It’s not quite yet 2018, but I’ve still got a handful of books that I am incredibly thankful for this year. Maybe they were just entertaining, or maybe they taught me an important life lesson — either way, 2017 wouldn’t have been the same without these page turners on my nightstand.
1. “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes
I’ve probably already talked about this book too much already, but Shonda Rhimes truly crushed it with this wonderful piece of work. This is one of my favorite books of 2017 (so far) for two reasons: 1) It kept me sane and entertained for seven hours of a 13 hour car ride, and 2) the message she is sending is so important for young people like myself to learn early in life. Say yes to things! Even if you’re scared, or don’t think you’ll like it, say yes. You never know what good can come from simply saying yes to opportunity. Don’t place limits on yourself. Live life to the fullest.
2. “Tuesdays With Morrie” by Mitch Albom
I’ve always tried to appreciate the people in my life by spending time with them and hearing their stories, but Albom’s short book chronicling his time spent with his dying professor hit the nail even harder into that coffin. After seeing Morrie on TV on night talking about his ALS, Albom decides to visit him on a whim. He actually ends up going every Tuesday for the rest of Morrie’s life to hear his lessons and learn one last time from the man who influenced him so much in his younger years. It’s incredibly sad and heartbreaking, but it’s also one of the most important books I have read in my life. It further taught me to appreciate the people that surround me, the lessons they can teach me, and the wisdom they can bestow upon me.
3. “Beloved” by Toni Morrison
I read “Beloved” in high school and was not nearly as appreciative of it as I should have been. It is such an eye-opening piece of literature that sheds light one of the biggest blemishes on our nations history — slavery. I not only appreciate “Beloved” for how well it is written, but also for how, through reading it, I learned to analyze more in-depth pieces like it. I discovered how tiny details add to the big picture and how each choice and author makes is carefully determined and intended to add to the larger framework of the story. Reading “Beloved” for a second time as a young adult taught me how to truly understand and appreciate fine works of literature.
4. “The Shining” by Stephen King
I am a scaredy cat — a huge baby when it comes to anything horror related. Maybe watching “Supernatural” for nine seasons has desensitized me to the scary stuff (vampires, demons, and ghosts), but I was still shocked that I was able to read “The Shining” and sleep soundly afterward. Now I know I can handle reading horror, even if I’m still too chicken to sit down and watch the movie. Don’t get me wrong,”The Shining” was still scary and creepy in all the right ways, but it didn’t leave me scared to turn off the light at night. I think it’s crucial to read a variety of genres and authors, and horror was always one I was scared to try because I wanted to be able to sleep at night. So thank you Stephen King, for writing one of the first horror books I decided to tackle on my own.
5. “The Nightingale” by Kristen Hannah
My mom recommended this book to me so long ago, and I’m so glad she did. Hannah writes of France during World War II and the secret role women played in saving thousands of international lives. It’s a truly heartbreaking story, but it’s also so elegantly written and inspiring for any reader. Hannah perfectly portrays the strength that women had to have every day to keep going when that truly seemed like the hardest thing to be doing at the time. Many people have read of, or reflect, on the tremendous bravery of the men that fought this battle, but few truly know of how instrumental women were to this war. Reading of Isabelle’s bravery and Vianne’s strength helped remind me of the fire within myself.
These books were picked out of the books I have read in 2017, but I’m definitely thankful for a whole lot more. Authors have given me worlds to escape to and characters to connect with and admire — I couldn’t thank them enough for all they have given me.
Let me know what books you are most thankful for this Thanksgiving in the comments below.