Friday, December 16, 2011

You are What you Read

Is this a true statement?  Are you what you read, or does what you read reflect who you are?  Do you become what you read?  How does reading truly affect you?  Is it simply a form of entertainment or is it a way to express yourself?  Interesting concept… and it could be debated ad nauseum. 

I know that I read for enjoyment.  I cannot imagine not reading.  I think if anyone wanted to devise a form of torture for me, it would be to take away my books.  But I cannot tell you exactly why I like reading.  It’s a way to quiet the noise, a way to focus on something else, and a way to visit different times and places.  I am not one of those readers that seek out thought-provoking books all of the time, I simply enjoy reading (though thought-provoking occasionally is nice).  It is not an escape for me, because I have no need to escape from anything.  (Though, if we go back to that torture thing, I think reading would help me to escape…)  That’s it, I enjoy it!
I enjoy the character building and the journey that characters take.  I enjoy what other people have imagined and put down on paper.  It’s nice to learn a little bit on how others perceive human nature or to see the past come alive in my mind.

Meg on Write Meg just showcased an article on Scholastic’s “One Million Bookprints for One Million Books,” where it will donate books to its outreach program.  The website is You areWhat You Read.  It asks people to create a book print of five books that have meant something to them: “A list of books that leave an indelible mark on our lives, shaping who we are and who we become.” The challenge is to come up with five books that define who you are today, because of reading them, not necessarily your five favorite books.

It took me a while to come up with these five, as I wanted to search for books that had some meaning to me, not just that I really enjoyed reading them.  The five that I have chosen have stood out in my memory (which is pretty amazing if you really know me… what did I have for breakfast yesterday?) from so long ago.  They are all books that I would highly recommend to EVEYRONE!  These books have either come at an appropriate time in my life and/or have fueled my love of reading.

My Bookprint did not turn out as I would have wanted it.  No matter the order that I added them, this is how is came out, I believe based on popularity of the book.  However, here is my order:

     1.      Persuasion by Jane Austen.  This is my all-time favorite book and has shaped the reader I am today.  Because of Jane Austen, I expect to have well-drawn characters with witty dialogue and good manners.  Out of all of Jane Austen’s books, this is my favorite; it may be due to the fact that it is a story at second chance at love, or could be the fact that it is the most mature of her novels, being the last one written.  I love how Anne Elliot had been persuaded all of her life to do what others wanted her to do, and then she decided to do what she wanted to do…go after Captain Wentworth and let him know that she still cared for him, after all these year!
     2.      Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach.  This book started a relationship with Richard Bach that both my husband and I share.  But I had loved this book a long time before my dear husband came on to the scene…though I knew it was truly true love when he mentioned that Illusions by Richard Bach was one of his favorites.  This story of a bird who was told he couldn’t, DID!  He was different.  I have been proud to be known as different than most other people!
     3.      The Once and Future King by T.H. White.  This was a required read in Freshman English, and opened the world of fantasy and the majesty of King Arthur and his world.  From high school through college, I could not get enough of the world of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (yes, even Monty Python and the Holy Grail, too!).  Right versus Might… ALWAYS!
     4.      A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.  Being a young girl myself, living in a small town in Oregon, this book resonated with my growing pains.  I feel that all girls (and boys) should read this as it is a rather poignant story of a young girl being moved from the suburbs to Brooklyn, and the only living ‘thing’ is the tree outside of her window!
     5.      The Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  This series started me on truly reading.  Sure, I read Nancy Drew and all sorts of Dr. Seuss and Friends books, but The Little House with the snow outside the window piling up, and playing ‘ball’ with a pig bladder has stayed with me.  I didn’t know you could be so transported to another place as when I read these books.

     What's Your Bookprint? What does reading mean to you and how does it affect your life?
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