I read an article today, “Ten Things Anne of Green Gables Taught Me,” by Samantha Ellis. I’ve never read that series (and I feel like I’m one of the few women my age who has not), but I appreciated that Ellis wrote about lessons she learned from books she loved. I thought I should do that, too.
My first inclination was to follow Ellis’ example and write about what I learned from the Girls of Canby Hall series. But the more I thought about it, while I enjoyed the books and read them voraciously (at least throughout middle school), I don’t remember anything I learned from them. I did really relate to the one black girl who found herself at school with all white people, and I’m sure I learned some coping mechanisms from her, but I don’t quite recall what.
So I decided to think about high school. And I came up with a lot of books I learned things from. I narrowed it down to the following list.
Asian Saga (Shogun) series – James Clavell
Autobiography of Malcolm X – Malcolm X (as told to Alex Haley)
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
Godfather – Mario Puzo
Jubilee – Margaret Walker
Mind Behind the Eye – Joseph Green
One Few Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
Roots – Alex Haley
Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Instead of listing what I learned from each book in this blog post, I think I’ll dedicate future posts to detailing that. Meanwhile, I’ll sum up what I learned from all of those books: The lives we lead are small, and the possible lives to lead are vast. Be open to learning from all of the possibilities.