College students never procrastinate, right? Blog posts are always published on time, right?
Ergh, I hope you’re guessing the right answer. Because for all my good intentions, this post is late. Three whole days late.
But since Thanksgiving is still fresh, we’re going ahead with this lovely post. Five books I’m thankful for.
Anne of Green Gables
Anne nearly always ranks near the top. Especially when you come home from college, and watch the classic tv series the day before Thanksgiving.
It’s ok to be wordy, to bash people with slates, to dream big, to be yourself.
And finally, Anne showed me that being a redhead is incredible. Not just incredible, but practically perfect. Anne saved me from ever accidentally dying my hair green. 🙂
It took me a while to become truly thankful for the Giver. The ending was just too abrupt, the story too undefined.
But that’s what I’ve come to be most thankful for. The Giver lets you finish the story.
I’m thankful for Jonas’ innocence, the Giver’s compassion, the heartbreaking realness of the story. I’m thankful for the simplicity of the story.
We aren’t overburdened with politics, or romance, or chosen one plots.
Instead, we’re left in such a world of starkness, we long for color, for music, for life. By taking away everything frivolous, we see what we truly need.
Instead, the story drives up back to basic human hearts. Family, love, life.
The Book Thief
This book stole my breath and my heart. I’m thankful for the tender way The Book Thief is written. I’m thankful for the plot twists, the sarcasm, the bravery.
Having death narrate a story might be morbid. Ok, it is morbid. But don’t tell me that.
Because, without death, you’ve no reason to appreciate life. Death and life challenge each other. We’re all dying. We have to decide to live.
And that’s why I’m thankful for The Book Thief. It challenges me to live.
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
No list of my favorite books is really complete without some biographies. I devour well-written biographies. Books about my heroes, role models, and even villains.*
I read Hamilton in 2010 and I fell in love with this Founding Father.
James Madison is always my favorite founding father, he’s the exact opposite of me. Quiet, unassuming, bashful.
But I simply adore Hamilton. And yes, I really liked A. Ham. long before the musical. Around 4 years before the musical, in fact.
And I can prove I liked him, because I wrote about him in my diary. #nerdstatus I cataloged a careful lists of dos and don’t from Hamilton’s life
Do join a revolution. Do read a lot. Do make great political friends.
If you do something bad, do admit it. But don’t write about for the public. The Reynold’s Pamplet, anyone?
Do be passionate about what you believe. But, learn to get along with Jefferson.
Don’t publicly bash people and then fight duels about it.
Ok, I really liked Chernow’s biography. I still do. I try to reread it about every two years. And I’ll listen to the musical in-between reading.
*So, the fact that my 3rd fav bio is about Robespierre is not really creepy. Yes, I rave about how he’s misunderstood and kind of sort of admirable. But at the end of the day, I’ll admit, terrorizing Paris isn’t exactly a life goal.
Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas
To round up my list, we’ll go to my other favorite biography. This biography like to fight with Hamilton for top place. There’s two people I constantly look up to – William Wilberforce and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Wilberforce taught me how to live your faith. Fighting to abolish slavery, working in politics, writing about your faith.
Bonhoeffer taught me how to die. To live what you believe, and not be afraid to die for it.
Alot of people don’t know who Bonhoeffer is, and if we met over coffee, I could talk about him for a while. But, we’ll stick with a short summary for now.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor. He earned his doctorate in theology when he was just 21 years old. But he was too young to pastor, so he decided to study more.
He moved to America, and came to a deeper faith while living in NYC. He fell in love with African American worship, and came to see how injustice hurts the Church.
He faced a long fight when he returned to Germany.
The Nazis were in power, and they were trying to take over the German church. Dietrich tried to stop it, and he ended up splitting from the German Lutheran Church with some friends. They started their own church movement.
That didn’t go too well. The Gestapo ordered Dietrich not to pastor or teach.
During the war, Dietrich joined German conspirators working to overthrow Hitler.
He helped Jews escape from Germany, fell in love, and was arrested.
Two weeks before the end of the war, he was executed.
Here’s a more detailed short biography from the United States Holocaust Musuem on Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I’m thankful for people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I used to imagine myself resisting Nazis, or fighting against tyranny like Alexander Hamilton.
I’m thankful they lived fearlessly.
Of course, there were times they were afraid. But they didn’t let that fear paralyze them. Or harden them. They let that fear motivate them to action.
So, while I’ll probably not fight in World Wars, or revolutions, I can still live bravely today. I can choose to forgive, to speak up for injustice, to work for good, and not just myself.
It’s easy to be fearful. Even as I’m writing this list, I’m caught up in today’s tragedies. The terrorist attack in Egypt that killed 200 innocent people, the rocky political world America is going through. It’s all pretty terrible.
But I’m thankful for books that showed me people who lived through terrible times. They didn’t give up. And neither can I.
What books are you thankful for?
Do holidays throw you off schedule? Are you able to read over breaks? Or get any blogging stuff done?
Did you know who Hamilton was before the musical? If so, do you read biographies? Do you have a favorite biography?