As if choosing a set number of favorite books wasn’t bad enough, Book Blogger Appreciation Week kicks off with a request to describe oneself in five books. But, I’m up for the challenge. Here are five books that I think will give you a sense of who I am, as a person and a reader, presented in no particular order:
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin. Books are my religion and my life. Books take me out of myself and into myself in ways that I are hard to describe to non-readers. When I read The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry for the first time, I felt like it had been written just for me because of the way it captured a life in and out of books.
Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl. I read this book as an undergraduate and it had a profound effect on me. I have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and have struggled, off and on, with feeling overwhelmed by life. (My struggles are nothing compared to Frankl’s, of course.) When I feel myself going off the rails, I remind myself of Man’s Search for Meaning. If I can hold on to something meaningful, something that matters to me more than anything, I find I can hold my head above all my cares and worries long enough to find my path again.
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories, by Angela Carter. The older I get, the more annoyed I get by traditional narratives getting above themselves. Just because something has always happened a certain way doesn’t mean they have to stay that way. (Nostalgia is problematic anyway.) I have always loved messed-up/messed-with fairy tales, where authors twist the stories inside out to show us more about ourselves. This collection gets bonus points for showing women as their own heroes on top of messing with traditional narrative.
Viper Wine, by Hermione Eyre. I added this book to the list not to much for its plot or characters, but because its structure is a fairly accurate representation of how my brain works most of the time. My friends, family, and co-workers will vouch for the way nearly everything that comes up in conversation reminds me of something else. Viper Wine pulls in all sorts of historical and cultural references much like I pull in references from stand up comedy, the oodles of books I’ve read, weird things I’ve seen on the internet, etc.
The Word Exchange, by Alena Graedon. I adore words. I am endlessly fascinated by the fact that these little sounds and symbols can convey meaning between brains. I take linguistics classes and follow Old English, Old Norse, Latin, and the Oxford English Dictionary‘s word of the day twitter accounts. I just can’t get enough of them.
So, fellow book bloggers, if you had to describe yourself in five books, which five would you pick? Friends who read this blog, any comments or additions?