Things Books Made Me Want to Do

Books can inspire you to do a lot of things: learn a new topic, go somewhere, or eat something you’ve never heard of before. Or they can just make you wish that something existed so you could actually do it.

For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, here are a few of the things books have made me want to do.

  • A Ring of Endless Light by Madleine L’Engle made me want to go to school for English. This is all because one person that the main character, Vicky, meets tells her that if she’s serious about her writing, she shouldn’t major in creative writing in college, but she should major in English so she can study stories. I may have been the only person I knew in middle school who knew what she was going to college for.

 

  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George made me want to live in the woods. If I could get my own peregrine falcon, even better.

  • Amelia’s Notebook series by Marissa Moss inspired me to fill my childhood journal with awesome doodles.

 

  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis gave my a lifelong desire to try Turkish Delight. (It didn’t work out so well.)

 

  • And, of course, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling made me hope, hope, hope that I would be a witch. Still waiting on that owl…

Check out The Broke and the Bookish for more lists! What have books made you want to do? There are still so many other foods books made me want to try…

A Ring of Endless Light: Understanding a Book I Love

I recently reread A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle for an MFA essay. I love to revisit this book. I’ve read it so much it’s literally split down the middle with only Scotch tape to keep it in one piece. I can’t remember how old I was when I first read it, but I remember going through it over and over again. I can still see the crease marks from when I used to dog-ear the pages.

The very obvious theme of this book is death, but I don’t think I realized that until there was a made-for-TV Disney movie coming out. The commercials went on an on about saving dolphins, which enraged me. While dolphins are a big part of the story, there aren’t any poachers in the book. It wasn’t until a movie was being made with an absence of this theme that I understood what I’d been reading for all those years. So I can be thankful for that, at least. (I never watched the movie, by the way.)

Another thing that’s interesting about this book and me is that, even though A Ring of Endless Light is technically the fourth book in the Austin Family series, I’ve only ever read the sequel to this one, Troubling a Star, and that only once. A Ring of Endless Light stands well enough on it’s own, so I didn’t realize for a long while that there was anything else to read about Vicky Austin. I wonder now, if I had read the first 3 books before this one, if I would have loved it as much.

Understanding the book better colors it differently when I read it now, but I still get a satisfied enjoyment out of it. I’ll always go back to it, and maybe when this copy finally disintegrates I’ll buy a new copy for my own kids. And who knows, maybe someday I’ll read the rest of the books.

Do you have a book you’ve read again and again? Or a book you didn’t understand fully until much later?

Children’s Books: Favorite Newbury Medal Winners

A few weeks ago the winner of the Newbury Medal was announced, along with the honor books. As I was skimming over some articles about it, I got to thinking: what are my favorite Newbury winners or honors?

Easily my number one favorite is A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle. As a kid this book was my favorite, and now it’s all torn to bits and held up with Scotch tape. It’s a book about dolphins, about being a teenager and going out with boys, about spending one last summer with a grandfather before he dies. In the end I think it’s about death and dealing with loss, though I had no way of realizing this when I read it the first dozen times; I just knew I loved it.

Another one came as a gift from my aunt: The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg. Saturday is about four kids on a 6th grade Academic Bowl team. All of them are different, with different stories that led them to be best friends and teammates. This one disappeared from me for years when I lent it to a family friend; it got a coffee stain and the medal sticker is torn up, but my only regret is that she never got around to reading it.

There are others I like – The Giver, The Tale of Despereaux – but A Ring of Endless Light and A View from Saturday are the ones I remember best from my childhood.

Do you have a favorite Newbury winner? Or is there a book you love so much you can’t understand why it doesn’t have a medal?