12/27/13

You Are What You Read

You Are What You Read

You are what you read. 

Besides being gateways to far off lands, novels' imaginative qualities possess more pull on our lives than we think. A new study suggests when a reader identifies with a character (like Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird) there is an increased chance that reader will become more like that character. The study's researchers add, "If you’ve got a deep connection with the characters, it can have a lasting impact. It can inspire you to re-read something so that impact is strengthened over time.”

In a sense, fictional characters can change us for the good.

Above, I have included some of my all-time favorite books. They represent an eclectic mix of classics and childhood favorites. For different reasons, I credit each of these books for helping make me the woman I am today. These novels include:

  1. Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story - Daphne Sheldrick 
  2. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail - Cheryl Strayed
  3. East of Eden - John Steinbeck
  4. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
  5. 1776 - David McCullough
  6. Night - Elie Wiesel
  7. Winnie the Pooh - A. A. Milne
  8. Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn 
  9. Tuck Everlasting - Natalie Babbitt
  10. Harry Potter Series - J. K. Rowling
  11. The Light Between Oceans - M. L. Stedman
Just like you are what you eat and who you love, you are what you read. The next time you cozy up on the couch to start a new book, consider challenging your book selection in terms of intellectualism, imagination, character, adventure, and exposing yourself to new ideas. Even though my favorite reads list may not fully reflect this concept, I constantly dare myself to read books written by authors with different political and religious affiliations than my own, and genres that push the boundaries of my literary comfort zone. When reading, choose a combination of books that appeal to your personal favorites and that force you into out-of-the-box thinking. You might be surprised about what you learn, and more importantly, who you will become. 

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