Books That Shaped Me7:00 AM
I've learned a lot this summer, so I want to talk about some other things that have taught me.
Stories are powerful. If you don't know my thoughts on that by now you're either SUPER new or you're just...not paying attention? Words and stories are important. They tell the truth about humanity and the world around us, about our nature and the way we interact. We can learn from them -- whether it's a personal lesson or figuring out another way of seeing things. And some books just shape you in ways you can't explain -- they become a part of you, and who you are now.
I have lots of books like that, and I wanted to reflect on a few at this point in life. I've changed a lot lately, and there are some books that have helped to shape who I am right now.
1. Unwind by Neal Shusterman
"We know, Aimee," you say. "It's only like your favorite book ever. You never shut up about it."
Hear me out.
Neal Shusterman could easily be my favorite author. He writes with a deep thoughtfulness I don't find in many writers. He writes honestly, and he writes well, and his words have a way of wiggling into your head and sticking there. He writes people the way they are, not the way he thinks they should be. His characters are layered and flawed and broken and honest. The Unwind series is one I've read probably ten times by now, and every time I pick it up I find something new. Connor was the first YA character I found that I could actually relate to, in all this anger issues and helplessness and street smarts and...normalness. He made me realize that I didn't have to be "ordinary" and extremely bookish (though I am in my own way) and introverted and special and the chosen one to be a hero. He and the other main characters taught me that it's in the way you determine to do the right thing for the sake of it, and never give up, that turns your ordinary self into something extraordinary. He taught me that it was okay to be more practical and blunt and outspoken. That I could work hard and be something. The book made me think long and hard about the soul, about human nature, about how society treats issues and makes excuses for their behavior while cheapening human life.
Basically it's a deep, insightful dystopian series, and you need to read it immediately. It might make you uncomfortable -- but there's probably something wrong if it doesn't make you squirm a little. Real life and real society isn't comfortable. It's disturbing.
2. A Series of Unfortunate Events
|*strokes the pretties*|
This one has to make the list for several reasons.
1: It was the first series I truly fell in love with as a reader. Before then I read a ton, of course, and couldn't get enough of words, but I was frustrated with most of what I read. Then lo and behold, middle-grade Aimee discovers a series of books that don't treat kids/tweens like they're idiots. A book written in a way that younger readers can access, but also one that's smart. That assumes the best. That's full of smart words and twisty plot lines and good writing and all that good stuff. Small morbid Aimee loved it.
2. It encouraged me as a writer. I was intrigued by the questions without answers. The characters. The descriptions. The hooks. The mystery. Everything about it made me study it and, by extension, want to work hard to write like that.
3. They're still one of my favorites. Lemony Snicket has a gift with words. His stories come alive in a witty, morbid way, with a wry sense of sarcastic humor that I love. He treats you like you're smart, in on an inside joke. He weaves together mystery and plotlines in a way that you can't untangle but you really, really want to untangle because it's so delicious. He's a bit of a genius and I'll never get tired of reading these.
3. Brave New World
|*strokes the beautiful thing*|
4. The Great Gatsby
|gatsby covers tho|
5. Out of the Silent Planet (the Space Trilogy)
6. The Iliad
Is there a good way to end this? This list could go on and on. I've been shaped and impacted by everything I've read, I think, either negatively or positively. I've left each book with a thought or opinion I didn't have before. My entire life could be mapped out by the books I read in that stage of life and what I thought of them. I'll always love stories -- and I'll always love these especially, because I owe them and their authors something special. They've made me who I am as a writer and a human.
What books have impacted you the most?