Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Books that Made a Difference: Part 2

Not that anyone cares, but I am finally finishing my Books that Made a Difference: Part 1 entry.

Dean Koontz

Yes I know what you're thinking.  Dean Koontz, the fiction writer best known for his horror and mystery stories?  Yes.  To be honest, I am not sure how to describe this book.   It was read aloud to me (and all my classmates) in 8th grade by one of my favorite teachers: Susie McGee.  She believed in reading aloud, and better yet, in being read to, at any age.  Her narration was half the fun, but the fantasy and thrill in the story meant we could not wait for her to read a few more pages.   The book tells the story of toys made in a  magic workshop.  They're designed to be sent out into the world to befriend troubled or mistreated children.  Unfortunately, the magic toymaker has just died and the toys must go across town to tell an unsuspecting woman she's the new toymaker.  To make matters worse, after the original maker died, the evil toys in the sub-basement are able to come to life.   The creatures have one goal: destroying their counterparts and putting their own toymaker in charge to spread sorrow among children.

Kind of creepy, right?   This was written in 1988, long before Toy Story and Buzz and Woody were household names and made grown men cry in theaters with the release of Toy Story 3.  I'm telling you, toys speak to everyone.  We all lounged on the floor in the afternoon on beanbag chairs or pillows or wherever we could listen comfortably, and follow the mystery.   As a middle schooler, it was heaven to just sit and listen and not take notes or be tested.   Sadly, the book is out of print.   I would love a copy... maybe some day.

Life of Pi
Yann Martel

Surprisingly, neither my mother nor my best friend have read this book.  This is strange because they are both voracious readers and rarely do I find and read a book before they do.   What are they waiting for?!   This book was all the rage when it came out in 2003.   I enjoyed it and read it quickly.  Can I just say that the 'twist' at the end - if you want to call it that - floored me.   Which story do you believe?  For the record, I never once thought any of Pi's characters or events to be preposterous.   I went along for the ride and think the Japanese authorities are a bunch of fools.

The Catcher and the Rye
J.D. Salinger

Every time I think of this book the first word that comes to mind, of course, is phonies.  Like Holden, I cannot stand phonies in any situation in my life.  I cannot necessarily relate to a teenage boy in New York dealing with complex problems.  But even when I read this book the summer before 9th grade, I knew what he was talking about as he contrasted the innocence of youth with the phoniness of adulthood.   If you ask me, everyone encounters phonies throughout their lives.  Thanks to this book, I always think of Holden when I come across one.

Harry Potter Series
J.K. Rowling

Cliche?  I don't think so.   I read these books toward the beginning of their popularity, while I was in high school and home for spring break my senior year while my sister was in Paris.  Once I met the trio I was hooked and could have cared less that I was stuck at home in Ohio during a March snowstorm.  By the time book 7 came out I was living with Michael in DC.  We both wanted to read the final installment so badly that we bought 2 copies.  I was not going to stop reading to share with him.  I remember the day it came out was also the day of an eye exam for me.   We went to the exam, bought my glasses, and headed to Borders (RIP) where the copies were in reserve.   The two of us sat together on the couch for hours, stopping only for lunch (canned soup because it was fastest) and whatever we could pull together for dinner.   We both read the book in a day, and as you can imagine, there were many tears.


Hannah said...

For the record, I ABSOLUTELY care. And honestly, I don't know why I haven't read Life of Pi. I just never seem to get around to it. Have heard good things, though.

This.is.me said...

I've read the Harry Potter series before people went crazy about it. I read the books as they came out and cried like crazy while reading most of them... They're amazing!

I'll try the others, I haven't read them yet.

jennifer anderson said...

ann rice has some stories about a family of witches that you most likely would like better.