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Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Make You Think

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers there at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. Are you a blogger as well? All that’s asked is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it!

Top Ten Books That Make You Think

10. The Wars by Timothy Findley

This was the first truly adult anti-war book I read, and Findley’s descriptions of the horrors of the First World War still resonate with me today. An incredible read by an incredible Canadian author – if you have never picked it up, put it on your list.

9. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

This novel made me so sad and so angry at the same time. As a teacher and adult, I wanted to shake the students in this book and to ask them why they didn’t reach out for help. At the same time, I wanted to shake the adults for being so oblivious to the needs of the students around them. That so many little decisions can have such a huge impact on someone is a sobering lesson for everyone.

8. Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton

I was five when I first read this book, and when I finished it, I had decided that I wanted to have a steam shovel of my very own when I was ‘grown up’. I would dig big holes and help people to build houses – and I couldn’t understand why all my friends thought that was strange. This was the first time I encountered gender discrimination amongst my peers (apparently girls shouldn’t be building things or liking heavy machinery), and it broke my heart a little when I was told that “girls don’t do stuff like that”.

Flash forward to about five years ago, when I recounted this story to some friends of mine over dinner. I was staying with them, and the next morning my friend’s husband woke me up at some ungodly hour, gave me a large cup of coffee and brought me outside. There, he had the farm’s bobcat with a large shovel attachment – not exactly a steam shovel but the next best thing. He showed me how to work it, and for the next hour, I got to live out my five-year old self’s fantasy. Thanks, Paul.

7. This Crazy Time: Living Our Environmental Challenge by Tzeporah Berman and Mark Leiren-Young

This is a recent read, and one that has me thinking about the power of individuals to change the world. This book advocates getting involved – not just in signing petitions, but in meeting with CEO’s and talking to those who will be directly impacted by environmental decisions. We all have a role to play, and we cannot complain if we aren’t willing to participate in the change.

6. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

This book taught me that not everyone grows up fortunate; there are those who have struggled financially, and that families do what they must in order to survive. Set during the Depression and during WWII, it follows the life of Francie Nolan as she grows up in the tenements of New York, watching as her loving but alcoholic father slowly slides away from his family while her mother works tirelessly to keep her family going. Powerful stuff, especially when you are ten.

5. Shake Hands With the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda by Romeo Dalliare

This made me angry and it made me sob. That human beings could be so atrocious to one another, and especially to those who they called neighbour only months before made me rage against the horror. Compelling and utterly heart-breaking, it will make you think twice about having those evil thoughts about the guy who buds in front of you in the coffee shop line, or the driver who cuts you off. There is so much abject cruelty in the world, and we need to speak up and defend those who need our help. Even more, we need to listen to those we trust to observe on our behalf, and to trust their instincts when they scream that we need to intervene.

4. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

The first in Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy, it certainly wasn’t the first by Atwood to have me examining my world differently. However, this book did make me consider how I was using the environment and how I could change my ways for the benefit of future citizens.

3. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Still a fascinating read that asks you to look at conventional things in different ways – and to consider that there may be connections present that you have never considered. I love this book for how is forces you to think ‘out of the box’ and to consider alternatives to popular theories.

2. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

I avoided reading Dickens for the longest time. Like everyone, I knew a Christmas Carol and figured that was the best that he had written. Boy, was I wrong. I had to read this in high school, and I fell into it HARD. I smuggled this book everywhere, and could not put it down, and still remember weeping at the end as Sydney Carton heads off in the cart. “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” Excuse me – I think I need a tissue.

 

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This is the book that breaks my heart every time I read it. The realities of racism are, sadly, still present in so many parts of the world and in our own country. That a man’s character is still not necessarily enough to count for something is something with which I struggle; let’s hope that we will continue to fight for equality for all.

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