Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife by Sam Savage. ISBN: 9781566891813.
There's a moment when Firmin the rat describes the bookstore he lives in. He mentions the organization system; some of the books are categorized, and others are strewn about. People enjoy both and like the feeling of browsing, they love coming across something wonderful and unexpected in amongst the mediocre.
I think many readers can probably relate to this, not only with purchasing or browsing for books, but also with finding that perfect book — the book that changes your life the moment you read it and stays with you forever. We all have those books, they are precious too us. These are books that just come along and seem to save us at just the right time, even if we didn't know we needed saving. There have been a number of those books for me. I think I'll include them here, and as much as in order as I can remember them.
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Not only was this my first major chapter book, but it was the first "adult" book I read. Yes, it's geared towards children, but it was the first book that I read that didn't try to diminish or dull the pain of loss, not only of a beloved pet, but of the moment in childhood when you become responsible for making difficult decisions for yourself and your family. I think I may have read this book too young, because I took that message very seriously, but I don't regret the person it made me.
The Giver by Lois Lowry. Apparently there are now sequels to this book. Given that this book blew my mind when it first came out when I was...8 years old. Yes, it was above my reading level, but there was so much to think about that I think about it almost every day. I am not kidding. I think about this book all the time. It's probably time for a reread, which is something I very rarely do. I'm almost afraid because what if it's not as life-altering as I remember it? Well, I guess the last 17 years already say otherwise so I should stop worrying about it. Once again this was more along the lines of making hard decisions at a young age.
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler. This is the book that I recommend to anyone and everyone who wants to know me and how I think. I discovered this book about the age of 14, close enough to the main character's age that it really got to me. Both of our worlds were falling apart, and yes hers was changing a little more rapidly and dramatically than mine, but she was doing something about it. It gave me the courage to do the best I could in preparing a better life for myself sometime in the future since I knew my life couldn't change right at that moment. I was in a situation and a place that I had no control over, Butler showed me not only a way out of the dark times, but how to make it so the future dark times didn't seem so dim. This is an important book.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. This is one of several books I read by kerosene lamp while on co-op in middle of nowhere Tennessee. This book came to me about 3 years after my brother had been kicked out of the house and I stopped speaking to him. It was the book that made me think it was time to let go of the anger, even if I wasn't quite ready to forgive him and I definitely wasn't ready to let him back into my life. It wasn't really until two years ago (more or less from today**) that I started talking to my brother again. I was able to live my vengeance through the Count and let everything else go.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I read this recently. Some of you might even remember. I almost wish that this was the book that made me want to be a librarian. It almost saddens me that I didn't read it until almost a year after receiving my degree, and if you want to get a librarian a graduation present that isn't a Nancy Pearl Action figure* then might I recommend a really swanky copy of this book. Preferably with a witty inscription and a couple of twenty dollar bills slipped between the pages.
*I have my picture with the real Nancy Pearl!
**This means we didn't talk to each other for about 7-8 years.
**Dayna Ingram asked me to blog about this book, although she did not recommend a topic (this time). Send me a recommendation at firstname.lastname@example.org or my Twitter account @libs_lib.