Inspired by this video by Sanaa at InkBonesBooks. I tried to choose books that I don’t talk about all the time because, let’s face it, the old standbys of Gone With The Wind and Harry Potter could have answered a lot of these.
1. A Room With A View, EM Forster – The Classic That Got Me
The qualifier for this particular question is “a classic where you identified with the main character or any of the characters on a deep level.” Through the beautiful words and their perfect descriptions of Florence and the English countryside there doesn’t seem to be much space in the story for characters but Lucy Honeychurch manages to bring herself to the forefront. She is the main character, afterall. She’s a normal girl who thinks too much and spends the majority of the novel trying to reconcile her thoughts of who she is, who she wants to be, and who she ought to be. She is in constant opposition with herself and needs to make a decision before she can be happy. That’s me. Lucy makes a decision and hopefully I’ll make my own one of these days.
2. The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach – The book that surprised me with how much it affected me
Look, I don’t remember a lot about this book other than that yes, the plot gets a little odd in places and the way it made me feel. I was completely bowled over by this book when I first read it and even trying to articulate those feelings now is making me feel all the feels again. I don’t know what to say, so I’ll say this. There is this quote that was nestled in the middle of a whole chunk of text, inside a whole long paragraph and at first glance it looks like any other piece of formatted text. But then I read it, and then I read it again and over and over again. I don’t know why I love it so much, and I don’t know that I’ve ever used the word ‘powerful’ to describe a book passage before, but I’m using it now.
“Schwartz would never live in a world so open. His would always be occluded by the fact that his understanding and his ambition outstripped his talent. He’d never be as good as he wanted to be, not at baseball, not at football, not at reading Greek or taking the LSAT. And beyond all that he’d never be as good as he wanted to be. He’d never found anything inside himself that was really good and pure, that wasn’t double-edged, that couldn’t just as easily become its opposite. He had tried and failed to find that thing and he would continue to try and fail, or else he would leave off trying and keep on failing. He had no art to call his own. He knew how to motivate people, manipulate people, move them around, this was his only skill. He was like a minor Greek god you’ve barely heard of, who sees through the glamour of the armor and down into the petty complexity of each soldier’s soul. And in the end is powerless to bring about anything resembling his vision. The loftier, arbitrary gods intervene.”
3. Me Before You, Jojo Moyes – A Book I Read At Just The Right Time
This was a hard one for me to narrow down, but I do remember that when I was craving a half decent chick lit romance that veered toward soppy last year, I found this and it gave me exactly what I wanted. My criteria were very specific and I was beginning to think that I would never find such a book – I didn’t even know where to start looking, to be honest. (Goodreads recommendations weren’t being especially helpful for some reason.) Having now read it, I don’t think any book has ever filled such specific requirements so well.
4. Bill Bryson’s Books – A Book That Inspires Me
Another one that was hard to narrow down and a little bit of a cheat perhaps. I don’t talk about my love for Bill Bryson nearly enough or indeed, ever, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that I’s never even laid eyes on one of his books. You’d be wrong, of course, because I’ve read all of his travel memoirs now and loved every single one of them to death. Mr Bryson inspires me to get out and see random places and eat and weird restaurants and diners – yes – by myself. If he can do it, why can’t I? So I do.
5. Outlander, Diana Gabaldon – A Book That Calms Me
This was an easy one. This is the book I go to whenever I’m sad/lonely/bored/in a reading slump. It fills the little hole inside me that is missing something, regardless of what that something is. It’s one of my favourite books, the book I believe I have read the most over any other, and while yes, I have read other books, perhaps even better books, this is still my ‘go to’ book whenever I need something.