Melanie's Musings
October 20, 2014

My Top Five “Influential” Reads

I don’t know about you, but my Facebook feed is blowing up with people posting their most influential reads. It’s pretty fascinating stuff, simultaneously filled with no-brainers and a few, “No way, he read what??” moments.

Over on Books, A True Story, I discovered Facebook has aggregated data to construct a top 100 list from statuses of over 130,000 people.

The 100 books, topped by the Harry Potter series, offer a look into what books aren’t just read and tossed aside but really stick with their readers. Of them, I’ve heard of most but read only 18*.

Nearly every time I read a person’s list, I’m left with a question: What was it about each book that made it “influential”?

So, rather than simply slapping up a list of ten titles, I’ve dropped the amount to five and expounded a bit. Below, you’ll find my top five influential reads, and the reasons why.

1. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder- This book began my foray into fantasy fiction, which is currently dominating my reading.

2. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer- Though my opinion on this series has changed over the years, I’ll always be grateful to it for introducing me to the Young Adult genre.

3. Quiet by Susan Cain- I love the tag line of this book, “the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking.” It explained to me how the introvert side of me works and how society’s current view on introverts has formed.

4. The Stranger by Albert Camus- I’ve always thought that most people are neither black and white but gray. The Stranger illustrates that idea in such a clear, stark way.

5. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell- This book influenced my life in a major way before I was even born. I was named after Melanie Wilkes in the novel. That was an idea that took several years of getting used to.

Off the top of your head, what have been some of your most influential reads?

*The 18 books I’ve read off the list are: To Kill A Mockingbird, The Hobbit, Pride and Prejudice, The Hunger Games trilogy, Little Women, Jane Eyre, Gone with the Wind, Anne of Green Gables, Lord of the Flies, Wuthering Heights, Animal Farm, Of Mice and Men, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Secret Garden, Little House on the Prairie, Charlotte’s Web, The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Shack, The Odyssey, and The Stranger.

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Posted by Melanie at 9:00 am - Comments (0)
Categories: lists
October 6, 2014

The Song: Movie Review

Inspired by the writings of King Solomon, The Song is a modern exploration of questions people have been asking for milliennia about the meaning of life, the worth of love, and the lure of fame.

The Song Movie Poster

The Song stars Alan Powell of Anthem Lights and Ali Faulkner, who appeared in Breaking Dawn, as Jed and Rose. Their story together begins with young love. Occasionally cheesy in the best way, the growth of their relationship is such fun.

You know how it is. You meet someone you immediately think is amazing, then proceed to make the most asinine comment in the attempt to be witty. But somehow, they give you a chance anyway.

Jed and Rose eventually marry and build a family as Jed’s music career explodes. What once came so easily turns difficult and confusing. Heartbreaking and seemingly irreparable.

Take a sec to watch the trailer:


Some movies make it easy for viewers to pick a side, with black and white villains and heroes. The Song makes no such clear delineations. Everyone made mistakes, sometimes dastardly ones, and the line between sympathizing with a character’s yearnings and being repulsed by his or her actions was frequently taunted.

It’s been a while since I’ve watched a movie that took me on such an emotional roller coaster. In the middle, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted justice or mercy to be given. If I wanted truth out in the open, or secretly concealed, in hopes that things could be passed over and somehow move along. The Song made me question my own motives as much as those of any character.

Music takes a prominent role in the film, with original songs of the folksy, Americana variety. My favorite included these lines:

There’s a plan for us, a hand divine
The waiting was worth it now you’re my wife
We’ve been taking our time and doing this right
Tonight I’m not gonna just kiss you good night

You, the song my heart sings
Awake love, I want you to know we’re making love
Deeper than our bodies, you are written on my soul

The Song is certainly a movie worth watching. Its characters struggle, hard and real. Redemption and meaning seem light years away. Abiding love is practically lost. Yet still, there may be hope.

The Song

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Posted by Melanie at 8:29 am - Comments (8)
Categories: movie review
September 29, 2014

Knitting Like It Is 1743

Despite having no intention of reading the books, I’m immensely fond of the Outlander show.

Outlander on Starz

The drama. The political intrigue. The romances!

I’m pretty much fascinated.

The outfits (more than just the kilts) are a favorite of mine, and I particularly like all of the knitted accessories Claire tropes about the Scottish Highlands in, such as this:

Claire from Outlander
Just a bit ago, I found an Outlander inspired cowl design on Ravelry and decided to give it a shot. I just finished it up and think it turned out pretty well.

My favorite part about the cowl is that the yarn is so stretchy, I can wear it as a hood or a capelet as well. I like wearing it hood-style,as it feels fun and mysterious.

I may make another for myself in a brighter color, perhaps royal blue, since dyed yarn is just a bit more convenient to come by these days than in 1700s Scotland.

So, what d’ya think? Have you watched/read Outlander?

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Posted by Melanie at 9:09 am - Comments (15)
Categories: crafts,Uncategorized