December 19, 2013

10 years. 10 books.

it went like this...

"Rules: don't take too long to think about it. 
15 books you've read that will always stick with you. 
First 15 books that you can recall in no more than 15 minutes."

i answered as a comment on someone's FB post and then was tagged a few times but never got around to narrowing down the list to ten once that's what all the cool cats were doing.

ten books actually required more thought. i can usually name the top five, no problem, and fifteen allowed for some slop, but ten meant i had to be a bit more discerning.

yesterday i read miss ellie's post and narrowed my list down, afterall. some of these books i refer to often, some i've only read once, but in the last 10 years these are the books that have somehow been woven into the fabric of my existence + here's why:

because everything i ever felt was wrong with the state of the world (namely, the gap between the "first world" and the rest of the world) is addressed, in such a succinct and profound way that it's difficult to remember this is a "work of fiction." if you've never wondered what's wrong with the state of the world i don't know you, this shit's bothered me since i was four.

because there's more and the history of our culture has been filtered through a stream of self-serving interests like governments and organized religion.

because even in 1985, someone was concerned with the amount of plastic grocery bags under the sink and how electronically-controlled monetary systems were easily controlled. and in real life, right now, corporations have more rights in this country than women.

because it's atwood's secret, not-so-secret, semi-auto-biography. brilliant in it's subtly, appearing at first to be a series of simple, disorganized stories but no less clever than and subversive than anything else she's ever written. i actually cannot even really describe it but i haven't fallen in love with a book like this, ever. (if i had it, i'd pull a few telling quotes but my copy is with the wife.)

 because we should brush our teeth with warm water (or at least i have since i read this) and because it was also his sort-of-autobiography and this:

"love is where you find it. i think it is foolish to go looking for it, 
and i think it can often be poisonous. i wish that people who are conventionally 
supposed to love each other would say to each other, when they fight, 
"please - a little less love, and a little more common decency."

or this:

"exhaustion, yes, and deep money worries, too, made her say toward the end 
that she guessed that she wasn't really very good at life."

and this:

"it was even secret that my paternal grandmother died of cancer. think of that."

and finally:

"this really happened."

in short. it's a healing book. truth-telling for the truth-seeker, as i flip through it i love the randomness even more than moral disorder. i should probably read it again.

because what is essential isn't your job, your car, or your addictions and afflictions. if you have kids, you should read it with them. if you don't, you should read it for you.

because just after i started reading it, swear to hamlet, a wall that i drove past every morning was spray painted with the words: fuck you. if you've read it, you know what i mean. if you haven't, you'll  be all "whoa" when you do.

also this:

“among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person
 who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. 
you're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. 
many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. 
happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. 
you'll learn from them—if you want to. 
just as someday, if you have something to offer, 
someone will learn something from you. 
it's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. 
and it isn't education. 
it's history. it's poetry.” 

because. i mention this book often, i give it to people, i refer to it almost daily. as dystopian as my heart may seem, i am a firm believer that we are world changers. we are the shakers, the movers, the dreamers of dreams, the weavers of stars and story. we are healers - but we can't heal when we're hurting ourselves or others or allowing ourselves to be hurt by others. i've picked up this book many times since i was 21 but it wasn't until two years ago that reading it didn't feel like second nature, but felt like coming home to my own words. i'm not sure if i just finally really resonated with it or if it had a cumulative influence on me over time, but this book isn't just instant cheer, it's the book i can open, at random, to the perfect page in just that moment, it's seen me through all the stages of self-inflicted injury to true, honest healing and inner-reflection.

  • Seuss or Silverstein.* - anything and all the things by these dudes, because they traversed the depths of the universe and multiple lives in order to share the truth with children, being more receptive than adults of their time. or even our time.

how about you...10 books that changed you + (if you want to share) why? 

*and yeah, the last two are kind of like cheating. but some rules can, and totally should, be broken.

1 comment:

  1. love this!
    10 books?
    give me a moment....

    love and light


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