Books I'm Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving week, those of you viewers who are in the United States. In honor of the holiday, I thought I’d do something different today. I am the (book) supplier and this is Books I Am Thankful For Tag.

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I’ve been thinking, for a couple of months, what I’d do for the Feature Shelf the week of Thanksgiving. I ultimately decided that I’d take a break for Thanksgiving, but I still wanted to share some books that mean a lot to me. For this first video, since I’m already thinking about doing this again next year, I’m going to say that any book I’ve ever read is fair game. Next year, it’ll just be books that I read in 2013.

So the first book I’m thankful for is An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. This isn’t my favorite John Green book, but it is the book I was reading when I became a Nerdfighter. Before the vlogbrothers, I didn’t know anything about video blogging, didn’t watch YouTube, and felt mostly alone in my bibliophile-ness. And then I actually typed in the link at the end of the book and started poking around in Nerdfighteria. Now I’m not embarrassed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff because I know there are at least eight hundred thousand people out there who will get it. And they’re just the Nerdfighters who have YouTube accounts.

The second book I’m thankful for is Unwind by Neal Shusterman. This is the book that got me seated next to him at a librarians conference in 2009. That was the same conference in which I started using Twitter — I’d been told I needed to earlier in the day by a librarian I met, then when I met him he said I should follow him. And because of that conversation, which was the product of me hunting around Albuquerque for a bookstore that had a copy of Unwind since he was going to do a reading and didn’t have a copy, that I’ve had the most amazing conversations and met hundreds of other people with whom I can also be unironically enthusiastic about books and reading. Read as: #bookaday, #bookstack, #nerdybookclub, #titletalk. It’s an amazing ride that I’m excited to be on.

I don’t know how many books I have left from my childhood. I hunted a few down, like Johnny’s in the Basement by Louis Sachar which I read two summers in a row, and tried for a third before my mother told me to pick something else… and Voices After Midnight by Richard Peck, which drove me crazy for the longest time when I started thinking back on books I read as a kid, because I remembered that there was an elevator and time travel, but I couldn’t remember the title. So the book from my childhood that I am most thankful for is Matilda by Roald Dahl. And this is the copy that I’ve had since I bought the book as a kid. You can tell that it’s loved, as there’s neither a front nor a back cover, and the pages are about to start falling off. I did buy a new copy, though it doesn’t have the same cover as my original copy, and that’s the one that I read when I feel like remembering that all power does not come from status.

The last book that I’m going to include that I am thankful for is The Fault in Our Stars, also by John Green. Now I do want to say that it’s not because I’m a Nerdfighter that I have two John Green books that I am thankful for. I am thankful for this book because of the connections I was able to make both while reading it and after reading it. I remember flying home from NCTE last year, reading the first two chapters before the book was released and thinking “Wait. Augustus goes to North Central? Seriously?” And I could picture him in the gym shooting free throws on the last day of his dual leggedness. TFiOS is set in the area of Indianapolis where I grew up. I literally, and I’m using this correctly, grew up in a house that is five minutes from the Indianapolis Museum of Art. I played in pit orchestra there when it housed the Civic Theatre. And the reading of this book inspired a video project that took me back to all of these places that meant something to me when I lived in Indianapolis. The best part of the project was that I went these places with members of my family, and make connections between the book and my memories and have conversations with my brothers and sister and mom and dad about the book, and about the places and about growing up. And it was awesome.

Okay, so what books are you thankful for? There are no real categories to put these books in — just choose a few and talk about why you’re thankful for them. Since it’s a tag, I’m tagging the Catriona over at the Little Book Owl and Jack from ReadingWithJack and anyone else who feels like sharing. You can leave yours as a list in the comments or as a video response.

Those of you in the US who celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you have a wonderful holiday, that you don’t engage too much in gluttony, and that you enjoy the football. That’s it for me today. I’ll see you next week. Happy reading and don’t forget to be awesome.

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