Sunday, January 15, 2012

Emlyn Chand's 2012 "Books that made me Love Reading" Challenge

I am so excited about this challenge.  Here's how it works.  This is my introduction post to why I love reading, and which books were significant in influencing the passion I have for reading (i.e the books that made me love reading).  Then as the year unfolds, I will be reading ONE old favorite each month (shown in the picture above, and in that exact order).

 After reading each one I will be posting a book review on why I loved it back then, and more importantly why I still love it, or no longer admire it as much.  It should lead to an interesting twists of events, I think.  I'm ecstatic about this challenge.  Here is a link to the challenge, if you are interested in more information, click the following: Emlyn Chand's 2012 Reading Challenge

Here's how it all started for me.

A few weeks before turning eleven years old, my family and I arrived to the U.S. from Romania.  While those eleven years are mostly vague to me, I have a few clear memories of my childhood, many of which actually do happen to be around books.  We had a library book shelf the size of a living room wall in width and height, and my father was a fan of literature.  For me, though, my fascination with books came slowly, very slowly.  At the time when I came to the U.S. I was very boyish, kept to myself, didn't have many friends, played tennis as my only outdoor sport, and often found myself journaling. I felt extremely out of place, and my home environment really didn't help in my adjustment to this new country we had just entered.  All of this led me to the world of books as my escape.  I longed to related to something of my own, and maybe to even have a source, a place from which I could possibly understand myself and my environment.  A trend began to take place in which most books I read often mirrored my state of being or reflected the condition and environment of my life at certain points in time.

My all time favorite books from childhood onward have much to do with the impact and significance they had on my stages of growth in life.  I read books to be able to related and feel part of something of my own because I was so lost in my childhood life and home life.   I found myself wanting to go beyond my own life, rather than get caught up in the warp of all the chaos happening around me.  And most of all I wanted to understand and learn more about myself, the people around me, my own environment and the possible parameters involved so that I may come to grips with something or other.

As I was reminiscing over the past to make my list of twelve books I will be reading in this 2012 Challenge, I found myself starting way back when I was Romania when I was around eight or nine years old.  I remember beginning a fascination with the Jules Verne collection, in particular Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Around the World in 80 Days  My father first introduced these books to me, as they were his favorite, and I took a liking to them because they were about space and underwater adventures.  I think it was also because I felt these books held a superiority after my father told me that Jules Verne had written these book before many intellectuals even knew of the things in them. I felt they were unique and one of a kind.  But mostly I think I really enjoyed them for their images and imagery through the writing.  I don't think I lingered on the Jules Verne series for long, and began to take a liking to The Jungle Book  by Rudyard Kipling and 'Black Beauty' by Anna Sewell.  I think from a very young age I had a inclination towards nature and animals so I felt drawn to intricate plots regarding humanity, nature, and animals.

Then I came to the US, a slew of other books were introduced to me, some of which I only partially completed, but felt drawn and impacted by them nevertheless.  The first book I came across was in seventh grade at the school library was called 'Charlotte's Web' by E.B. White.  I remember I was fascinated by the idea of an intelligent spider?  Then at the beginning of high school I was fascinated with 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' by Betty Smith.  I had a subconscious attraction to this book, it came to me at a very interesting time so much so that I could really relate to the book - being that Francie is eleven at the beginning of the book and escapes to books from her father and family during some very troubling times.  As times got worse for me I stumbled upon 'The Bell Jar' by Sylvia Plath.  I needed to understand what could become a troubled mind in a depressive state... I felt thankful for coming across this book.  Better times came and during my last semester of French we were assigned to read 'Le Petit Prince' by Antoine Saint Exupery.  To this day I continue to read this book because it is so uplifting, inspiring, and magical.  Also during my later years of high school I took a liking to two other books, 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' by James Joyce and 'Beloved' by Toni Morrison, both for their sophisticated and intelligent writing, the former for its intellectual, philosophical and ambitious qualities, the latter for the ghost, the haunting - things I could related to from events and stories from Romania.

Finally, at the end of high school, and maybe entering college I dove into fiction that was a little more difficult, both of which I barely finished, and very little understood at the time, best of all both of which made me love fiction.  All the years I took a break from reading, never picked up a book, and was caught up in a diverse of self-draining struggles I remembered these novels and how much I wanted to come back to reading.  These novels were 'Crime and Punishment' by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and 'Anna Karenina' by Leo Tolstoy.  'Crime and Punishment' was the first time I really thought about ethics and morality, the law and civil system at a more intellectual level.  'Anna Karenina' was attractive to me because I felt drawn to the subjects of family, marriage, infidelity, and a woman's struggles in life, plus I wanted to read the famous Tolstoy everyone I knew talked about.

I am going to really enjoy this challenge, I really look forward to it!

