Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Top Ten fiction books that made me stop and think

Top Ten Tuesday is  an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish blog with a different top ten list theme (all related to books) every Tuesday (see the full list here).

Next Tuesday, I'll be taking a break from top tens for a while and posting on contrasts in characters. 

Here's the top ten books that made me think about life and even contributed to how I try to live my life.

10. Feed by M.T. Anderson
I just read this book recently, and it really made me think about our current addiction to the internet and smartphones, not to mention consumerism. 

9. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Atticus' lesson to Scout is one that has helped me think through some difficult relationships I've faced with this excellent advice: "you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view — until you climb around in his skin and walk around in it."

8. Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
When I was 14 and 15, I devoured these books, multiple times, just soaking up the details of Middle Earth and the epicness of it all; wondering why I was so swept away. Maybe it was because it's about how small, insignificant people can do great things. But I also wondered why the elves longed for something even Middle Earth couldn't give them, and I still ponder that to this day. It wasn't until a couple years ago when I read Surprised by Joy, by C.S. Lewis (this book would be #1 on my list except that it's not fiction) that I finally understood why Lord of the Rings had such an impact on me. Except I still can't explain it, not in one paragraph at least! 

7. This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti
Always a huge fan of fantasy, this book shook me to my core, realizing the possibility that some elements of fantasy could actually be real and that many of us are part of an epic fantasy taking place just outside our realm of senses. 

6. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle
I never thought about stars the same way again after reading this book as a child; it made me realize that ordinary things we see every day in our lives (or every night) might have implications that our limited senses cannot fully perceive. Quotes like these really make me ponder, even to this day, our limitations with communication and perception. 
"Oh child, your language is so utterly simple and limited that it has the affect of extreme complication."
From a blind character: "We do not know what things look like. We know what things are like. It must be a very limiting thing, this seeing." 
This cover is so amazing I almost need to go buy myself another copy!

5. A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers
This story of a girl torn between love and duty, faith and fear, made me think about my own struggles of faith. It's also marvelously entertaining with gladiators and parties set in Ancient Rome.

4. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
All of Lewis' books, both fiction and non-fiction, have stretched me to think in new ways - I would love to list a dozen more by him. This is my favorite of the Narnia series, but if I shared the aspect of it that really got me thinking about why terrible things sometimes happen and what possible purpose they could have, it would be a total spoiler. This book also got me thinking about pride vs. humility. 
One of my all-time favorite covers, so I had to display it large!

3. The Mitford series by Jan Karon
As I mentioned earlier, I'm a huge fan of fantasy. But what I loved about these books is they taught me that wonderful things don't have to be epic. Wonder and majesty can also be found in ordinary places. Many things to ponder in these books: uncovering buried fears, putting up false fronts, everyday temptations. Wrapped and delivered in delicious humor. 

2. My Friend Flicka series by Mary O'Hara
Though technically classified as children's books, there's a lot of stuff in these three books that I still ponder over as an adult, too. Complications of responsibility, dealing with disappointment, letting go of beloved things/people, wanting something so bad that it crushes your world when you don't get it - and that's just the tip of the iceberg. 

1. A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L'Engle
I still love re-reading this story (actually, all the books in the Austin series). As a teenager, it was the first time I pondered the mysteries of how life is entangled with death, beauty with darkness, joy with sorrow. 

What book(s) made you stop and think about life, society, relationships, etc?

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