Dear fellow Babblers,
Hello there and happity-dappity Tuesday! Today has been a wonderfully humid day here in New York but that is not to say that it has not been a day filled with wonders, blessings and hope. I moved here less than twenty four hours ago, having arrived at JFK Sunday evening, heading straight to Upper Manhattan. Between then and now I have visited the greater half of Brooklyn, Harlem, Queens and much of Manhattan in search of an apartment. Being a first timer in New York the areas and neighborhoods as listed online meant nothing to me. It wasn’t until I found myself sitting in the subway watching the turns, entries, and exits through different parts of the city that the anxiety and suddenly realization would kick in that I had absolutely no idea where I was going and where I would end up. Just when I was at my wits end, pulling my hair out, screaming in my pillow, very near tears last night I found my new home. I moved into my cozy little room early this morning and since then have gotten to know my neighborhood and even found a job not even a two minute walk from my bedroom window.
Officially now living here in New York, thinking back to a little over a year ago when I graduated from UCLA and everything that I have seen, done and felt since then feels like many moons backwards. Between getting through emotional hardships, making difficult career decisions and living out of a suitcase, as of lately I have been reminiscing upon my life: childhood, adolescence and early adult and while all that I have mentioned peeks into my mind, I can’t help but also connect many of my memories to some titles that I have read whose story continues to live on within me. And that is why today I am here, after this very long introduction to take part in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl which discusses all things bookish, bringing together book bloggers from all over the world. I usually don’t do these memes as I like to keep each of my posts original and just, you know, stick with my own vibes as my writing always reflects what is going on in my mind and life regardless of it is a book review or life update. However, feeling the way I am at the moment, nostalgic and dozing off to another time, this week’s topic seems just what I need.
The purpose of today’s Top Ten Tuesday is to bring back to conscious those special titles that gave you all the feels, evoking your sensory emotions, becoming a part of who you are, keeping a special place in your heart. Whether it be books read repeatedly during adolescence, those you read once during a road trip but made you feel a way you never had before, or even those you read during an airplane ride thinking you were just trying to escape the blabber mouth lady sitting next to you. Whatever the time, place and reason, these books are, in and of themselves proof of the life a book can take in each and every one of us.
Top 10 Books With Sensory Memories
Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre
I read this book a couple of years ago while I was still a UCLA student. I was going through some personal issues and my hopes for well being and happiness were quickly dwindling; very close to absolute nothingness in my heart. I was feeling lost, alone and resentful at myself for not being stronger and at the world for leaving me weak. I picked up Nausea for no other reason than curiosity in the famous existentialist of twentieth century French thought. …Oh, and also because it was only a buck at the used bookstore.
This novel, an essential work of philosophy did not give me all the answers I was searching for but gave reason to my feelings of solitude and left me with questions of existence that took me away from fear and more towards the side of discovery.
A Wild Swan: And Other Tales by Michael Cunningham
A series of retellings of some of our favorite childhood fairytale classics such as Hansel & Gretel and Jack & the Beanstock only this time, with a dark and horrific twist. The imagination behind this short collection along with that of the illustrator’s is timeless and I still, whenever in need of a pick-me-up sort of read, turn back to these short stories.
The French Gardener by Santa Montefiore
I wrote my high school book report on this read. Passing by my towering bookshelf I still tend to linger over this beautiful book of love, deception, and the prevailing value of family. This story jumps between the members of a broken family starving of love, following their paths to heart break and the painful path of recovery. This love story is beautiful in so many ways and makes it only my top ten list because not only does it remind me of the fragility of family but also eloquently explores the trials and errors of love.
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Now here is a classic I can and never will get enough of. Carroll’s imagination and the thematics running through the entire story are genius. Imagination and it’s disappearance that comes with growing up is a sad period in every child’s life that he or she never seems to fear when it happens but longs for when the time has past. I mean, that’s at least how it was; is, for me. Alice in Wonderland renders nonsense, fantasy and La-La Land just as important in life as all the other nonsense seeming to control us every day as adults – money, success, education.
A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
I can definitely go against the tradition of all bibliophiles out there an say: “I have a favorite book, Okeki’s A Tale for the Time Being“. Another read that took me through my trip to Madrid a couple of years ago, and I don’t regret missing out on a lot of sight seeing to sit in the most American café, Starbucks, all day to get a taste of some Japanese literature (its been on my bucket list forever to start reading more works from Japanese writers, whether it be contemporary works, classics, or even philosophy). When I think back to this trip I took, during a cold and lonely Christmas alone in the foreign country, I am not reminded of having spent the “happiest” time of the year without friends or family in a place unknown but rather am taken back to cozy afternoons with a soy Gingerbread Latte and Nao’s (the protagonist of the novel) words echoing in my mind.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This book defines what every one of us has gone through at one point in our lives or another. The reality of growing up: pretty and cool in Hollywood films but not too much up close. The mental health issues, grief, traumas that shape up into who we are are one of the prevailing thematics in this book. A clear and full exploration of the teenage mind that provokes, at least for me, everything that I was, did and thought during my adolescence and how it has affected and lead to many of the decisions and perspectives on life even today.
Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
Starting and ending in wound and heartbreak Girl in Pieces is a raw and dark story on mental illness. It left me sad and with an achingly sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Everything, I mean EVERYTHING that happens is shattering. At times I found it tough to continue and would not even go out in public but stay home, in bed to read – it ruined me that badly. Relationships, mindset, health; once again: EVERYTHING is toxic and nothing happens that should be but takes mental illness in all it’s forms to the utter extreme leaving the reader in pieces.
Rosie Colored Glasses by Brianna Wolfson
I originally read this book in ARC format and from the very first chapter was drawn in by the sensuality and emotion involved in each character. This story is a love story but unlike any that I have every before encountered – marital, parental, friendship are all equally turned against one another as a family fights to stay together only to realize their love turns them against each other even more. This is yet another tale of mental illness and the steps a character takes into mental decline until they reach the point of giving up, losing all hope in, well, hope.
As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti
I did not like this book in any way, shape or form. It only made it’s way to my Top Ten list because of the idea behind it. This is a book about wishing and the risks and dangers of committing to a wish that is sure to come true. We all think we know what we want more than anything and what will make us most happy but putting such dreams into words ? Can we though? And what happens if we don’t phrase our dreams correctly ? Are any of our dreams really achievable ? When does wishing overstep into our lives and become our destiny, or even fate ? This is just some of what I was thinking while reading as the book itself was a great bore.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Whenever I think about my life and who I am (yes I really do go deep into my own mind) I often find myself thinking about the story of the Little Prince. The delicate nature of our innocence and the dangers that come with losing it. I’m reminded not to take every little thing so seriously and instead to never stop dreaming even in the most frightening and dull of times. Because once dreams stop life becomes just that…life.
Any thoughts? Anyone care to share those titles that similarly left them all touchy feely and nostalgic for better or maybe even worse times in their lives ? Whether your childhood, adolescence or you before now, what are some memories related with stories ?
(Book image credits go to Goodreads)