The Books They Gave Me

In which we reflect on books given us by loved ones.

Green; Asher & Mackler.

The Fault in Our Stars - Cover

The Future of Us - Cover


My girlfriend, M, is as much of an avid reader as I am.  However, she typically reads the newest, hottest thing when it comes to novels and whatnot.  Her mother is the Assistant Librarian at the High School that M and I went to, so that kind of helped fuel her ability to know what was new and great and what was new and crappy. I, on the other had, typically stick to history books (typically military history actually, it’s kind of my passion/ hobby) and the classic novels that everyone knows about but not many people tend to take the time to read (like Murder on the Orient Express, the Tom Clancy Series, and Gone With the Wind).

However, M said that I should read both The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green, and The Story of Us, by Jay Asher.  She said that they both were books that had changed her outlook on life.  Now, being who I am, I thought that this was just another one of those teen phrases that had become emotionally numbed over time, like “I love that…”, and that she was just being a typical teenager.  Little did I know that what she had just done was suggest the books that have helped me survive this last year through the emotional roller coaster ride that is the application process and Plebe (Fourth Class Year) Year at the United States Naval Academy.

I can’t explain it, but for some reason the books that she suggested to me were unlike any other I had read before.  The text didn’t just sit there; it popped-out at me and its meanings and phrases touched my very soul.  What M had done was give me a newer, fresher outlook on life.  She suggested the books whose quotes I have used to make it through many hardships and hard work these past two years, the ones that have come to shape my work ethic and outlook on life! 

These books taught me that it doesn’t matter how many hardships come your way in life, because if you try hard enough and continue to trust in the Lord and the loved ones around you, and seek them for guidance in times of trouble, that you will be successful and feel happy in the end when it really matters.

I honestly have no idea how in the world I can ever repay M for what she has done for me.  She’s definitely put me on the right track; to be quite honest, I’d say she changed me for the better (not that I was bad to begin with; these books just gave me a new-found sense of humbleness, a necessary trait to have for us military leader types!

So M, at this time I will formally thank you for the transformation that you’ve given me!

Love,

C.

Be Mine.

It’s the perfect Valentine’s Day gift! Give your sweet-cheeks The Books They Gave Me. (Add a special inscription for maximum impact.) Available at your local bookstore, and at all of these places: IndieboundAmazonB&N, and iBooks.

Childcraft.

When I was a child, our school library always fascinated me.  Every time I enter it, I feel excited because I knew I could read and discover new books again. My fondness for books and reading became greater when my older sister (who loves reading too) gave me my first ever hard bound book entitled “Life in Many Lands”—A Childcraft Book.  I was so thrilled that I really took time to read each story written in the book so as to savor it and let it linger in my mind. And of course, I had to read it over and over again. It was this book that opened my mind into the different culture and different places around the world. It was my golden ticket to access the places I’ve never been to. So, when our house was flooded before because of the tropical typhoon, I made sure that my book was kept in a safe place where the water couldn’t reach it. My book survived the many typhoons and flood that have passed our house here in the Philippines. And I know I have to continue to safe guard it as long as I live because it has become my precious gem.
astoriabookshop:


We at the Astoria Bookshop love books — we love suggesting books, and we love hearing from you about your favorites. The Books They Gave Me by (Astoria resident) Jen Adams is a collection of stories about books given and received — a love letter to books from the people who share them. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we’re giving away a signed copy.
To enter: head over to our Facebook page. Once you like us, you’ll be able to fill out the entry form for the contest. One winner, chosen at random, will be contacted via email, and we’ll mail you the book. You must be 18 or older, and a US resident. Entries must be received by midnight on Valentine’s Day.
Feel free to share the contest with your friends (they just have to like us to be eligible). And if you tweet about it with the hashtag #AstoriaLovesBooks, we’ll give you a bonus entry.
Good luck!

I’m so excited for the opening of this awesome indie bookstore in my very own neighborhood! Like them on Facebook and retweet to win a copy of TBTGM!

astoriabookshop:

We at the Astoria Bookshop love books — we love suggesting books, and we love hearing from you about your favorites. The Books They Gave Me by (Astoria resident) Jen Adams is a collection of stories about books given and received — a love letter to books from the people who share them. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we’re giving away a signed copy.

To enter: head over to our Facebook page. Once you like us, you’ll be able to fill out the entry form for the contest. One winner, chosen at random, will be contacted via email, and we’ll mail you the book. You must be 18 or older, and a US resident. Entries must be received by midnight on Valentine’s Day.

Feel free to share the contest with your friends (they just have to like us to be eligible). And if you tweet about it with the hashtag #AstoriaLovesBooks, we’ll give you a bonus entry.

Good luck!

I’m so excited for the opening of this awesome indie bookstore in my very own neighborhood! Like them on Facebook and retweet to win a copy of TBTGM!

(Source: astoriabookshop)

Shepard.

image

It was our last morning together, or maybe our second to last. You never read, but we’d been talking about this book, talking about you being gay, and this you had read. It was new for you, being gay and being open, but you operated always as if you’d been there before.

You went out for coffee and brought it back as a surprise: The Meaning of Matthew. I read it cover to cover on the plane two days later when I moved to San Francisco. 

I would see you again, twice, accidentally both times, on trips back to New York. You looked surprised and pained, and it killed me. That last time we didn’t speak, didn’t acknowledge each other. That twisted look you pulled, unintentionally I know but that’s what it was it was twisted, that face will haunt me.

We never fell out of love, we never had a big fight. We broke up because that’s what was practical. We broke up because the distance hurt too much.  We broke up and now for the first time I count myself among the truly broken.

But The Meaning of Matthew sits on my shelf and it reminds me of how much worse my pain could be. It gives me perspective, which is what you always did. So: thank you.

Emerson.

We met in the drive-thru at starbucks. Me, on my way to a day long shift at a used bookstore ( more of a joy than a irritation to say the least) and him on the microphone taking my order for my daily dose of high priced caffeine. When I pulled up to the window it started with the usually barista small-talks.

"How’s your day?",

"Fine, going to work."

"Your drink will be done shortly." 

Since the shop seemed quite busy on the inside, we started to talk about my work and he was pleased to hear that I worked at a bookstore. 

"I’m a lit major."

"Wow, me too!"

"What’s your favorite book?"

We were holding up a line behind me. We didn’t really notice.

I started to give him the same drabble about Walden, my favorite book, and he nodded on about what I had to say about Thoreau and his journey. After I finished my spiel he remarked that Emerson was better. Much more hardcore than Thoreau. I was intrigued. By both his statement and himself as a person. I took his opinion with gratitude and, finally, my drink (which had cooled since our conversation started) and reluctantly left the drive thru.

It was only a week later upon going into that starbucks did I find a copy of Nature sitting where my drink should have been. After that day I guess you could give it the cliche title of calling it history. We started to see each other, our first date being to a book sale. We became transcendentalists, adventurers together in both physical and mental means. I, the Thoreau and Him, the Emerson.