I am happy to say that I officially completed my first semester of grad school! I turned in my last final Sunday night, and my classes don’t start until after MLK Day. So to celebrate being one step closer to being a master of literature, I thought it would be a nice time to look back at the 5 books that changed my life.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone When I was 8, my cousin got married in California, so we made the trip from Maine. I spent the entire trip reading the first Harry Potter book, and it was probably the longest book I had ever read at that time. As anyone who has read it knows, it is pure magic (pun intended) and it especially was to my little elementary-school self. Ever since then, I’ve preferred my books nice and long.
As You Like It This was the first Shakespeare play I read at the ripe old age of 10. I was in an advanced language arts class from fifth grade on (which was why I read it at age 10), and towards the end of the school year, we read As You Like It out loud. It was difficult and challenging and I didn’t understand a lot of it, but I knew enough to be fascinated by it.I’ve read a lot of Shakespeare since then, including an entire class on comedies and histories in undergrad. And here I am, 14.5 years later, and I just turned in a 12-page paper on a 16th century play as my final for my graduate program.
Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor, England, 1544 Who else remembers these and the “gold”-edged pages? The Royal Diaries is a series of books written as diary entries by famous princesses or royal ladies of similar rank. This was the first one I read, and it’s about Queen Elizabeth I, staring when she is 12 or 13. These books made me hungry to learn as much as I could about various royal houses, and they probably are what made me so interested in the British royal family.
Pride and Prejudice This was the first Austen book I read, and it sparked within me a deep love for her literature. More specifically, I went through a phase where I wanted to read everything she ever wrote, including her unfinished works. Every now and then, I like to reread Pride and Prejudice because it is so beautifully written and is everything we associate with Jane Austen .
And, of course, Aureole. As long as I’ve been reading, I’ve wanted to be a published author. So I sat down an wrote a novel my senior year of high school, starting with NaNoWriMo, and I published it after my junior year of college. For those of you who don’t know, I read Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park and hated the ending. Obviously, the logical solution was to write a modern version with a different ending. Aureole hopefully won’t be the only book I write – my goal is to finish the first draft of my second novel in January – but it is my first. While it may not be award-winning, it’s my book, and I’m so proud of it. My senior year of high school and my junior year of college were both incredibly difficult years, and the fact that I wrote and then edited and published a novel in those years makes me proud of who I am.