Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m Thankful For

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Thanksgiving freebie — tell us what you are thankful for! Books you are thankful for!

As someone who’s been a reader my whole life, I’ve read a lot of books. Obviously. But there’s only a handful of those books that have actually changed me, moved my insides around and gave me a new outlook on life. I will forever be thankful for those books for making me who I am today, and I couldn’t be more excited to list them here for you.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I’m sure this one is obvious, but I will never be able to properly express the way I feel about this series. I’ve always been someone who reads, but Harry Potter made me a reader. Harry Potter made me a voracious reader. Growing up with Harry and the crew put magic into my life and I’ll never forget that.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. A friend recommended this book to me my freshman year of college, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Meeting Charlie was exactly what I needed to come out of my shell and find myself in college. I’ve read this book more times than I can count and every single time I do, it means something else to me.

The Falls

The Falls by Ian Rankin. The first time I read The Falls, I was just a few months away from spending a month in Scotland for the very first time. I fell in love with the idea of Scotland in the book and I couldn’t wait to see it. The first time I walked across the North Bridge, which is part of a big scene in the book, I was filled with a sense of belonging and happiness and contentedness that I’d never felt. I went on to read every single book that Ian Rankin had written and wrote my senior honors thesis on his books and Edinburgh within them.

The Humans by Matt Haig     Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

The Humans by Matt Haig. At some point in every person’s life, they feel like an outsider, like an alien from another planet that no one understands. This book came at a time in my life when I felt like that, and it’s there for me every time I feel like that. It reminds me that I’m alive and I’m human and everything will be okay.

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig. Why, yes, I do have two books by Matt Haig on this list. Both of these books came at a time in my life when I really needed it. I read Reasons to Stay Alive at exactly the right time. Reading about Matt’s struggles with anxiety and depression helped me to understand my own more. It helped me to find hope and to find ways to hold on through the hurricane I was in.

The Incredible Book Eating Boy Cover

The Incredible Book-Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers. I think by now you all know I’m a little bit obsessed with Oliver Jeffers books. I first read this a few weeks after starting at my first library. It reignited my love of picture books, reminding me that they are happy things, easily digested for when things are tough and you just. need. to. finish. a. book.

What books changed your life?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Quotes from the Past Year

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Top Ten Quotes I Loved From Books I Read In The Past Year Or So

“When you were born, you cried while the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries while you rejoice.” Mosquitoland by David Arnold

“I will be STRONGER than my sadness” My Heart & Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

“Life is waiting for you. You might be stuck here for a while, but the world isn’t going anywhere. Hang on in there if you can. Life is always worth it.” Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

“No, Lila had been running toward something. Something better. And even if she hadn’t reached it yet. She would.”

AND

“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.” A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

“Because there’s no denying it now. I’m in the world
And, too, the world is in me.” Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

“Don’t feel bad for one moment about doing something that brings you joy.” A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

“I fall a little bit in love with everyone.” Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

“Quick, make a wish.
Take a (second or third or fourth) chance.
Remake the world.”  I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

“So now live for real, Craig. Live. Live. Live. Live.
Live.” It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

What are some of your favorite book quotes?

Book Review: Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive is beautiful, open, honest, genuine, brave, and hopeful. It should be read by everyoneReasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haigif you’ve been depressed, are depressed, know someone who is/has been depressed. Honestly, if you are alive, this book is for you.

Author:  Matt Haig

Genre: Autobiography, memoir

Publisher: Canongate Books

Publication Date: March 5, 2015

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

Have you ever had a book that you were simultaneously unable to wait for and very scared of reading? That was Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive [Matt is the author of The Humans, which you should ALL know by now that I LOVE].  I’m sure you can tell from the title a little of what it’s about, and you may or may not have been able to guess why I was nervous to read it if you’re a regular reader of my blog. I have never said this outright on my blog, but I am depressed. I have depression. I am a depressive. Do you know how terrified I am to say that on my blog? Petrified. But I’m going to say it because it will make it that much more clear why I needed and appreciated this book. From the very moment I heard about it, I needed it. And thankfully, because I interned at the amazing Canongate Books a couple of years ago, I was able to get an early, digital copy of this one and didn’t have to wait the several weeks it’s going to take for my UK pre-order to get here (though I’m still quite looking forward to my physical copy).

I read this entire book in roughly 4.5 hours. I devoured it. I also cried more than I have probably EVER cried while reading a book. But I also smiled. Maybe not a lot, but it happened. The synopsis says “It’s also an upbeat, joyous and very funny exploration of how to live better, love better, read better and feel more.” I was pleased to find that to be very true. I felt a lot reading this book. I like that Matt mentioned that not everyone’s depression is the same, that you can be both happy and sad at the same time (“just as you can be a sober alcoholic”), and how most people will not be able to see it:

To other people, it sometimes seems like nothing at all. You are walking around with your head on fire and no one can see the flames.

My heart pounded so HARD in my chest practically the entire time I was reading, just as it is beating hard just writing this all down.

Reasons this book made me cry:

– My own sadness and depression
– Matt’s battle with depression
– The feeling that someone could so completely understand me
– The fact that I HATE that I could relate to so much of the book
– The fact that I DON’T WANT to relate to any of it
– The “My Symptoms” section – I related to so many of these that it was a little horrifying. One of them – “A sense of being disconnected, of being a cut-out from another reality”
– “You are on guard to the point of collapse every single moment, while desperately trying to keep afloat, to breathe the air that the people on the bank all around you are breathing as easily as anything.”
– “Minds have their own weather systems. You are in a hurricane. Hurricanes run out of energy eventually. Hold on.”

Matt said at one point he hoped someone else would read his words and that maybe the pain he felt wasn’t for nothing. I know it wasn’t for nothing, but THANK YOU, Matt, for writing this book, for being brave and open and honest, for showing me I wasn’t alone no matter what the depression told me, for telling me that life will wait for me, for The Humans, for all of your words, for being alive.

Let’s get down to the bottom line, shall we? Read this book. Read this book because you have emotions and hopes and feelings. Read this book because you are human and because you are alive. Read this book to live. Reasons to Stay Alive is a celebration of life, books, words, and humanity.

Rating: Honestly, this book defies ratings. How can you rate a book like this? However, I’m sure you can tell that this book will occupy my favorites shelf right next to The Humans forever.

Waiting on Wednesday: Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

Publisher: Canongate Books

Author: Matt Haig

Release date: March 5, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads:

‘I want life.
I want to read it and write it and feel it and live it.
I want, for as much of the time as possible in this blink-of-an-eye existence we have, to feel all that can be felt.
I hate depression. I am scared of it. Terrified, in fact. But at the same time, it has made me who I am. And if – for me – it is the price of feeling life, it’s a price always worth paying’

Reasons to Stay Alive is about making the most of your time on earth. In the western world the suicide rate is highest amongst men under the age of 35. Matt Haig could have added to that statistic when, aged 24, he found himself staring at a cliff-edge about to jump off. This is the story of why he didn’t, how he recovered and learned to live with anxiety and depression. It’s also an upbeat, joyous and very funny exploration of how live better, love better, read better and feel more.

Why I’m excited: Words can’t describe how excited I am for this book. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know how much I love Matt Haig’s book The Humans. I love it with my entire being. “Reasons to Stay Alive” is a few page chapter from that book. The Humans was Matt’s reaction to his depression at the age I currently am. I honestly don’t know what to type here. I have too many emotions swirling around inside me right now. Let’s just say that I need this book. Note that I didn’t say “want” but rather “need”. I’ll be paying international shipping and everything. I don’t care how much it costs. March can’t come soon enough.

What are you waiting on today?