Hi all, Rose here with another Top Ten Tuesday entry as inspired by the lovely The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s prompt took a bit of brainstorming, since it was a flexible topic centered around school themed readings in honor of back to school week. I had to consider what books shaped my reading habits in Elementary, Middle School, High School, and my University years (both undergraduate and graduate studies) which is to say is a lot of time breaking it all out. I decided to do a prompt centered around books that shaped my reading experiences during the times I was in school or reading for school (class based reading, Accelerated Reader, Book-It, basically programs of that nature) and via the multiple summer reading lists I had coming up. Maybe some of these suggested reads – fiction and non-fiction, might have some appeal to you.
- The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman. I read this during my undergraduate years for a class centered in themes surrounding Medical Anthropology, the study of medicine, health, and illness across various societies. It talks about the experiences of a young Hmong girl, her family, and her experiences with having epilepsy and the treatments and clashes between the standards of care she received along the way in California. I connected to this story in a personal way -not just for my interest in health and how its expressed/viewed in different cultures, but also considering I’d had a seizure disorder for about the first 8 years of my life, and starting not too far from the same time frame as Lia Lee’s story. There was definitely a connection there, along with me being a POC. It really made me think deeply about attitudes towards illness/sickness. I definitely felt the full impact of how this story shows a clashing of cultures and ultimately established the variant perspectives on health and treatment between Western Medicine and the doctors that adhered to it juxtaposed to the family’s wishes and beliefs. It’s a fascinating, though heart-wrenching read.
- “Nine Horses” by Billy Collins. Another read that I had during my undergraduate years. Collins’s name came up while I was taking poetry writing classes at my uni. I’d wanted to get a minor in Creative Writing with a focus on Poetry writing but unfortunately too many of my major classes conflicted with the schedules of my minor classes, so I had to forgo it. Yet the biggest takeaway I got out of that class was a wealth of classic and contemporary poets. Collins’s voice stood out to me as being witty and remarkably in tune to emotion and imagery, making him stand out even today as one of my favorite poets. This was a book I ended up purchasing from my campus library, and it sits on my shelf alongside some of my favorite readings.
- Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr: I read this in Elementary School as part of my class assigned readings, and it brought tears to my eyes even back when I first read it. I loved the book so much that I read the book in both physical form and audio form. It’s one that I’d like to revisit reading even now, many years after the fact.
- The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines. I read this as a part of my 7th grade reading (and watched the movie with Cecily Tyson in conjunction with it). I think in the line of Alex Haley’s “Roots”, Walter Dean Myers’ “The Glory Field”, among other reads I’ve perused, “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” really impacted me on how extensive of a narrative she had in chronicling her life – personally, emotionally, the injustices she suffered alongside people in her family – it’s a narrative that’s stayed with me for many years.
- Dragonflight by Anne McCaffery: I haven’t read this series from the beginning in so many years, though I’ll admit reading this for the first time in my 7th grade class really opened up my eyes early on to how engrossing fantastical worlds can be. My Middle School reading experiences really opened up a large portion of my reading preferences – so this book among several supplemented my interest in sci-fi and fantasy realms.
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Need I say more about my introduction to Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett through what remains as one of my favorite tales to date? I first read this in high school as part of an assignment I had to write (of my choosing) for my English class. Been a regular re-read of mine ever since.
- Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya. I mentioned this in one of my previous entries, but I first read this book in High School as a part of one of my AP English assignments and it’s one of the reasons I scored as high as I did on that particular exam because of how I expressed my connection with the narrative. (I’m still wondering how I survived my AP class having to prep for the exam AND do a senior thesis project at the same time.)
- Nectar in A Sieve by Kamala Markandaya: I remember first reading this book in my Honors English class in 10th grade and the writing just blew me away – beautifully narrated and emotionally jarring in many places about a young Indian woman. I’ve wanted to look into more of Markandaya’s work ever since. (The only other book I’ve read by her aside from this was “Some Inner Fury” though it’s been hard for me to find in more recent years.)
- Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier: My first experience with DuMaurier’s work was in 9th grade when I had to choose two books during the unit to pick up (It was this and William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies”, which I also liked at the time). I remember being taken in by the way DuMaurier wove her words together, as well as the sinister tale that builds and builds upon itself in suspenseful turns as the narrative goes on. It still remains one of my favorite works.
- The Stranger by Albert Camus: Also read this during high school (summer and in-school reading) and I need to give it a re-reading for the experience, though the story has stayed with me long after I’d read it. Camus’ writing really pulls you into the narrative and doesn’t let go, even in the brief time that I ended up reading it, I actually re-read it again after finishing it for the first time because I liked it that much.
That’s all for this entry, until next, happy reading adventures, and hopefully if you have elective assignments or books that you’re reading while going through school, they’ll make an impact on you – possibly for many years to come.