This is the month to be grateful and if you're on Facebook or Twitter it's hard to ignore. Everyday the people I know will state something they're grateful for. I think it's kind of sweet. It's made me think of the books I'm grateful for. The first one would have to be Watership Down by Richard Adams. I was in the 4th grade when I picked it up in the library. I still don't know why I did. It was HUGE compared to most things I'd read at the time. But I took it home and dove in and for the first time in my life I was dragged under. I was thrown into this new world of rabbits who had lives and loves and fears and adventures and I became one of those rabbits. I experienced everything as if I were right there and that's when I realized how magical books were. Words became powerful to me. No matter what I was going through or experiencing in my real life, I could grab a book, dive in and escape. And while I was escaping, I was learning and growing and becoming. I would have to say Watership Down was my gateway book. Because of that book, I was able to expand my mind and discover new worlds. That might sound cheesy, but nevertheless, the stinking truth. I also became a good judge of books. If a book can grab me and drag me under and keep me up until 3 in the morning, - that's a good book.
Another book I'm grateful for is, The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elisabeth George Speare. This was my first introduction to historical fiction and I was hooked again. Thank you Elisabeth. My grasp of history through the ages has less to do with my history classes and more to do with the books I read that usually had a beautiful but intelligent and adventurous young woman. I owe a lot of my knowledge to those amazing writers who painstakingly researched historical data. And that was before computers.
The next few books I'm grateful for are mine. I know, kind of egocentric, but I would be lying if I didn't mention it. I'm grateful for the first book I wrote, Forever Friends. This book didn't get published until much later in my career, but it was my first effort and it taught me that not just other people's words could pull me under, but my own could too. I grew up living and breathing other people's words and I'd had no idea that I could create with them as well. The knowledge that I could immerse myself into a world I created myself was exhilarating, exciting and completely mind blowing sometimes.
I'm grateful for my other published books too because each of them helped me through something in my life. Whatever I was dealing with, struggling with, hurting over or suffering through ended up in my books. My latest, Do Over, will always hold a special place in my heart for the healing it gave me. After my divorce, I had this hollow empty feeling that scared me. When I write, I pull from all of the emotions threatening to spill over. It's like taking a bucket, and dipping it into a surging, powerful river whipping by. But I felt more like a zombie than a life giving river. So when I tried to write - and this book started to pour out of me, I was shocked. I had no idea that my words could unlock the dam I'd placed on my emotions and let the river go free again. Words are powerful. Yours, mine, every one's. They heal, they hurt, they create and they change people. I'm so thankful for the good ones.
The last book(s) I'm grateful for would have to be the scriptures. And to me, that includes the Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. I read them everyday, not because I'm supposed to, but because I need to. Reading the words of the prophets and of God grounds me, strengthens me and points me in whatever direction I need to go that day. In the midst of whatever storm is hanging around, I know that if I want to have peace, I read. And I'm pulled under and into a world where God is there. Who wouldn't want that every day?
So what books are you grateful for? I would love to hear.