Book · Favorites

Personal Canon

Since Top Ten Tuesday is on break until August, this is a great time to break out some topics that I’ve been wanting to write about.

A month ago I saw a couple of bloggers write about their personal canons, the books that shaped their tastes and love of reading.

Childhood:

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Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum

The first book I remember getting as a gift, from my grandmother around the age 8. Not only did this book really open up my imagination, but from an early age I realized that the book and movie weren’t the same. That books can offer a deeper layer and more insight.

(Movies can too, just differently.)

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis

Many children throughout the decades have been shaped by the Narnia series, but one in particular really opened up my imagination. As a child I didn’t grasp the religious allegory, and honestly I think it held up better before I figured it out in my teens.

Not hating on the allegory, but the story and fantasy really spoke to me as a child. My love for moving stories started here.

Goosebumps – R.L. Stine

This was my first fandom. I remember going to book events for the series, I loved it so much. I realized it was okay to be excited for something you love and enjoyed, no matter how much your relatives wished you would stop talking about it 😉

This series also sparked my love for supernatural and scary movies. Psycho and The Shining are some of my all time favorites!

 

High School:

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Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

What else can be said about P&P, this book has changed so many lives. Being the first English Lit novel I ever read, I was terrified. I remember having a dictionary next to me, as I was so unfamiliar with the writing style.

It took a lot longer to get through, but I still fell in love. For a decade after, 19th Century English Literature became my jam, as I gobbled up as much as I could.

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame  – Victor Hugo

This is probably one of the saddest books I’ve ever read and the ending made me sob, and yet I was riveted. Not only did this deepen my love for classics of this time period, but it also opened me up to different styles.

I understand why people wouldn’t want to read sad books. There’s already enough to deal with in reality on a daily basis, why shovel more. But I realized that I was perfectly fine with sadder books, as long as that emotion came from a real place.

 

Transition:

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Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

I don’t want to spoil Jane Eyre for those who haven’t read it yet, even though its over 150 years old, but halfway through the book there’s a twist that sheds a darker light on Mr. Rochester. A character who already had darker tendencies. I’m not going to justify Mr. Rochester’s actions here, but I still liked him as a character.

I learn to appreciate complicated characters and that it’s okay to like them. I find flawless people to be boring, and prefer my characters to be motivated and interesting, even if they aren’t “good.”

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

I’ve always been an indecisive person, but college brought a dark period in my life, as every major decision would cause a panic attack. I never felt so alone.

And I’m not going to get cheesy and say, ‘this book saved my life!’, but it was helpful to know that someone understood, and how serious these feelings were.

 

***Also Happy Independence to my fellow Americans!

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2 thoughts on “Personal Canon

  1. I had a similar experience with The Bell Jar in college. I read in high school and enjoyed it, but knew that it wasn’t the perfect time for me to read and connect with it. About three years into my degree, I reread it and really discovered Plath’s genius properly. I have never really connected to another book like my second read of The Bell Jar, and since then, Plath has been one of my favorite authors. She really is brilliant.
    Mallory @ The Local Muse

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s how I feel. If I had read it a few years earlier or later it wouldn’t of had the same impact on me. Still a great book, but the story really hits home at certain points in life.

      Like

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