Bookserk by Author

Milan Kundera (4) Jane Austen (3) Stephenie Meyer (3) Suzanne Collins (3) Bernhard Schlink (2) F. Scott Fitzgerald (2) H.G. Wells (2) Herman Hesse (2) JRR Tolkien (2) Jules Verne (2) Khaled Hosseini (2) Paulo Coelho (2) Sam Kean (2) Stieg Larsson (2) Sylvia Day (2) A.G. Howard (1) Adam Johnson (1) Alafair Burke (1) Albert Einstein (1) Alexander Soderberg (1) Alicia Hendley (1) Amanda Hocking (1) Andre Dubus III (1) Ann Patchett (1) Aravind Adiga (1) Azar Nafisi (1) Barbara Kingsolver (1) Becky Aikman (1) Camilla Lackberg (1) Carl Sagan (1) Cat Hellisen (1) Charles Webb (1) Charlotte Bronte (1) Chinua Achebe (1) Chris Prentiss (1) Chrisanna Northrup (1) Christopher S. Stewart (1) Clare Clark (1) Clive Barker (1) Coltaire Rapaille (1) Dai Sijie (1) Daniel J. Levitin (1) Daniel Kahneman (1) Daniel Pink (1) David Foster Wallace (1) David Levithan (1) David Sedaris (1) Debra Driza (1) Domenica Ruta (1) Don Miguel Ruiz (1) Douglas Adams (1) Elie Weisel (1) Emily Bronte (1) Emlyn Chand (1) Enid Shomer (1) Epictetus (1) George Orwell (1) George R.R. Martin (1) Greg Graffin (1) Gretchen Rubin (1) Harper Lee (1) Haruki Murakami (1) Herman Koch (1) JR Moehringer (1) Jane Eyre (1) Jennifer Egan (1) Jodi Meadows (1) John Eldredge (1) John Englander (1) John Kenney (1) John Steinbeck (1) John T Cacioppo (1) Joyce Carol Oates (1) Judy Blume (1) Julia Glass (1) Karen Thompson Walker (1) Karol Jackowski (1) Kate Chopin (1) Kate Walbert (1) Katherine Boo (1) Lauren DeStefano (1) Lisa See (1) Lois Lowry (1) Lou Marinoff PhD (1) Madhulika Sikka (1) Maggie Stiefvater (1) Margot Livesey (1) Marissa Meyer (1) Martha Stout (1) Mary Roach (1) Mary Shelley (1) Meg Howrey (1) Megan Abbott (1) Natalie Babbitt (1) Nujood Ali (1) Oliver Harris (1) Paulo Giordano (1) Poet Charles Swain (1) Poet Margaret E. Sangster (1) Priscille Sibley (1) Ray Bradbury (1) Rebecca Dean (1) Richard Francis (1) Robert Louis Stevenson (1) Robert M. Pirsig (1) Rudyard Kipling (1) Sarah Gruen (1) Sharon Lebell (1) Shirley MacLaine (1) Stasi Eldredge (1) Stephen Chbosky (1) Sue Kidd Monk (1) Susan Cain (1) Susanna Calahan (1) Tara Conklin (1) Tea Obreht (1) Terri Giuliano Long (1) Thrity Umrigar (1) Victoria Hislop (1) Virginia Morell (1) Voltaire (1) Zora Neale Hurston (1)

Bookserk Globally

Bookserk by Publishing House

Harper Perennial Publishing (8) Random House Publishing (7) Crown Publishing (6) Little Brown and Company Publishing (6) Harper Publishing (4) Knopf Publishing (4) Scholastic Press Publishing (4) Vintage Publishing (4) W.W. Norton Company Publishing (4) Anchor Publishing (3) Atria Books Publishing (3) Free Press Publishing (3) HarperCollins Publishing (3) Penguin Books Publishing (3) Riverhead Books Publishing (3) Ballantine Books Publishing (2) Bantam Books Publishing (2) BarnesNoble Classics Publishing (2) Broadway Publishing (2) Harmony Publishing (2) Harper Paperback Publishing (2) Hyperion Publishing (2) Katherine Tegen Books Publishing (2) Simon and Schuster Publishing (2) William Morrow Publishing (2) Algonquin Books Publishing (1) Amber Allen Publishing (1) Amulet Books Publishing (1) Berkley Trade Publishing (1) Blue Crown Press Publishing (1) Createspace Publishing (1) Crown Business Publishing (1) Del Rey Publishing (1) Dover Publishing (1) Ember Publishing (1) Faber and Faber Publishing (1) Farrar Straus Giroux Publications (1) Feiwel Friends Publishing (1) Five Rivers Chapmanry Publishing (1) Gallery Books Publishing (1) Grand Central Publishing (1) HarperOne (1) Hill and Wang Publishing (1) Hogarth Publishing (1) It Books Publication (1) MJF Books Publishing (1) MTV books and Pocket Books Publishing (1) McGraw Hill Higher Education Publishing (1) Nelson Publishing (1) Pamela Dorman Books Publishing (1) Pantheon Publishing (1) Plaza Y Janes Publishing (1) Plume Publishing (1) Pocket Publishing (1) Puffin Publishing (1) Quill Publishing (1) Reagan Arthur Books Publishing (1) Science Bookshelf Publishing (1) Signet Classics Publishing (1) St. Martin's Press Publishing (1) Touchstone Publishing (1) Virago Publishing (1) Washington Square Press Publishing (1)