The 20 books that impacted my life

book art
Books as art.

Books mean a lot to me. I’m a reader. I’m a writer (Wright-er, haha) but before I started writing, I was an avid reader. I devoured books. I read anything I could find, the back of cereal boxes if there was nothing else but with parents being educators and lifelong students themselves, there was never a shortage of books in my life. Books are how I learned a lot of the cultural references that have nothing to do with anything I ever experienced for myself. Reading is how my vocabulary expanded beyond my years or conversations. Reading is how I learned how to express my thoughts. My family is a family of readers, my parents and brother, each a different kind of reader, but readers nonetheless. But me, I have always loved books.

 

In celebration of today being World Book Day, I will share some of the books that have impacted my life:

From my childhood:

The Red Pony, John Steinbeck was the first novel I ever called my own.

Escape to Last Man’s Peak, by Jean D’ Costa, a novel that I read several times as a child, each time marveling at the fact that the book is set in Jamaica, where children have the ability to change their own circumstances. At that point, I didn’t know many books that had been written about Jamaican children, orphans even, and I vowed to write a book myself when I became older.

Sprat Morrison, another book by Jean D’Costa, about a Jamaican boy that was funny and I named my pet goat after the pet goat in the book.

Mandy, an implausible story about a ten-year old orphan girl who finds an abandoned house and fixes it up and then the owners give it to her to live in. Idealized, impossible story, but the moral is that sometimes when you just do things, there are rewards.

Nancy Drew. I read every available installment in Carolyn Keene’s series, convinced that when I got a little older, I would be the best girl detective in real life. But alas, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be to spot suspicious looking dark sedans or match tire tracks left on roads that are travelled by hundreds of cars every day. Ah, real life is not like novels at all!

From the Teen Years

The Bible. I know, I know. But when I was a teenager, I started reading the Bible through and it helped me to realize how important God was and I got baptized as a Seventh-day Adventist when I was 16. I’ve made my share of mistakes since then, but the Bible has always been a source of inspiration to me.

Sweet Valley High. My experience at my all-girls high school left me with wonderful memories but it was nothing like what the Wakefield twins got up to in the SVH series.

The Diary of Anne Frank, read at the recommendation of my mom, and which got me started on writing down my thoughts in a journal. I’ve written books and books and books worth since then, but it all started with this one book. Anne Frank, I hope to meet her in heaven so I can tell her what an inspiration she was.

Early Adulthood

As I became a young woman, I read every pink-spined chick lit book I could find, including Bridget Jones’ Diary and Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series (both British writers, because the British ladies really know how to do chick lit)

As I mature, I have found…

Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, The Outliers, etc.

Freakonomics, the first book I read that really challenged everything I thought I knew about the world and provided my entry into the wonderful world of Non-Fiction

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist, because sometimes we don’t understand how much God wants to bless us, has orchestrated blessings for us, if we would only accept.

Herman Hesse’s, Siddharta, depicting the myth of the Buddha. I am not about Buddhism, but I think there is a lot we can learn about leaving some of the prosperity problems behind so we can focus on what is really meaningful in life.

Marianne Wiliiamson, A Return to Love, because women sometimes forget that to love others, we first have to love God and love ourselves, and in order to love men, we have to learn how to love God and love women, embrace childhood and the sisterhood.

Love in the time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a beautiful, tender, seemingly-unending love story.

Jane Austen’s entire collection, for when I really just wanted to experience life in another age, the age when women got dressed for tea and swooned at the mere mention of the name of an unrelated male.

For Athletic Motivation, I was impacted by:

Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run, the tale of a vegan ultra-marathoner, the man who overcame personal challenges and learned that “sometimes, you just do things”

Born to Run, because running is a culture, not a fad.

Runners World Big Book of Marathon Training, gives training plans and tips for marathon and half-marathon training, but also answers almost every question you could ever have about running as well as inspiring stories of people who have overcome great challenges to become runners.

 

Books are real. They inspire, they teach, they entertain, they enrich, they transport. I love books.

What do you read, that is, when you’re not reading my blog?

Update:

In April 2016, I published a short story collection called It’s Complicated: Short Stories About Long Relationships. I’d written other things before but this was the first time my writing was mass distributed in this format. My work is now on Amazon in print and Kindle form.Buy It's Complicated NowThis is the book that allowed me to call myself a published author. This is the book that has probably changed my life most. How could I not include it in this list?

 

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Mummy Wright says:

    What a dreadful life we would lead if we couldn’t read. Glad I passed the love and wonder of reading on to you, and maybe, just a tiny bit, the love of writing.
    Keep on being an INSPIRATION to others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. runwright says:

      Of course! You are my favorite writer! I can’t wait for your book to come out. I am looking forward to buying a copy

      Like

    2. Run Wright says:

      Those are two of the best gifts I’ve ever been given and you gave them both to me. Thanks, Mom!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Marsha M. says:

    Wonderful synopsis. As a child I used to get in trouble for always having a book (in places like family meals at the dining table, when paying a stop-by to family friends, during church–long-winded sermons rarely hold a young child’s attention, when I should’ve been doing a chore, etc), but I couldn’t help myself. Saturday afternoons at St. James Public Library were “me time.” At home, I loved “Heidi,” “What Katy Did,” “The Secret Garden,” “Little Women,” and short story collections. At Hampton I read a lot of Danielle Steel because they were not as predictable as the Harlequins (ick) and she tended to incorporate a bit of history (Zoya, Message from Nam) and the stories were on such a grand scale. Like you, I gobbled up chick lit in my twenties, Marian Keyes being my absolute fave (LOVE HER). Then I got into biographies, esp. the warts-and-all ones— there’s so much behind a person who we view as iconic. At the end of the day,they’re just people who made extraordinary choices, something we all have the power to do. Nelson Mandela, Hillary Clinton, Tina Turner, Winston Churchill, Ben Carson… it’s a pretty wide scope. Anyway, without getting long-winded myself, I’ll just say I read about 200 books in the last two years because I had the time ;).

    Like

    1. runwright says:

      Thanks for commenting Marsha. Is your 200 item list someplace I can review? I am always looking for new recommendations. You’re right about the auto-bios. Sidney Poitier’s and Hilary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s are some of my favs. There are a few other notables I left off my list too. I might do an update later. See what you’ve started now!

      Liked by 1 person

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