I am a senior, and so last fall I had to write an essay to send to all of the colleges I was applying to. I wrote about books because books have always been a major part in my life—up until last year my parents would read to my sisters and I at night! Yes, I have awesome parents. But without further ado, here is my booky-essay:195 books. Each title, author, and rating jotted down in pencil or pen. The first book in my book log, the first book I read in seventh grade, was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It took me two days to read the 652 page-long book, and I rated it five smiley faces out of five. The first classic novel I read that year was number 14 on my list: C. S. Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet, which I gave only four smiley faces. I have held on to that list since then, not only because I enjoy making lists, but also because it displays my journey as a reader: my increasing love for Pride and Prejudice, every classic novel I have liked and disliked, even the one book on the list I have yet to finish, John Adams.
My mother dragged me unwillingly to the children’s classics section of the library in elementary school, where I discovered books such as A Cricket in Times Square, and Wind in the Willows. Starting in middle school, I transitioned from children’s masterpieces to Dickens’s David Copperfield and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, both read before I started my log. I trusted my mom’s judgment, and though I did not find immediate pleasure in reading such large novels with words unpronounceable, I fought through them. By eighth grade I was still taking my mother’s suggestions—O Pioneers and Don Quixote—but I was finding that I enjoyed them. The characters were no longer foreign; I could relate to their flaws and troubles.
As high school began, I still liked my mom’s suggestions, but I began to make my own choices, like Jane Eyre, Sense and Sensibility, and Gone with the Wind. I loved the challenge of the classics but also the vivid description and the literary talent of the authors, with Brontë’s minute details and J.R.R. Tolkien’s ability to describe a door frame and make it interesting. I found I gravitated towards 19th century British authors and fantasy novels. I did not always appreciate the length of these books, but I could not put a book aside once I started it. I had to finish every one, even those I did not love, like Le Morte d’Arthur, which I battled my way through freshman year.
And through all this I still recorded every book I read in my book log. Not all of the novels on my list are classics. Modern novels, written with less ornate language, have similar characteristics, with loveable characters and rich detail, as in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pell Pie Society and The Book Thief. Characters from classic novels like Elizabeth Bennet and Jane Eyre have characteristics that I appreciate: dedication to family, true to one’s own feelings, and rational thinking. My mom should receive the credit, though, for helping me discover the classics and the characters that helped shape who I am now.
P.S. I’m up to 218 books now!
Do you keep a book log?
Post by Brianna!