Happy Thanksgiving to all of our wonderful readers! We here at DG are extremely grateful to those of you who take time out of your day to read our words every week. In the mood of Thanksgiving, we’ve pieced together this collaboration post about the books we are most grateful to have read.
Caitlin Walsh’s Picks
The book I am most grateful for is The Giver by Lois Lowry. It was the first book I was assigned to read when I started at Boston Latin School and I devoured it over the weekend. It kindled my love of science fiction and dystopian genres. Even though it’s extremely soft sci-fi as all the technology is off screen, I still count it as my favorite sci-fi novel. I have read and re-read The Giver as well as the companion books that set up a loose quartet: Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son. Though the book is geared to young adults and won the 1994 Newbery Medal, adults can get as much out of it, if not more. Many of the themes stood out more once I reread it. If you haven’t encountered this book yet you should definitely move it to the top of your list.
Sarah Wanger’s Picks
There are many books that I’m beyond thankful for: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, The Unicorn Chronicles, Tintin, The Great Gatsby, etc., the list goes on. But the book I’ve read most recently that impacted me the most is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
What a stunning book. I’ve never been able to loathe a character but still have so much hope for them until I read this book. Victor Frankenstein is a flawed individual, but he sees everything he’s doing as correct. The monster is so tragic — all he wants is to be loved.
I can’t put into words what this book has done to me. I read it for a class I’m taking on Romanticism, and it’s the first college academic book I cannot WAIT to get the chance to re-read. There’s SO MUCH in it! And it’s also secretly a feminist book (stay tuned for my article coming out about that later this month!).
Carly O’Connell’s Picks
One book I am grateful for is My Child is Back! by Ursula Powel. I had the opportunity to meet the author of this heart-wrenching holocaust-survivor memoir when I was in grade school. In fact, Ms. Powel was one of several strong women and men who survived the horrors of the Holocaust that I have had the fortune to meet, but I know that the next generation will not have such opportunities. All that will be left of the personal stories of those survivors will be books like this one, reminding us that every one of the millions of people who suffered in that historic event were more than just numbers on a page — they were individuals with stories and personal experiences, each unique from the rest. So I am grateful to Ms. Powel and others like her for reliving the worst days of their lives in order to put them down on paper so that the rest of the world might understand their experiences for years to come.
The second book I am most grateful for is Emilie Autumn’s The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls — In this work of art, part memoir, part fiction, musician/actress/poet Emilie Autumn describes her experience with the modern mental health industry, juxtaposing it against a Victorian insane asylum in order to expose flaws in the system that still have not been fixed. I loved her for her music first, but when I heard she wrote a book that served as a bridge between her latest two albums and a plot for the Broadway musical she dreams to create, I knew it would be something very special. The book begins with her voluntary hospitalization after a suicide attempt, and the subsequent isolation and mistreatment she undergoes, causing her to escape into a fantasy world set in Victorian England. I am grateful for all of the art — whether music, film, or written — that Emilie Autumn has brought into my life, and thus I am grateful for the strength she showed in fighting her depression, fighting to survive, and fighting to turn the terrible things life has thrown at her into something beautiful.
Kayla Farber’s Picks
I am thankful for two books above everything else I’ve read. I’m thankful for an anthology called Geektastic and Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races.
The concept for Geektastic was conjured by Holly Black and Cecil Castelucci who spent a convention pondering what would happen if a Klingon cosplayer woke up next to a Jedi during a con weekend. Well, they wrote that story; it’s the first in the book. Each author wrote a story about being a geek. John Green, Sara Zarr, Cassandra Clare all wrote about what it’s like for young adults to be geeky. Many of these stories reminded me of myself or someone I know. And that, to me, was huge! It’s one thing for an author to write a romance I can invest in, or create a fantasy world I can also want to live in, but for Libba Bray to write about the emotions of going to a Rocky Horror shadow cast, and that’s the story, it must mean as much to her as it does to me. I have had my copy of Geektastic signed by ten out of the seventeen authors/illustrators involved (and even got Cory Doctorow to sign his blurb on the back), and it’s always my favorite book to bring to a signing because the authors love their story in it just as much as I do. This was the only physical book I brought when I studied in England. Whenever I’ve moved, it’s been in the first box of books packed. This book means so much to me.
The other book I am super grateful for is The Scorpio Races, and that’s because it’s just so darn good. I know this is a good book, because whenever I try explaining it to people, everything feels completely real in my head, but I can’t describe it properly, and my explanations are never good enough. “It’s about people living on an island who catch and race horses that live underwater…” “It’s a modern eich uisce story… Okay, you have no idea what that means.” Until I basically end up buying the book for people and telling them, “You’ll get it. Just start reading.” This book features one of Maggie Stiefvater’s greatest talents, making fantasy not feel like fantasy. After reading this book, I know the island it takes place on. I know the people who live there. I have eaten their delicacies. I read this book for the first time several years ago, and to this day, when I think of what the characters went through, I have a physical reaction. Thinking about Puck having to race makes me breathe a little faster, thinking about Sean having to give up Corr makes me panic. The writing and character development in this book is astoundingly good, and I’ve never read anything else like it.
Note: The Scorpio Races is being made into a movie as we announced a little while ago. We can’t wait to see if it lives up to the book!
Have you got a book you’re grateful for this Thanksgiving? Let us know in the comments!