When we received the rather lovely (and rather huge) 1000 Books To Read Before You Die by James Mustich, we began talking about our favorite books - and whether they were in this book. Carrie asked all of us to make a list of our ten favorite books of all time.
I know. Totally unreasonable.
Anyway, we all did it, because it’s Carrie, and we love her. We all moaned and huffed and puffed (some more than others, ahem) and pretty much agreed it was an impossible task. Beth writes about how she made her choices below:
“When Carrie asked for our top ten books, I initially overthought the task. However, once I began jotting down some titles that have influenced me, I realized that I easily could arrange them chronologically to represent different parts of my life.
As a shy and skinny child with jutting buck teeth, I was a precocious reader with books as my refuge. Stories such as Grimms Fairy Tales and Jane Eyre sparked my life-long love of fiction. My best friend and I trudged many times to and from the public library, lugging armfuls of titles each way.
In college I declared philosophy as my major, thrilled to be examining the writings of great thinkers, such as Plato’s Republic. I then worked for several years at The Art Institute of Chicago while enrolled in art classes, where I explored my creativity with The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. During that time I resided a few blocks away from an independent bookstore, where I purchased and was influenced by Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
My own kids are now young adults in college and graduate school, but I can’t remember being a parent of young sons without recalling the significance that the Harry Potter series played in our family’s life. Not only did our sons reread each volume multiple times, my husband and I also cherished these books. We delayed devouring each title until we were sick in bed with a bad cold or the flu, therefore rewarding ourselves with some fun while struggling through illnesses.
Finally, several more recent nonfiction titles have shaped how I think about the world: Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation, Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s We Were Eight Years in Power. All three titles remind me of my aspects of privilege and have taught me to strive to be a conscientious thinker.
Books have always constituted a large portion of my life story. What are some titles that should be included in yours?”