list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. They do not have to be the “right” books or great works of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way. I am taking this from Facebook, as a friend of mine left a comment on my post about learning how the books affected me, so I thought I would write about it in a blog post.

– The Bible: For any Christian, this is an important one. Even though I was raised going to church my entire life, it was not until this summer when I had to make the choice to serve God or not to, that what I was reading and heard in church became so much more real to me.

– The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama: This is a book that I read in English class freshmen year of high school. It stuck with me, and affected me, because the story is told through the main character, a young man who contracted TB and was sent to live at his grandfather’s house, that is still in the family. The young man is sent from Hong Kong to Japan during the Japanese invasion of China in the 1930’s. The main character deals with being an outcast because he is Chinese, and being in the country of his country’s enemy during a time of war. That also leaves him being the only young man his age in the area, because he is recovering from a serious disease. While he is in Japan he meets the local leper colony, and gets to know a couple of the lepers. It really opens his eyes to what it is like to be shunned by your own family, and society, because of something you have no control over. It really stuck with me, because it helped me realize and see that it takes getting out of your comfort zone, helps you learn the most about other people. It also taught me, before I even realized it, that the best way to learn about a different culture is through immersion. It also reinforced that everyone is a person, and those with disabilities are people too, and should not be treated differently than those of us who are healthy.

– The Katie Weldon Series – Robin Jones Gunn: This series really stuck with me, because I read the first three books while I was in college, and the last book came out two years after I graduated from college. For those of you who have read The Christy Miller Series, Sierra Jensen Series, and/or Todd and Christy The College Years books by Robin Jones Gunn, you will know that Katie Weldon is Christy Miller’s best friend through most of these books. This particular series centers around Katie and follows her from Todd and Christy’s Wedding at the end of her Junior year of College, through her senior year of college, and shortly after she graduates from college (so roughly covering a calender year). It affected me because I could relate to some of what was going on for Katie. Having gone through college and such. While I know the entire series is a work of fiction, it illistrates the struggles that young adults have, and that God is right there through it all. He directs our path, even when we don’t see it, and feel left in the dark, clueless and lost, God always has a plan, and his plan is better than our own. That is a lesson I have been having to learn myself.

– Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell: This is a book I have read several times over. It is one of the biggest, longest, heaviest books I have ever read. I liked it because it is a classic, as well as Historical Fiction. It is also a cautionary tale, of what I didn’t want to end up like. I found Scarlett to be a whiny, conniving spoiled, manipulative brat. Exactly what I don’t want to be.

– The Little House on the Prairie Series – Laura Ingalls Wilder: I love these books. While they are actually Historical Fiction, they are based on the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. A lot of what happens in the books are based on actual events that took place, the timeline (especially early on) is switched up, so that the story is told in a linear progression heading west, and some of the characters were based on real people or took on characteristics of two people and so on. I love the fact that the stories though are from the perspective of a girl growing up on the prairie. These books illistrate what life was like in “the old west” for a girl growing up into a young woman. The whole Oregon Trail and Westward Expansion era is my favorite era of History, and the part of history I love most is the History of the American West. All of that is wrapped up in these books. How women lived, and what their roles were, what they did, what they felt, thought and so on during this period has always fascinated me. This era, and part of history in particular is MY history, of essentially how I came to be.

– The Hunger Games Series – Suzanne Collins: This series is a popular series among teens and young adults. At first I was hesitant to read, because of its popularity, but then I got sucked into it. I couldn’t put the books down as I started reading them. I loved all three books. Why these books have stuck with me, is because throughout the series Katniss grows up a lot, and has to go through a lot of hard things, and crappy situations to learn what is important to her. The experiences she goes through shapes who she becomes, but they don’t define her. She also learns that she is at her best, when she is being herself, and doing things “her way” or that are in character for her. Those are important things we all learn. How to be ourselves, learn from our past, and not let others live our lives for us, those are all things I have had to learn, and still am learning myself.

– A High Wind in Jamaica – Richard Hughes: This book is one I read in one of my college English classes, and I was surprised I actually liked it. It is totally one of those easy yet enjoyable reads with a lot of subtext stuff that you have to read carefully for to pick up on.

– Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte: I spent an entire term in college with this boos as the focal point. It is a classic, yet greatly overlooked, British Novel. It does get greatly confusing at times, the the jest is that Girl loves Boy, Boy Loves Girl, but Girl marries different guy, Boy is devastated, yet still marries someone else (and only one character marries outside of the two main families in the book). Girl has a daughter who she names after herself, and boy has son who he names after himself (hence where it really starts getting confusing), and boy forces her daughter and his son to marry. It is weird, and having had a term to try to understand it, is part of why it sticks with me. That and the fact that I made it all the way through the novel and the term with some understanding of the book, I am a bit proud of myself.

– Marcia Schuyler – Grace Livingston Hill: I loved this book, and thought it was a sweet story. Marcia Schuyler is the main character of the book and the novel follows her journey through her first year of marriage. Her sister leaves the man she was going to marry standing at the alter for another man, so rather than have it be a scandel and have the sister’s impropriety reflect poorly on the family, Marcia marries the man her sister leaves jilted. Most of the book centers around what Marcia is going through with having married her sister’s ex, who is heartbroken and has blinders on (metaphorically) for most of the first year. Towards the end of the book, the sister shows back up, having had a failed marriage, and subsequently tries to steal back the man she stood up at the alter who is now her brother in law. Marcia’s husband finally sees Marcia’s sister for who and what she really is, and comes to his senses. He realizes that he got the better end of the deal, and that he pretty much wasted a year not loving Marcia the way he should have. During this time all of Marcia’s clothes and such were her sister’s wedding trousseau, and as an act of finally casting off the last of the cruel sister, Marcia’s husband buys her a whole new wardrobe that is all her own. It is one of these sappy love stories, but at the same time, it also shows that people are not always as they seem, and the quieter, shy ones are the ones worth getting to know, and often get passed over, but they are more than what they seem.

– Christy – Catherine Marshall: This book is based on a true story of Catherine Marshall’s mother who did go and become a teacher in a rural school. The themes of this book are teaching, rural communities, cultural differences, immersion, and that when you move to a new place, it will change you more than you will change it or them. Learning a different way of life in a new place is foreign and different for you, but you are the person/thing that is foreign wherever you go. Adapting to your surroundings is part of growing, and is what helps make us well rounded people. Being an anthropologist, even an unconscious one, is part of life, and learning about our surroundings in new places.

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