The Five Books That "Made Me"

I was never one of those kids you had to force to read a book. Actually, you had to force me to stop reading books. My love affair with books started from a young age, but blossomed more so when I was maybe 13? The summer of my first year in high school, I came to America for the first time. In my head I was going to eat a lot of McDonalds and get the privilege of shopping at Walmart and Sears (those are major goals when you live abroad okay?). That summer, I spent time in New Haven Connecticut, my oldest sister was an undergrad at Yale and that meant I got to taste the Ivy League life for a few weeks. 

America was great, but it wasn't all MTV made it seem, and watching TV all day wasn't in my sister's plans for me. I remember her asking me if I had brought any books to read? I hadn't. Not because I wasn't interested, but because I had read all the copies of Sweet Valley High, babysitters club and Nancy Drew that I could get my hands on. That is when she gave me my first big girl book. It was Chinuah Achebe's "Things Fall Apart".

Gosh, I read that book in two hours. It was my first experience with beautifully written literature, written through lens of a familiar African foundation, but ultimately painting a cultural picture that wasn't mine. I would say that Is when I fell in love with reading. 

Unlike my American teen books, these books used words, twisted into proverbs in a way that held your attention and questioned your ability to understand words beyond a simple arrangement of letters.  

That summer I read almost 30 books, and for some reason I only read books that took me to the deep struggles of characters. Whether it was a runaway slave, an African boy battling the mental prison of colonialism, or market women flirting with the concept of political power...I couldn't stop. 

To me, the best books are the ones that only begin when they end. The one's that have you thinking of the characters years after. The one's that you find yourself referencing as you go through your own life struggles, but ultimately the ones that are secretly the you that you may not have experienced yet.My deep love for books has built the foundation of my ability to think, understand, travel and ultimately write.

So, I thought it would be great to share with you my favorite 5 books of all time. Some of these may be familiar, others questionable...but all very very important in my journey to becoming the person I am.

I hope you enjoyed this list!! I would love if you shared any of your favorite books with me as well. Also- as pictured in the images above, the book I am currently reading is "What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky".

Hayet Rida6 Comments