“You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” -Charlie Jones
That’s a pretty big responsibility for the books I choose to determine who I become in five years. So, although I was 6 short of my 30 books challenge for 2014, the 24 books I have now added to the substance that comprises my future self is worth a look back on. Here’s what I’ve learned from some of them, in brief.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Books are magic. No matter how young, how small, how powerless you are and may appear to be, with courage, kindness and a little bit of tricks up your sleeve, you can change your fate.
The Circle by Dave Eggers
Google is evil and planning world domination. I still want to work for them.
Also, stories don’t always have to end with the protagonist seeing the light and doing the right thing. They could be written to be just like us: foolish, gullible, and insufferable.
World War Z by Max Brooks
Don’t automatically write off things that you think you might not enjoy. Always give it a try before stubbornly refusing it.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
It’s OK to not like a classic. It’s OK to not grasp its depth. All the more reason to return to it when you are ready to. Or not. If you really didn’t like it and didn’t find much value, move on. That’s alright too.
Factory Girls by Leslie T. Chang
“They” are not mere numbers. “They” have girlish quirks, aspirations, midnight conversations, outlooks just like I do. We are simply born to different life circumstances and environments which have made one fortunate and one not. Immensely humbling.
Harry Potter VI & VII by JK Rowling
You are never too old to read this. It is not just some children’s series. Stop taking yourself so seriously and give it a whirl.
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
Everyone you meet has their struggles, some heartbreaking and tragic, others small but no less profound. So always stay open, and listen.
On Writing by Stephen King
If I ever have the courage to pen my own story, this will be the book I return to for guidance and inspiration.
The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland
Stories don’t have to take place in extraordinary places filled with otherworldly adventures. Sometimes, the most ordinary spaces house the best tales. Sometimes, a Staple’s store can contain the most ordinary, extraordinary people. What matters are the writing and the thoughts of the characters, the small details that makes you pay attention.