Books That Shaped My Life

I’m going through the process of finding reviewers for my book and a big part of me wishes I could turn my profession into being a book-blogger.  I envy those people who get to read the newest and (sometimes) best written, unknown books.

Side note: There’s a lot of erotica out there.

Side note to the side note: Where do they get the models for those covers? Is there a burgeoning stock photo industry of scantily clad men and women?

Anyways, back to the stated purpose of this post per the title:  Books that transformed my life.

  1. The Matt Christopher series: I really got into these books in third grade.  So much so that I began trying to write my own books (Hair, hair everywhere probably won’t publish anytime soon). His books had the action that my grade school mind craved, and I could slip into a fantasy world where I was called upon to hit the game winning home-run while also bridging the hostility between two communities. I, of course, laugh now at the idea, but it was what I needed developmentally, and it was the spark for my love of reading.
  2. The Horatio Hornblower series: as I became a raging, awkward tween, one who was ostracized by his peers, I found an escape into a world of swashbuckling, danger, and romance.  There was also mention of breasts, which to me at that time was like watching an episode of an HBO series.  Back to the story though, the rise of Hornblower up to admiral through varies sea battles again held me captive and helped me batten down the hatches (oy vey, sorry for the figurative language).
  3. Great Expectations– Charles Dickens:  I both disparaged and paid homage to this wonderful author in my book Reading Blue Devils. It’s not an easy book to get through, especially for reluctant readers.  But since I was/am a voracious reader, since I was a freshman at an all-boy school when I read it, since my family was more middle-class than most all of my peers’ upper-class families, I found a wonderful commiseration in the story as I followed Pip being elevated into a new social stratus while dealing with lust.  I did not have a mysterious benefactor.  Nor was I concerned about a murderer.  But still.
  4. The Souls of Black Folks-WEB Dubois.  Simply put, my bubble needed bursting.  The idea of double-consciousness rocked my world.  And while I could related to feelings of torn identities and not belonging, I had no idea what it was like for a hyphen American, whether they be African-American, Latino-American, Chinese-American, etc.  Furthermore, I realized I will never fully understand, and I need to listen to their stories before beginning to enter into dialogue about race and society.
  5. White Teeth -Zadie Smith.   It was just a cool story, and it seemed like all of my literature courses had a post-colonial bent.  This one trickled into the religious realm in addition to analyzing how interracial relationships fail (and possibly succeed).
  6. I realize I need more representation of women and other ethnicities in my library.  Short stories and poetry by people like Marquez, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Chopin, Baldwin, Team Bronte, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and others have moved me and affected me. Maybe even subconsciously: my daughter’s name is Charlotte *sigh* heart melts at thought of her.

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