It’s My Birthday! Talking about Books that Represent & Impact Me

Is today my birthday? (probably not) I’m writing this before my birthday so i’m not sure when exactly I’ll post this, but February is my birthday month so the whole month is my birthday. If this gets posted before February 28th, SUCCESS!

Anyway, for my birthday month, I’m sharing some books that have especially impacted my life! These could be books that represented me or were especially important to me. I LOVED compiling this list. It was just so fun and happy! Well, until it wasn’t exactly happy, but you’ll see.

I mean, talking about my favorite books??? What could be better? 

Anne of Green Gables

“Dear old world,” she murmured, “you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.” 

If any book truly represents me, it’s Anne of Green Gables. Anne and I are basically twins. We’re both redheads and adopted and spunky.
Also, I want a cherry tree outside my window and to teach in a one room schoolhouse and attend Queen’s College somewhere in Canada. And meet a dark haired boy named Gilbert who I can whack over the head with a slate, not talk to for 7 years, and fall madly in love with. Perfect, right? 

Yeah, basically Anne Shirley constantly inspires me. She dreams big and loves so much and is my kindred spirit.

Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

“We are not broken things, neither of us. We are cracked pottery mended with laquer and flakes of gold, whole as we are, complete unto each other. Complete and worthy and so very loved.” 

Okay, this book means A TON to me. Mostly because it’s been my dream to write historical fiction for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved history and people’s stories and sharing both creatively.

But I’d never really read a great, diverse historical fiction. Until Gentleman’s Guide.
And it’s funny! Full of adventure! And my favorite characters!

I love Monty, Percy, and Felicity so much. They’re all very different but have such distinct voices. And most of all, I love the story of how we all have painful brokenness as part of our souls. But we’re still worthy. We’re worthy of love and happiness and joy. You’re loved.

Six of Crows

“No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.” 

You know how I talked about Gentleman’s Guide being the first diverse historical fiction I ever read? Six of Crows was my first ever diverse fantasy read!

And I loved it so much! Not only for the diversity but also the PTSD rep. It’s amazing. I was diagnosed with PTSD and dealt with it all of my teenager years. Reading a book with such good rep was so special. The way the characters grow, how their PTSD isn’t shuffled to the side but is part of who they are and their story.

Also, Six of Crows constantly inspires me. I want to write witty fantasy, with excellent world building and diverse characters with good representation.

Girl Made of Stars

“Even girls made of stars are captives, bound at the wrists and traded like property. Even girls made of stars aren’t asked, aren’t believed, aren’t considered worth the effort unless they can offer something in return.
Even girls made of stars buy into those lies sometimes.” 

This book is officially heartbreaking. It’s hard to read but SO GOOD! I first read this book last year. All the other books on this list, I’d read before 2018. No matter when I read it, this book immediately became one of my favorite books of ALL time.

It can be difficult to talk or write about such personally traumatic topics like rape and emotional disassociation. Reading Girl Made of Stars is one of those stories that doesn’t shy away from hard topics. It’s gritty and real. It punches me in the gut, yet gives me hope.

Alexander Hamilton and Not just the Musical

“Hamilton, the human word machine”

Hamilton and I have a special relationship. And I’m serious! I read the gigantic biography when I was 17 and fell head over heels for Hamilton. But I’d already picked my favorite founding father when I was 12, James Madison.

Madison was quiet, Hamilton was loud. Madison was sickly and timid, Hamilton was healthy and bold. Hamilton was ambitious and an orphan, Madison was simply scholastic and from a well connected family. Hamilton knew everyone and was friends with tons of people, Madison was shy and had few friends.

So, yes, the two are COMPLETE opposites. If you’re guessing that I’m really a lot like Hamilton, than you’re guessing right. That’s why I liked Madison as my favorite. As loud, and kind of obnoxious and ambitious that I am, I wanted to be more scholarly and quiet and wise as Madison. He did such GREAT things! Wrote the constitution, was the President, Married Dolly, the most amazing first lady, ever!

Then I read Hamilton, and I was reading about my own passions. About words being used as weapons and coming from the worst circumstances and fighting your way to the top. About having ambition and big dreams and fierce loyalty. Also, about being rash, and kind of stupid sometimes, and having absolutely crazy ideas.

Yep, Hamilton, I feel ya. We both say dumb things a lot. 

People had told me to be like Madison, quiet and waiting for responsibility, studious, and did I mention Quiet? and those are great qualities! yes, I could use some of those character traits sometimes.

But I’m much more like Hamilton. Loud, ambitious, crazy. And history NEEDS both of kinds of people – Hamilton and Madison and all the other amazing people who have existed in this beautiful world. So, both Hamilton and Madison are my favorite founding fathers. 

I read the giant bio years before the musical – and then fell in love with the musical. Hamilton’s story means so much to me.

“Late into the night I write and the pages of my notebook swell from all the words I’ve pressed onto them. 
It almost feels like the more I bruise the page the quicker something inside me heals.”

Okay, I’ve written this post over the last six weeks since early January. As I’m writing this post, I’m listening to the Poet X. And wow, this book should go on this list. Weird, but Xiomara’s fight for her words, it’s chilling. I remember my mom digging up my journals, and throwing my words into my face. How I used to tear words from the skies and scribble down my fears, and hidden anger, and desires.

I’m not putting The Poet X on this list, because I’m just discovering this story. And while I’m listening to Elizabeth Acevedo read her hauntingly beautiful story, I realize how much words make my life. Yes, I can list a few books for my birthday month that have made up my life.

But a few books will never be enough, because words mean the world to me.

For years, I didn’t write because I thought my words weren’t right. They were too angry, or too emotional, or too silly. My words were sometimes written in frustration, and then hidden behind books on my bookshelf, hidden from judgement and scorn. Other times, I scrambled to describe my puppy’s wiggling body and sweet eyes, or fill my journal with excited dreams of college and first crushes. Even then, I struggled to write for me, terrified someone would read my journals and judge me by what I’d written.

Then I stopped focusing on journaling, and focused on blogging for people. And sometimes, my blog is me, and other day’s its not. Sometimes, my books are me, and sometimes, they are more for my audience.

I’m glad I listened to The Poet X during my birthday month because I needed reminded who my words are for – my words are a part of me. The words that are happy, and grieving, and angry, and constant excitement and ideas. 

Whelp, I think that went kind of dark and super thoughtful? I don’t know, but I hope it all made sense. *hides*

lets chat

How do I ask questions about my favorite books?

I DON’T KNOW! This is hard. So, chat about whatever you want today 😂

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4 Comments

  1. February 19, 2019 / 1:59 pm

    This was such a fun post to read! Anne of Green Gables is my all-time #1 favorite book, so it’s always nice to know that other people feel the same way. Anne inspires me so much, from what she overcomes to her outlook on life. I also really loved The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. Have you had a chance to read the sequel yet? It’s still on my TBR…somewhere…it’s a long list, let’s be honest.

    I hope you have a wonderful birthday!

  2. Connie Hollis
    February 19, 2019 / 10:10 pm

    Happy Birthday, Elizabeth. Remember I prayed for you! Connie

  3. February 28, 2019 / 1:03 pm

    I hope you had a wonderful birthday! I’m glad you were able to discover the reason why you love to write. <3

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