Cinderella is my favorite fairy tale, so it fits that the book I’m most thankful for is an adaption of it. This book has gotten me through some tough times. I’ve read it so many times that it is now barely held together with a rubber band. When I was younger I was often ill. One year I missed over three months of school due to illness. At that time I became very depressed and began wondering if I would ever make it out of bed again. Throughout this period I read this book over and over and over again. I think it was one of the only things keeping me sane as I spent my days lying in bed, unable to do much more that sleep and occasionally eat. It was a very dark time for me, and this novel raised my spirits and gave me hope. I can truly say that I am enormously grateful for this book and the role it has played in my life.
Pride and Prejudice is my absolute favorite romance. Who can resist dreaming of the broodingly sexy Mr. Darcy? I didn’t read Pride and Prejudice until highschool. Think of all the years of daydreaming I missed out on! But, when I did finally get my hands on it in my junior year, let me tell you, my heart was instantly captured! I knew that Mr. Darcy was the only man for me. He is the imaginary ruler that all others are weighed against and must live up to.The Secret of Dragonhome
By John Peel
The Secret of Dragonhome is another book from my earlier years. The hero in this novel is the first fictional man I fell in love with (this was before I’d met Mr. Darcy). My love of him foreshadowed my future love affair with Mr. Darcy, as he is also the tall, dark, handsome, and brooding type. Not to mention it has dragons, a woman who can speak to animals, and an epic war. This book is one of my all time favorites!
If there was ever a novel where I truly identify with the main character, it is Jane Eyre. I guess it is partly because I also really relate to the author as well. I can understand living inside one’s head and being very introverted. This is one of those books where I don’t have to dream what it is like or wish I was like the heroine, because I already recognize a large part of myself in her. It is rather enlightening to read about someone like yourself. Think of it as an exploration into one’s own soul. I can see what is on the other side of the figurative mirror.
In college I read The Mysteries of Udolpho for the first time. I had to read it for a class on Gothic literature. Let me tell you, this book is long! I thought I would never get through it when I first read it. I have a good friend who can verify this, as she also had to read the great tome. It was one of those books that seemed to inch along at first, each page taking an eternity to get through. But then, at some point that I still cannot pinpoint, it became fascinating and I couldn’t put it down. I’ll admit this is something very rare for me to experience with a book that I have had to read for a class. I think it has something to do with being made to read the book rather than choosing it at random in a bookstore. So, back to the point. All of a sudden, I was obsessed with the novel. Maybe that is why it was so popular at the time it was written. It became one of my favorite novels. However, oddly enough, the beginning still always seems interminable, but then I somehow get sucked in and can’t put it down.
Have you ever read something so many times that the story seemed to expand into something bigger than simple pages glued together? I read Dealing With Dragons not too long after I first learned to read. Now, let me first add that I’ve always been a voracious reader, reading far above my age level even when I first learned. So, my reading choices from an early age are a bit odd. I probably should have been reading something like Winnie the Pooh, but I raced past that and onto mainstream fantasy early on. As you can probably tell from my list, I’ve been in love with the genre ever since. Well, I’ve read this book so many times that it’s grown into a living being, another member of my family. It has it’s own personality and identity, almost like a favorite quirky aunt or uncle. This is not simply a book about a princess who decides to run away and become a dragon’s assistant. It is a living being, it’s place in my memory secured among my memories of family members and friends. Does this even make sense? Well, whether or not it does, that’s why I’m thankful for this book. Essentially, it is like a cherished family member.
Beowulf played a big part in my college studies. I can still remember the hours I spent studying the text. At the time, I didn’t quite appreciate the importance it would have in my life. Beowulf was one of the first texts I studied in my medieval literature class. I didn’t know it then, but it would shape where my studies went from then on. Beowulf led me to my interest in studying fairy tales and folklore, what I consider my forte. This is text has influence where I haven chosen to go in my life and the path I’ve taken to where I am now as a writer. I guess I’d call it the catalyst that sent me in the direction I’m going in now. That’s a pretty heavy burden for one book, so it seems right that I give my thanks.
When I was a child I would pretend that I had magical powers, could travel between different worlds, and was not of this human realm. I guess you might call someone like that a fairy. So, yeah, I used to pretend I was a fairy…I had a very active imagination. When I came across the book Tithe about a girl who thinks she is human and turns out to be a fairy, I was immediately sucked in. It brought me back to those days when I could imagine myself as something more, something magical. I think it’s important not to lose that part of one’s self. So many of us are focused on growing up and becoming an adult, but we shouldn’t forget those days when we believed in the fantastic. Let’s try not to completely lose that innocence and the precious gem of a child’s imagination. This book helps me remember to stop and be a kid once in a while.
I’ve always been a fantasy fan, but was very wary of anything remotely frightening when I was younger. I preferred to stick within the boundaries of the safe and sound, never venturing into the darkness. With Sabriel I gained an appreciation for exploring the dark and scary monsters in the night, letting my heart speed up just a bit. I found out it was exciting and somewhat exhilarating to be a little scared. It also elevated the journey back to the happy ending. Not that I’m now a great horror fan, but it made me appreciate the addition of a little horror into a story. Sabriel elevated my reading material to a new, more complex level that I hadn’t dared venture into previously. After all, you need the dark to appreciate the light.
Now, I know these are technically many works of literature, but I’m including it in my list anyways. The Grimm’s fairy tales have had a major influence on me. At first they were just tales that I enjoyed reading and hearing. I didn’t think about them very seriously as something that would be central to my life as a reader and a writer. They were my favorite Disney films, the stories I would ask my mother to tell me before bedtime. In college they became something more. I had a professor, who I will be forever grateful to, suggest that I choose a fairy tales as the subject for a paper. This was the beginning of my great love affair with folklore and fairy tales. I couldn’t stop at one paper. I went on to study them throughout college, and write numerous papers on these tales from my childhood. They have grown into a dominating force in my personal writing, as well as a piece of my everyday life. I can see fairy tales in everything I do and experience. They’ve kept my imagination alive and thriving, and shaped who I am today. I think that definitely deserves my thanks.
What pieces of literature are you thankful for this holiday season? Sound off below…
Take a look at my Top 20 Folk Tale Adaptations in Literature.
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