Welcome to LIFE 101, students! Thank you for enrolling. I assume you heard about this from The Broke and the Bookish and their weekly Top Ten Tuesday meme. With any class you take you’ll most likely have to purchase some books, and LIFE 101 is no exception. Here are some books that, as your current professor, I’ve added to the class’s recommended reading list:
Even though it’s been about a year since I read this book, it still manages to sneak its way back into my thoughts every once in a while. It delivers such an important message: it’s never too late to change your life for the better and to seek true happiness and fulfillment. Inspiring, touching, and wonderfully written, Eat, Pray, Love is a book I can see myself going back to again and again for life advice.
I think it’s safe to say that most of us can connect with the title of this memoir in some way. I know that I’ve had this thought run through my mind before, and it’s incredibly comforting to know that such an amazing woman as Mindy Kaling has also experienced this. Not only does Mindy give great down-to-earth life advice, but she does it with her hilarious sense of humor. If you ever need a smile, try picking up this book!
I read this book in English class during my freshman year of high school, but it has certainly stuck with me over the past four years. This book taught me that happiness comes in all different forms, and includes one of my favorite inspiring quotes: “Happiness is only real, when shared.” Happiness is obviously an important aspect of life, so be sure not to skip over this book in your studies!
Arguably the saddest book on this list, The Diary of a Young Girl is a book that I believe everyone should read at least once in their lives. Reading Anne Frank’s diary entries is enough to put a lot of things in life in perspective- for example, that drama you’re going through at school is definitely not the worst thing in the world. Putting things in perspective is a valuable skill for anyone to have, which is why this book is so important. Also, it explores a part of our history that we should never, ever forget or ignore.
For a book that discusses childhood cancer, living as an amputee, and making mistakes, Josh Sundquist’s memoir Just Don’t Fall is a surprisingly humorous read. It just goes to show that laughter is the best medicine, and that positivity can be found even in situations that seem like the darkest of times. It’s inspiring, funny, and eye-opening- what more could you want?
Deceivingly simple and wonderfully poignant, Our Town by Thornton Wilder is a play that will make you question the way you live your life. This is a recent read for me, but I know it’s one I’ll go back to again and again as I grow older. It’s all about appreciating the little things in life, living in the moment, and making the most of what you have. Happiness can be found in simple joy, and does not have materialistic or monetary requirements. I absolutely adore this play, hence its place on this reading list.
This book changed the way I view classic literature. I know that’s a pretty big statement to make with no context, but it’s true. I was captivated by Pip’s narration, enthralled by Dickens’ witty writing, and quite a bit wary of Miss Havisham. It showed me that classic literature can be just as engaging and exciting as any other genre, and owe that realization to Mr. Charles Dickens. I had liked many classics before reading Great Expectations, but for some reason it was just different this time around. Perhaps this novel can inspire such a learning experience in others, as well. We shall see!
This one is an absolute MUST READ. Everyone can use a little magic in their life, right? Besides, this series delivers some really powerful messages about friendship, facing adversity, dealing with loss, and growing up. You might find it in the children’s section of libraries and bookstores, but it truly belongs in every reader’s heart.
Hint: do not read this book if you’re looking for an uplifting, heart-warming story. DO read this novel if you want a better appreciation for the freedoms we have today in the way we make our own choices and live our own lives. It’ll open your eyes to what life could be, and perhaps what life still is for some people around the globe. Big Brother himself may not exist, but some aspects of his regime sound eerily and disturbingly familiar.
Oh, Jellicoe Road. How I love you so! There are a plethora of reasons why I’ve included this book on our class’s reading list, but the main one is that it makes you feel an entire spectrum of raw emotions. Be it love or heartbreak, joy or grief, betrayal or friendship, this novel will cause all of the butterflies to flutter around in your chest. In other words, it will make you feel. And isn’t that what stories are supposed to do?
There you have it, students! We’ll be tackling these books and many, many more in LIFE 101, but there’s something I haven’t been completely honest about. You see, LIFE 101 doesn’t take a single year- it takes SO MANY. As many years that make up your entire life, in fact. Each book you read makes its way onto your own personal syllabus, be it to recommend it or suggest an alternative. LIFE 101 has no end- in this class, you’re a student for life!
Class dismissed. Or, more accurately, class continued.
What do you think of the books on my list? What books would you include on the syllabus for LIFE 101? Let me know in the comments section below!