We all have that one – the one that got away but still stays in the back of our mind. Yeah, I’m talking about a book; maybe the one that inspired your love of reading or really brought you to a land far far away. We always think of it. Below are our books that have stayed with us among others. Enjoy the literary flashback!
Editor-in-Chief Sara: The Giver by Lois Lowry- of course!
I will always love this book and it is truly a story that inspired me to write my own adventures. Through the years I’ve gone through many copies, some tattered testing the time, others brand new but lost in moves. Somehow there is always an opportunity to buy it again and move through the pages, reading and realizing something new about the story. The words may be the same since its publication, but it means something different to me each time I read it. Right now, it’s all about the transition into a new life, for the better and seeing things differently than I once had.
There is one simple rule I have with The Giver, and I’m not entirely sure why, but I have to have a physical copy, no e-books allowed. Maybe it’s the feel of holding the book or the nostalgia of reading it before it became electronic. The magic isn’t the same. Either way, the book is the first, outside children’s books, when I was young that made me feel and think about for years, trying to decode the ending, what I would have done in Jonas’s shoes, the concept of a world without choices. It’s a beautifully written book with some extremely heavy subject matter that made a huge impact on my life and set an extremely high standard – one that I still have today when choosing new books.
Another added appeal? It was banned (but I read it anyway- take that society!). This book should not be banned. It’s an amazing moral story that shouldn’t be kept from anyone, especially young minds.
Editor Sandy: Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
When I was asked to choose one book that has stayed with me, it was a difficult decision since there are so many interesting books out there that have changed my life. I think the one book that keeps finding its way back into my life is Le Petit Prince or The Little Prince as many know it by from its various translations.
Despite it being a “children’s book” (it’s difficult to put the book in this category, given its appeal to people of all ages and the important messages it sends about life and friendship), I first happened on the book when I was in high school. It was required reading for the French class I was taking, and it was the first book I remember being required to purchase while I was in public schooling. The strange thing is, we never read it during that class because the teacher went on maternity leave and her temporary replacement had us learning French politics and reading French news instead. I do remember having a French class discuss this book, though, so at some point in my French studies, between 6th grade through college, it was on the reading list.
Well, I had the book, and the book had an enticing cover, so I still read it. Despite my years of learning French, I went to the local library (where I now happen to work) to find an English translation to enjoy. The poor copy I borrowed was severely water damaged, and when I returned it, I was told I would need to pay to replace it. Luckily I ended up not having to pay, but really, there were more strange coincidences preventing me from reading this book than any other book I’ve ever read. And the story doesn’t end there.
When I was in college, I was visiting a bookstore in Boston with my friends, both who now live out of state, when I came upon a Kathleen Woods translation of The Little Prince. The book found me again and now sits on one of my bookshelves. The story has become an old friend of mine, much like how the fox in the story becomes friends with The Little Prince. It’s a story that stays with you, a story that teaches you to understand new ideas, even when you’re thrust into the grown-up world and have to adult. It’s about having imagination, living, loving. It’s timeless, forever young and relevant, and that’s what I think we writers aim for. To be relevant forever, to have our names printed on the cover of a book and have that name be looked at generations later and have those eyes recognize that name.
Editor Joe: The Forest Wife by Theresa Tomlinson
When Editor Sara first suggested this idea – the books that stay with us, the stories that visit late at night when we can’t stop staring into the blackness of our bedroom ceilings – this book popped into my thoughts instantly.
The story centers around May, a 15-year-old peasant who suddenly finds herself an orphan and, due to the oppressive regime, must make a choice: either marry a stranger or face the executioner. She chooses a third idea, flee into the forest. Once there, May finds safety in a witch’s house and learns that many other villagers are struggling under the land’s ruling. The story is basically a retelling of Robin Hood but from a poor Maid Marian perspective.
For me, the story sticks for a number of reasons. It’s my earliest memory of a female-driven story. May isn’t hindered by her gender nor does she ignore it. She’s kind and compassionate but assertive and willing to voice her opinions during discussions. She also doesn’t let the love she feels for Robin Hood sway her mind. May was my first real feminist protagonist and definitely shaped how I view female characters.
Another reason this story sticks out to me is because it’s one of the first books my sister shared with me. Reading and discussing The Forest Wife with her showed me how books and stories connect people. It may have been a simple story, but reading it shaped my worldview.
So what book is always with you?