Wuthering Heights
Mere Christianity
Madame Bovary
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Crime and Punishment
The Forgotten Garden
These Is My Words
The Help
Ella Enchanted
Princess Academy
The Goose Girl
The Kite Runner
The Great Gatsby
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
The Giver
A Wrinkle in Time
Lord of the Flies
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Ender's Game

Thursday, April 28, 2011

the first assignment. a book that has changed my life.

Let's get something straight here. I don't make decisions.

Alright, that's false. I make them eventually, it just takes whining and griping and moaning and pain.
If I am ever asked about which is my favorite book or movie or t.v. show or song or artist or anything, my mind stops working. I forget everything I've ever read, seen, or heard and usually can't give you a legitimate answer.

Dr. Burton asked us to post about a book that has changed our lives.
This is what went through my brain.
. [small gasp for air]
... [bigger gasp for air]
 AHHH! I don't know!
Enter my conscience: Think. Think, Aly. You've read a million books. There's got to be one besides the Book of Mormon [which if you haven't read, I highly suggest you do] that's made an impact on you.
No! There's not!
Calm down. Yes, there is. What are your favorite books? 
[big sigh] Fine...  
     Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.  
     Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.  
     Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.  
     Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.  
     Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  
     Hamlet by Shakespeare.
     Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.
     Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
     These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner. 
     The Help by Kathryn Stockett.
 Good. See? 
And my childhood favorites... 
     The Twelves Dancing Princesses by Ruth Sanderson.
     The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.
     Mercer Mayer's Little Monster books.
     Dr. Seuss.
     If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond.
     Fanny's Dream by Caralyn Beuhner.
     Falling Up by Shel Silverstein.
     The Rainbabies by Laura Krass Melmed and Jim Lamarche.
    Heckedy Peg by Audrey and Don Wood.
    Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko.
    Piggy Pie by Margie Palatini and Howard Fine.
    Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.
    The Golden Compass Series by Philip Pullman.
    The Work and the Glory and other such series written by LDS authors.
    The American Girl Series.
    Twilight [should i be ashamed?] by Stephanie Meyer.
    Mary Higgins Clark Murder Mysteries.
    Most things by Roald Dahl.
    Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.
    Star Girl by Jerry Spinelli.
    Bartimeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud.
    Princess Academy by Shannon Hale.
   Goose Girl by Shannon Hale.

I read hundreds of books when I was a youth.
And I sped read [is that a word?] like you wouldn't believe. I'd read a Harry Potter book in one sitting. Unfortunately, now things are a little bit different.
High school was the beginning of my reading downfall. Not enough time in the day.
[except for in my college writing class... that's where i grew to love most of those books up there on my list.]
Also, as I've learned French, I've found my reading speed to decrease exponentially.
Sometimes I'm embarrassed because I can't remember if I've read a book or not, and even if I know I have sometimes I can't remember what it was about.
But I read them.
And I think they've made me who I am, at least in part. There are many books that have changed my life, but as of today, it's this one.

When I was about 12, in the midst of daily discovery, my mom gave me Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.
This was the book that I'd go to if I was bored and I had already read all of the ones in our library basket, which happened frequently.

It's the story of a spunky, high-spirited girl named Ella who was given at birth the "gift" of obedience by Lucinda, a rather stupid fairy. Following the story of Cinderella, Ella's mother dies and her father and sends her to finishing school. She escapes to find Lucinda and ask her to remove the curse. Along the way she meets ogres, centaurs, other mythical creatures, and the lovely Prince Charmont. At Ella's father's wedding to the awful Dame Olga, they fall in love. But Char goes away, and they are left to writing letters. In the end, Ella breaks the curse by resisting Char's, her father's, stepmother's, and stepsisters' demands and being true to what she knows is right.

The love story of Ella Enchanted is of course worth mentioning.
It was quite possibly the first love story I'd ever read; it may well be this specific love story that turned me into the hopeless romantic I am, the one who reads the love story parts over [and over] again then dreams [and daydreams some more] about those exact same scenes happening when I walk out the door in the morning.

I found myself dreaming of being Ella-- a young woman with drive and desire and smarts and courage, with a handsome prince waiting for me at the end. But I had it easier than her: parents who loved me and complete control over myself.
So why couldn't I be the same?
Or better?
I was realizing my own potential.

I can't say that because of Ella Enchanted I've made best friends that aren't going away, and I earned straight A's through high school and my first two semesters of college, and I've grown and learned and started on the path to becoming a strong woman.

But, maybe I can say that.
Who knows?


  1. No. Whay.
    Everything you just said. Is MY favorite thing to do!
    (Okay no really.)
    This has been my favorite book for ever and ever.

  2. This is my absolute favorite book.
    Ah, thank you Aly Rutter for loving it too.

  3. I love this post! You are a great writer. I swear that I had the same thought when he asked for one book... it's rough for the indecisive!Seriously, I think we would be friends. :)

  4. You've got to get on Goodreads and put all these books on your shelves there -- and rate them at least, if not review some of them.

  5. Oh, hey, you did! Love the widget across the top. Didn't see it.

  6. Love this book as well. Really hated the movie rendition. Go figure.