The story behind the seven

Recently a friend on social media tagged me in a post about books. It asked to post the covers of seven books I loved over the course of seven days. No review of any sort or an explanation as to why I loved them. Just the covers.

BOOKS? I’m in.

NO EXPLANATION? You’re killing me, social media.

I played by the rules. Posted the covers of seven of my favorite books with no reason as to why I love them. But I couldn’t let it rest. I needed to tell people why I love those books and why it was difficult to narrow it down to only seven.

So here are my choices, in the order they appeared (which was originally supposed to be in the order I read them, but I messed up at the end).


JImage may contain: one or more people and textames and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

I love nearly everything by Roald Dahl and have read his books to myself, to my students, and to my kids. They are fun to read and full of quirky examinations of humanity. James has always held a special place in my heart. In first grade we had a student teacher named Miss Church. She read the book to us and I fell in love. It is a story of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds with a bit of magic and a fantastic swirl of adventure.

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We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Most people recognize author Shirley Jackson from her short story, The Lottery. I can’t remember if it was the story that led me to her, or the collection of books in my grandmother’s basement. I read the book in ninth grade, loved the dark, twisty tale, and went on to seek out every Shirley Jackson book I could find. She died young, so unfortunately there aren’t many. And back in the early 90’s when there was no world wide web to browse, I would spend hours in second hand bookstores searching for her work. I love everything about Shirley Jackson; her wry wit, the way she satirizes suburbia, and the darkness that creeps its way into her stories. My personal copy of the book is worn and well-loved, and I will never part with it.

Image may contain: textCat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood

Atwood is another author on my top faves list. I dare you to read one of her books and not be completely taken in by the voice. I was first introduced to her in AP English with The Handmaid’s Tale. Hubs was actually surprised I didn’t pick that one as one of my favorites. Maybe because when I read Cat’s Eye the words spoke to me so clearly, as if Margaret Atwood had taken up residence in my brain. I read it in college during a time when I was discovering who I was as a woman and as a feminist. It is currently on my TBRA (To Be Read Again) list–I’m curious how life will have changed my perspective.

Image may contain: outdoor and natureWalk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

I talked about my love for this book in my post, November book report. It is heartwarming, and sweet, and sad, and it reminds me of my former middle school students who are all in their twenties now and I wonder how they’re doing and look I feel like crying again.

Image may contain: textHunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Text message from sister back in 2009: Have you heard of Hunger Games? So good.
Me: Can’t talk, reading.

I remember calling it The Lottery meets Survivor. I remember devouring it. I remember hiding my copy of Catching Fire so I could read it before my husband. There’s not much else to say. If you haven’t read the series, what exactly are you waiting for?

Image may contain: 3 people, textMacbeth by William Shakespeare

There are fights in my house over the merit of Shakespeare. (Hubs doesn’t read my blog. He admitted that in front of a bunch of our friends last night. So he won’t read that he is wrong when he says Shakespeare is not worth reading. Dead wrong. There is a reason Willy S is still taught in high school and performed all over the world.)

The Scottish play is my favorite. I loved it when I first read it in high school and even more when I got to perform as one of the witches in college, and even more when I taught it to a bunch of high schoolers and we turned individual scenes into mini stage plays and performed them for other classes. (If you look closely you can see the pink post-it notes indicating each class’s section.) I can recite full passages from memory. And in an alternate universe where I decided to become a stage actress, I would perform as Lady Macbeth and the audience would be moved by my portrayed insanity.

Image may contain: one or more people and textHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

The seventh cover was SUCH A DIFFICULT DECISION. I walked over to our bookshelf and pulled down book after book that I loved. Held them against my chest and thought fondly of our time together. I’m weird, okay?

I chose HP4 because even though I’m not exactly crazy about this cover, I remember staying up all night at my friend’s cabin reading it. The series was amazing, but book four is the one that sticks with me the most. I love how Hermoine works to figure out who she is and what she wants, and the tournament makes it a complete page turner.

There were a lot of runners-up, and I’m always on the lookout for the next book that will shift my perspective and make me think about it long after I close the cover.

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