirely dreary read. But, buried in all of this, there is a love and passion that just won’t cease to exist – no matter what.
As a teenage girl, yet to have a real boyfriend, I thought that the idea of having a Heathcliff in my life was absolutely DREAMY. However, now, as a 27 year-old woman, I can honestly say that he would be exhausting to deal with. Not to mention that in present-day, any sane woman would probably slap a restraining order on him as soon as possible, no matter how beautiful and dark he was.
In short, this is my kind of romance. I revisit this book as frequently as possible.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
This book will (hopefully) disturb you, but it’s just so beautifully written, you can’t put it down. Even translated, the prose writing by Nabokov is far more beautiful than the majority of poetry out there. I am thankful every day that I made the choice to pick up this book and give it a whirl. I would recommend this to everyone who loves and appreciates good literature.
Picture from Elle.com
Joyce Carol Oates
If I could meet any one person on the planet, I would easily – without hesitation – choose Joyce Carol Oates. From the first pages of Beasts (the first book that I ever read by her), I have been madly in love with her work. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I deeply admire her raw, honest writing and her ability to write her work so completely in the voice of her characters. In addition to being a prolific writer, intelligent, and cutting edge, Oates is hilarious and charming, while not taking any gruff (or crummy interview questions) from anyone.
No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July
I already wrote about Miranda July earlier this week, but let us recap, shall we? Miranda July, and all of work – specifically these stories – are refreshing. She’s inspiration. Her words bring me back to life, renew my hope, and get me really riled up to be alive. Thank you for that, Ms. July.
I am thankful for Virginia Woolf because, well, her writing is there to give me a good kick in the rear whenever I might be feeling a little too full of myself. All I need to do is read the first page of The Waves and it’s like she’s speaking to me – Megan, now, you’re really not as smart as you sometimes think you are! Silly Girl! It’s true. I own a fair number of her books, but have only successfully read two from beginning to end – To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway. Some day, though, I hope to read them all.
Paradise by Toni Morrison
Read any book by Toni Morrison and you will be floored. Her work is honest, raw, and powerful. Paradise was the first book by her that I picked up to read that wasn’t a required reading book for school. My praise for this novel is similar to my praise for Lolita – it’s poetic and beautiful. Every page left me stunned by her power over the english language and left me wanting more. Her work is a palpable reminder that there are still incredibly talented authors writing in the present-day.
The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson
Prior to reading these books, if you ever asked, I would have told you that I had absolutely zero interest in ever reading a series. Back to back books written by the same author, featuring the same characters, and, most likely, written in a similar style, didn’t sound like a good time to me. I’m all about variety. Right? Well, at the recommendation of a close friend, I gave these books a try. I immediately fell in love with Lisbeth Salander and the intricate tales that Larsson was the master at weaving. I am left wanting many, many more of these books.
I’m sure that after I post this, I am going to immediately think of a slew of other books and/or authors that I should have included. The above list covers the best of the best, however, in my heart. I am thankful to be literate and to have access to so many wonderful books – between Amazon, local bookstores, libraries, and my time studying literature in college, I am incredibly wealthy in this regard.
What books are you thankful for?