These are a Few of My Favorite Things

I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that I love books. The written word is incredibly precious to me and I hope to you as well. So today I just wanted to share a little about my 5 favorite novels! Oh, and I also included a favorite quote from each book!  

Jane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëJane Eyre

While my listing of these books aren’t in an exact order, this one is by far my favorite. I adore Jane; she’s my fictional kindred spirit, my literary doppelgänger. I connect with her on so many levels, and that’s an incredibly justifying experience. But aside from our similarities, she inspires me. She’s an incredibly strong, honest, eloquent person, and she’s my imaginary role model as well. And of course, there’s Edward Rochester, our wonderful byronic hero. Their story is beautiful and heartbreaking, made all the more exquisite with Brontë’s rich language. Every sentence is dripping with meaning, and it’s nearly impossible to pick a quote because they’re all so gorgeous. In short, I absolutely adore Jane Eyre. Oh, and if you’ve read the book, make sure you check out the BBC Masterpiece 2006 movie version because it’s wonderful!

 

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit is probably the book (other than really short books) that I have digested the most. I’ve listened hobbitto it at least twice, and I’m pretty sure I read it once by myself. Anyway, I probably would have just said the Lord of the Rings trilogy, except that I’m reading The Return of the King for the first time right now, and I read the other two when I was too young to appreciate them. There is a magic to Tolkien’s language, and the world he created is so lavish and full of intricacies. And Bilbo is an adorably honest and hardy character, and Martin Freeman does justice to the character in the movies (probably the best part of the movies, actually, what with all the borrowing and adapting that goes on). Add that to adventures of escaping from trolls, riddles with Gollum, and a jail-break out of Mirkwood, and it should be easy to see why this is such a beloved classic.

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

I actually already wrote a post about this book, a series of memoirs from the VietThings they carriednam War, so this will be brief. Basically, what really makes this book so valuable is the real, raw glimpse into what war is like. It’s the horror we see in movies like 12 Years a Slave and Amistad, where we want to look away, but doing so feels too cowardly. But it’s not just out there to make us feel horrified; O’Brien asserts many times that there is a grotesque beauty to war. Like many things in life, war isn’t a black and white issue, and this poignant piece of literature portrays that elegantly. 

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Yup, I know this choice is overused and not original, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t legitimate. What really sells this book is the protagonist, Holden Caulfield. Yes,  he’s obnoxious. But he’s also deeply complex, and that’s what makes this book so meaningful. At the beginning, I was merely amused by all of the unusual thoughts that go on in his brain. I said, “It’s interesting to see a guy’s perspective like this.” But he’s actually really unusual because he’s iCatcherncredibly vulnerable with the readers even if he isn’t with other characters. He’s lonely, and he just wants someone to listen to him. And that is what makes this book so  universal and so loved. While our states of loneliness may not be as deep as Holden’s, we still know the feeling, and it’s comforting to know that we’re not alone. Check out John Green’s crash course videos (make sure you watch them both) on this stuff, because they are genius! 

Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis

It’s difficult to articulate what I love about this novel. Out of all the novels I’ve listed, this is the most endearing (The Hobbit comes pretty close, but it’s still primarily a novel about adventure). Like Tolkien, Lewis creates his own world, except instead of being strictly fantasy, this one is grounded in our own reality–in space (Mars to be precise). And the descriptions of this world are wild but beautiful. The beauty of this novel lies also in the characters, particularly the made up creatures. In a Silent Planetplace where fear doesn’t exist, the people are gallant and compassionate and wise in the purest sense of the traits. Lewis does the fantastic feat of not only creating a place that is intellectually interesting to read about and adventure in, but a place where I would truly love to live. That doesn’t do this book nearly enough justice, but it’s all I’ve got for right now. 

 

Do you have any book suggestions? I’m trying to read as much as I can this summer while I have the time, so I’d love to hear what your favorites are! 

Epylle Spydre

Friendship: Precious

I was looking at my “tag cloud” yesterday, and I was surprised to find out that I haven’t blogged about friendship. So, that is exactly what I am going to do today, because friendship really deserves to be blogged about.

Photo: About 10 minutes ago, I was just overwhelmed by the realization of how incredibly blessed I am to have all of you. I really do have the most precious, beautiful friends, and I'm so incredibly thankful for you. Thank you all, for everything; this quote is for you. :)(I found this picture on google, so please don’t eat me for any copyrights issues or whatever.)

I love this quote. I really do. It’s so beautiful, because it’s so true. We don’t need friends, as much as we would like to believe we do. But it’s part of our nature to be companions, and friendship truly does give life value.

I just finished a rough year. I had to leave my school, where I was comfortable with the people I had known for 4 years, and go to a place where I knew only a handful of people. I don’t want to go into all the specifics of it, but it was a difficult transition for me. I shed more than a few tears. Thankfully, I was able to get involved with the drama department with our fall play, The Crucible. Those people were my first real friends at my new school, and at Thanksgiving Dinner, I said that I was thankful for the drama department. 

And when a new girl came halfway through the year, I was able to empathize with her situation, and now we’re really close friends. And one time, we were talking, and she said something just really, really nice. I can’t really explain why, but it truly touched me. And in that moment, I was overwhelmed with the realization of how blessed I was to have her and all of my friends. That’s when I found the C.S. Lewis quote, because I wanted to share with them what they meant to me. 

Friendship is precious. So, so very precious. To have people to travel with on this journey through life is truly wonderful. To have people who see you for who you are and love you despite of the good, bad, and the ugly they see is amazing. I just feel so blessed because all of the people in my life, so thank you. I think I’ll end with something I said (instead of using C. S. Lewis’ words) to a friend one time:

“It’s not about whether you deserve it or not. When you care about someone, it no longer becomes about whether they deserve what you’re giving them. You give it to them because of who they are, despite any mistakes or flaws. Because we all make mistakes, and we all have flaws. And you still care about them.”