Topic #199: List the 5 most important books you’ve ever read. Don’t think too much, just get a pen, or open a new post, and start listing books. When you’re done, go book and write a sentence or two about why each book ended up on your list. Do you think those books would have been more or less important had you read them at a different time in your life? Or would each one have effected you just as much regardless of when you read them?
I have read quite a few books in my lifetime. I would care to say that I have read more books than the average person. Whenever I travel I usually pack 2 or 3 books with me. It makes the long flights and boring nights pass that much faster. So with that said, I am now challenged to write about the 5 most important books I have read.
#1 – The Hobbit by J. R. Tolkien
#2 – The Incarnations of Immortality by Piers Anthony
#3 – A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
#4 – Roots by Alex Haley
#5 – The Dictionary by Merriam-Webster
The 5 books on my list have touched, changed and molded that which is me in significant ways. As I look back, I can witness the actual moment that made me veer off the path well trodden. Each of these books influenced my life in drastic way. With that being said, let’s start with the Hobbit. I was tasked with reading this book in school, a task I was not happy with. At this point in my life reading was not my favorite past time. I was a kid and lets face it – play time, friends, cartoons – all have a higher priority in any child’s life then reading. But alias I resigned to read it because at the time it counted for a significant of my grade. My mother did not play when it came to school. So I began to read and read and read. I was captivated and did not even notice when minutes then hours passed. I was reading as if I was possessed. I skipped dinner, going outside, watching TV. I had discovered the joy of reading. Tolkien had captured my mind and transported my into the world of Hobbits. TV would no longer be able to capture and hold me like reading would. Reading truly sparked my imagination. New worlds, places, events were mine to create and imagine.
The next day I had read the entire book and approached my teacher about what else he had written. She was astonished. When it came time to review the book and write that all dreaded book report, I took home the Oscar. Needless to say the joy of reading went from a dim spark located in the depths of my being to an uncontrollable blaze at the forefront of my mine and all with that one book.
The second book on my list actually happens to be a series. It was another page turner for me. The Incarnations of Immortality happened across my path by a fellow soldier just before we were thrust into the jaws of war. Piers Anthony took the question that everyone asks in their lifetime "If there is a GOD, why does he let so many bad things happen in the world?” But the kicker to this series is that after you have read the entire 7 books is when you actually get to the the underlying plot. He takes the spiritual and turns it into the human. By presenting Death, War, Time, Fate, Evil, Life (as Mother Earth) and finally God (religion) in terms that we as mere humans can interact with more comfortably. He strips the spiritual, faith, and mystique and leaves just the human with enough magic so as to keep them mystical.
The third book was chosen because it was also a school reading assignment. School has played the single most important role in fostering my reading experience than anything else. A Raisin in the Sun was written to depict a few weeks in the life of an African American family and how they deal with coming into money. Money that could change their lives for the better if used properly. This is not only reflective of black people but also of the majority of people in the world. But the media would have you to believe that only blacks face these issues. Anyway, it was another turning point because it gave me an insight into the positives and negatives about living and dealing with family. It also gave me my first taste of how effectively be a family and how to deal with the sudden influx of money.
The fourth book, I have to admit I read after watching the tv show. Roots was one of the most watched TV shows in the world. It garnered numerous awards sparked 3 follow up movies and helped sell millions of books. What this book did was introduce me to the world of genealogy. I have since researched my family tree, discovered numerous branches and relatives once lost to memory and the passage of time. It helped to foster a growing since of family.
The last book in my 5 best is one that every writer or pretend writer should have read or are reading on a regular basis and that is the dictionary. This one book has the potential to increase ones word knowledge and word usage like non-other. If you haven’t read it lately, pick it up and learn a new word or word play.