My friend Loryn recently challenged me to make a list of 10 books that impacted me in some way. I put off completing the challenge thinking that it would be hard to come up a list of 10(!) influential books. But as I started thinking back and looking at the books on my shelves, this list came together quite quickly.
The Bible – This an obvious choice since I’m a Christian. This book guides my daily living and thinking.
Living Room by June Jordan - This collection of political poems opened me up to the world at large as a teen -- from conflicts in Guatemala to the plight of raped women here in America, it gives a glimpse of the troubles plaguing the world beyond one’s own backyard.
The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan –I find myself really relating to this tale of an first generation American trying to understand her immigrant mother as I try to forge a friendship with my mom as an adult.
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison – This haunting story of a child growing up in a dark, despairing world deep inside of the inner city has really stuck with me since I first read this book over 10 years ago.
At Home in the World: Collected Writings from the Wall Street Journal by Daniel Pearl and edited by Helene Cooper – I like reading books written by foreign correspondents and Daniel Pearl, the first foreign correspondent to be beheaded by terrorists, in my opinion is the most creative and courageous of overseas reporter of them all. Reading his articles, it is obvious that Pearl wrote with passion, wide-eyed curiosity and above all, a strong desire to follow the story were ever it leads.
Selected Poems of Langston Hughes – I go back this collection again and again because of the great mix of poems. These works are at once romantic, transatlantic and cultural aware.
The Graves Are Not Yet Full: Race, Tribe and Power in the Heart of Africa by Bill Berkeley – In high school, I participate in a model United Nations program where we simulated international discussion about the blood diamond conflict in Sierra Leone. I have been intrigued by this conflict ever since. Berkeley, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, lays out a detailed time line of Charles Taylor and renegade army the RUF’s evil reign through thorough research, personal accounts from victims and interviews with local officials and even rebel soldiers.
The Big Guy Upstairs: You, Him and How it All Works by Rob Strong – The spiritual transition from believing in God as a dutiful child who has no choice but go to church with your parents to being a Christian as an adult living in the real world is tough. It is easy to embrace cynicism. Strong’s book embraces the doubts we all have and makes a practical, reasonable cased for God and faith.
The Fruitful Wife: Cultivating a Love Only God Can Produce by Hayley DiMarco – Marriage is a HUGE adjustment. Some days you feel the wedded bliss; others you are ready to jump ship. Sometimes you feel the manic shift from wedding bliss to “abandon ship!” all in one day. DiMarco’s no holds barred book helps wives get through the rough patches and find emotional stability. THANK YOU!
I am Malala by Malala Younsafzai with Patricia McCormick – I first was intrigued with Malala’s plight after reading a entry from her anonymous diary in the news. Then she survived being shot by the Taliban and delivered a remarkable speech at the UN. In her book you see that despite her poignant speeches, Malala is a girl who loves watching TV, gossiping with friends and dreaming about being either a doctor or a politician. But how do you become a doctor or politician with a culture that undervalues women and invading extremists who preach that girls must stop going to school after age 10. It’s beautiful how Malala’s normal girlhood dreams led her to became an accidental activist.
What books have you inspired you? What’s your list 10 most impactful books? Post your list or link to a list on your blog or Facebook page in the comment section below.
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