I wish I were a normal who could finish reading young adult novels without having to drop out of life for a couple of days, wandering around with a head of cloudy thoughts, wringing my hands about why I couldn’t have dated an Augustus Waters in high school (and don’t even think I would have wished away the terminal cancer, because tragically romantic). If only I could finish watching Gilmore Girls without throwing myself across the bed in anguish, trying to reorchestrate history, reversing the poor, selfish decisions made by Logan and Rory (if only they had *my* brand of hindsight!), holding their temperaments to the light of Myers-Briggs, shaking a rueful fist at the late season decisions of the writers. HOW COULD YOU THROW THAT ALL AWAY!?! (p.s. Rory, think of the guacamole!)
I wish I were not so invested, so easily yoked to storylines that capture head and heart and take us on that rocky ride for which we are passengers with a ticket to exit at any time, but rarely do we choose to get off. The soap opera ride always empties us out in a place where we can’t find our luggage, don’t know how to make it to connecting transportation, and are late for our next appointment. But occasionally, we encounter a story that rings so true to life that we are different because of the journey. There was some nuance in the narration or dialogue that made us feel understood and not so alone. Something there sounded familiar, and our soul followed the rhythm as if by heart.
I’ve been tagged recently in some form of meme asking me about the top 10 books that changed my life. I find this list a difficult task, because I realize there is a difference between my favorite books and books that changed me: the latter being works that anatomically rearranged me so that I could no longer see the world the same, or my place in it.
1. The Return of the Prodigal Son (Nouwen)
2. Blubber (Blume)
3. Crooked River Burning (Winegardner)
4. Prep (Sittenfeld)
5. Surviving in an Angry World (Stanley)
6. Making Toast (Rosenblatt)
7. Mountains Beyond Mountains (Kidder)
8. Detroit (Leduff)
9. Desire of Ages (White)
10. A Life’s Work (Cusk)