This week's topic is:
TEN BOOKS THAT MAKE YOU THINK
TEN BOOKS THAT MAKE YOU THINK
In between my flights of fancy into fictional realms I often seek out non-fiction books with the intent to make me think deeply, so there are many books which yield this result. However, this does not mean that only nonfiction reads have such an effect. All books make me think! This list is limited to the first ten that popped into my head - either fiction or non - perhaps if I wrote this list on another day I would have a completely different list.
1. Hiroshima by John Hershy I challenge anyone to read this book and not be left in a place of deep thought and reflection upon their place in the world and what humanity is capable of. It is a short book and quick read, but it's impact is as great as the horrible weapon it charges us with remembering.
2. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer Long before I was writing here on Rivera Runs Through It, I had a blog called Searching for Sustenance which focused all on the food movement and making the right food choices for a healthy body, environment and society. Reading this book led to many blog posts and reflection upon whether or not I should eat meat at all. It inspired me to take on the challenge of Meatless Mondays among other longer lasting changes in my home. Here's a post I wrote right after finishing the book, just to give you an idea of the things it got me thinking about: Maybe Mom Was Right.
3. Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin If you are unfamiliar with the amazing Temple Grandin, then I highly recommend you take some time to learn about this fantastic role model. Her understanding of animals and how to provide them with stress-free living is just a piece of that which makes people sit up and notice her. The other notable fact is that Temple, in all of her brilliance, is a very successful woman on the autism spectrum. She is fascinating. This book is fascinating. If you are animal lover, this is must-read. If you know anyone on the autism spectrum, then you need to learn about Temple Grandin.
4. Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser I blame this book for my obsession with the food industry. Many people have watched the movie that is associated with this book, which shares the same message, but I felt the true impact when I read this book first. The book caused me to question everything in our global society and what kind of impact my country is actually having on the world around us.
5. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer and After the Bomb by Gloria D. Miklowitz Each of these books caused me to question my own ability to survive after a lifestyle of convenience is somehow ripped from my grasp. I read After the Bomb when I was probably around ten years old and the Cold War was still going strong. The book was the first ever that made me think about how I got my food, water and all the basic things I needed to live my day to day life. Throughout my life I have have always thought it was one of the most important reads of my life as it led me to not take these things for granted in a way nothing else ever did. When I found the Life As We Knew It series more recently, I was happy to see that there was a more current book delivering this same kind of message to kids today. Rather than having the basics ripped away as a result of war, Pfeffer's series brings to light a threat that is more relevant in these days: natural disaster.
6. Magician's Nephew and The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis I enjoyed the entire Narnia series and could not ignore the religious messages embedded throughout, but the first and last books in the series made me think the most. In book one Lewis presents the creation of the universe and in the last we see his interpretation of the Rapture and end of that world. As a catholic myself, it was interesting to see what part of this story I felt uneasy with as they presented to me in this format.
7. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow In this post 9/11 novel I found myself questioning my own feelings about privacy, security and terrorism. In my review of Little Brother on this blog I noted that I was lucky I found this book at the right time. Had I read this book any earlier, I believe I would have been offended by its message and tale. Therefore, this book made me think on many levels - not just about the content within, but also about how fear affected me and perception of the world around me.
8. Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli This book was a brilliant read. It is one of my favorite graphic novels because of its ability to use the media so well in telling its story. Asterios is an interesting, sad character that spends the entire book looking at the duality of life and assessing what is ultimately most important to him.
9. All of my books on the craft of writing. In my current life as a writer and wannabe published author, it probably goes without saying that any book I read about the craft of writing is going to lead to some pretty deep thought on my part. Whether I am reflecting on my own process, my current WIP or my future, whenever I get my hands on a book about the craft of writing it is going to be a serious read.
10. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien My husband actually reminded me about this one. I'm not sure which part of the book it is in specifically, but there is one point in The Lord if the Rings where Gandalf makes a statement calling in to question the idea of the death penalty. Of course, he was not speaking politically, but, instead, reminding a fellow character that death as a punishment was not their responsibility to dole out. At the time I had counted myself as a supporter of the death penalty, but for some reason Gandalf's words, more than any political argument had shown me all I needed to reconsider my stance.
Which books are on your list? Are they non-fiction, or did you have a character show you the light of your reality within the binds of their fictional universe?