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Thankful for books

by Gwen

With Thanksgiving around the bend (and in the spirit of democracy) I polled booksellers and book lovers from all over the country and asked,

“What book(s) are you most thankful for?”

One series of books got the highest number of votes:

It comes as no surprise that Harry Potter is the book for which folks are most thankful.  For some, the series started a fire.  For others, the series provided a safe space during tumultuous times.

Harry Potter is a unique experience for all.  For me, it was a journey over time – I grew as Harry grew.  And as I became aware of the darkness in the world around me, things got dark at Hogwarts, too.  All along, however,  I knew that if they could make it so could I.  Rowling’s epic series changed the world of literature and we are all grateful.

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Many of the books people expressed gratitude for were books from their childhood. These books expressed to us a new way of seeing the world.  Levine’s Ella Enchanted taught a young woman about saving herself. Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar inspired one bookseller to become an illustrator.  The Outsiders showed me the dark truth about being ‘cool’.  A Wrinkle in Time proved to one young man that he was never too young or too old to fight.

(A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’engle, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle)

Plenty of old and new classic fiction made the list. One voter cited McCarthy’s insights into violence and renewal as a turning point for him.  Cervantes’ tale of adventure, romance, and friendship made the cut too, and it’s no surprise - it’s widely considered as the most influential piece of literature ever written.

(Number 9 Dream by David Mitchell, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy)


Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore introduced me to the subtlety and power of magical realism. The other books here try to make sense of tragedy, obsession, perception, empathy, and identity, with beautiful prose juxtaposing ugly circumstances.

(Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz)

There are many, many more books we are thankful for but not all are photographed.  Altogether, though, these titles make one heck of a reading list.  Come on in and pick up any one of these incredible titles.  You never know – it could change your life.

Not shown here:

  • Tris’s Book by Tamora Pierce
  • The Shallows by Nicholas G. Carr
  • Bluets by Maggie Nelson
  • Book Thief by Mark Zusak
  • Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee
  • Franny & Zoey by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
  • Snow Falling On Cedars by David Guterson
  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  • Howard’s End by E.M. Forster
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  • James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  • Fire in the Heart by Deepak Chopra
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