Happy Monday, and welcome to the first day of the Five Fall Favorites blog party!
I’m so thrilled to take part in this fun, creative, and delightfully bookish event, organized by the lovely Kate Willis Hoppman. This is the 7th year in a row that this event has been run (my first time joining in), and it’s going to be great!
Whether you’re looking for book recommendations, enjoy seeing a bunch of book covers, or just like reading about books in general, this is for you. Each day from now until October 8th, a group of bloggers (me included) are going to be sharing our top 5 favorite books in a variety of genres. Explore them all to find some great reads!
Oh, and did I mention giveaways?
Yes, indeed, every day there are great chances to snag some free Kindle reads and also enter to win the epic grand prize (pictured below)! You can put your name in the giveaway by clicking this link right here.
And the Kindle deal for today is none other than Emmeline by Sarah Holman, a creative retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma. I encourage you to go check it out! Click this link (or the image below) to find it.
And now, onto today’s topic!
Five Books that Make Me Me
This is a short introduction to me through books! For this, I’ve picked a collection of books that have most shaped who I am as a person and as a writer. It’s been super difficult to narrow it down, because there are so many books that have influenced me over the years.
Books have always meant a lot to me, and I’d even go so far as to say that every book has influenced me in some way. Apparently by the time I was six, I was reading at a sixth-grade level, just reading whatever I could find. Stories have a unique and powerful way of reaching, teaching, and inspiring people, and I’ve never stopped enjoying them.
Here are a few of the books that have most influenced me over the years. (I’ve reviewed many of these in more depth on Goodreads, so if you’re interested in reading my thoughts – or just other reviews in general – you can find the Goodreads link under each book.)
Bridge to Terabithia
Author: Katherine Paterson
Target Audience: Middle Grade (MG)
What Stuck Out to Me: Bridge to Terabithia is one of the first ‘deep’ books that I read – years ago – and it’s stuck with me ever since. Even though it’s middle grade, the themes of guilt, grief, and loss explored are powerful.
I can relate to and appreciate the characters, and how real they are – mistakes, emotions, reactions, all of it.
Though some people think I’m crazy for having a favorite book that’s so sad, I’m just always drawn to the fact that Paterson didn’t shy away from writing about difficult situations in life. And though there’s no eternal hope portrayed – I wish there was – she still manages to end the book with a glimmer of light.
Tricky Content: Frequent and mild language, tragedy, and views expressed about God that portray what many may honestly believe, but are inaccurate.
I’d Recommend It To: Mature middle grade readers and up (due to the content).
The Scorpio Races
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Target Audience: Young Adult (YA)
What Stuck Out to Me: This is one of my favorites. I love the descriptive world-building, the unique story premise (a dangerous race with mythical water horses), the realistic and likable characters, and yes, even the romance threads woven through.
Most of all, I love Stiefvater’s narrative voice. It’s beautiful, lyrical, and flowing, and yet relatable and clear.
For some reason, I haven’t gotten around to reading more books by her yet, but I do plan to. As a writer, the narrative voice used has continued to influence me greatly. I’ve never read a writing style that so closely resembles mine, and yet hers is so much more beautiful than mine. It’s inspired me to continue improving!
Tricky Content: Fleeting suggestive references, mild to severe language (including using the Lord’s name in vain), a mix of Catholic-inspired religion and references to gods and goddesses, mildly descriptive brutality during the races in particular.
I’d Recommend It To: Teens and adults that like fast-paced fantasy reads.
Hind’s Feet On High Places
Author: Hannah Hurnard
Target Audience: Anyone (the older you are, the more you get from it)
What Stuck Out to Me: I can’t even count the number of times I’ve read this book by now (it was also one of the primary inspirations behind The Toymaker’s Doll) Simple and even child-like in its writing style, it’s filled with powerful spiritual reminders of what it means to be a Christian.
The Bible alone teaches us what we need to know about God in order to be saved, but allegories like this one have helped me truly grasp God’s character, and how He feels about us. Hurnard’s representation of the Good Shepherd is touching, and has led to some very meaningful times of prayer. Also, boy, do I relate to Much-Afraid and her struggles!
Tricky Content: An older and repetitive style of writing that might be too childish for some readers’ preferences, and some questionable moments of theology that can be compared to Hinduism. While I feel the truth outweighed the troublesome content for my journey personally, as always, allegories should be read with much discernment and prayer.
I’d Recommend It To: Readers of pretty much any age that enjoy sweet allegories about growth and journeys through the hardships of life.
The Harry Potter Series
Author: J. K. Rowling
Target Audience: Middle Grade and up
What Stuck Out to Me: As a reader, I’ve always loved the immersivity of these books. Rowling has done a fantastic job creating a unique, expansive world filled with interesting and memorable characters and creatures.
Especially as a writer, I marvel over all of the details she wove through this series! Tiny details I didn’t think twice about end up coming in five books later in huge ways, and over and over again, I’m just amazed with how well she knew her own world and stories. That’s been a big inspiration to me with my own writing. Every time I reread this series, I discover more hints and foreshadowing I missed before.
Tricky Content: The series gets darker and more intense as it goes on (especially in the last half), witchcraft and wizardry are prominent, and both the ‘good’ and the ‘dark’ sides of that are shown – though the dark is always presented as something to avoid, occasional mild language, stereotypical teenage romance shenanigans later on, and some violence. Again, this is a series to read with discernment, taking it as fantasy and nothing more.
I’d Recommend It To: Mature middle-grade readers and up that enjoy immersive and imaginative fantasy reads.
Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World
Author: Joanna Weaver
Target Audience: Adult Women
(The physical copy is packed away somewhere at the moment.)
What Stuck Out to Me: This is one of the few non-fiction books I’m referencing this week, but it’s one that has made a big impact on me. Years ago, I read through it, while feeling like I was too busy to make time for God (ridiculous, yes, I know). The truths in it helped me get back into a regular routine of seeking the Lord.
Weaver shares many personal anecdotes and experiences, as well as some examples of dramatized stories from the New Testament (mainly about Mary and Martha of Bethany) to illustrate her points. She also includes reflection questions and further materials to study. I found all of these things helpful, and learned some very valuable lessons about not taking on too much that God isn’t calling me to (lessons I’m still mastering).
Tricky Content: This might be getting old by now, but again, I’d just suggest reading this with prayer and discernment. No book besides the Bible will be perfect, but I thought that the material in this one was pretty solid.
I’d Recommend It To: Young adult or adult Christian women, especially those who struggle with taking the time to be still in Jesus’ presence.
And just like that, we’re already wrapping up day one of the Five Fall Favorites blog party! What are some of the books that have most impacted your life and who you are? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? If so, what did you think? I’d love to hear from you!
Again, check out Kate’s host post here, for a full list of other bloggers participating and so that you can find even more book recommendations! Don’t forget to join the giveaway here, and pick up the daily Kindle deal (Emmeline by Sarah Holman), here!
See you tomorrow for some more bookish fun!