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 (5)
Categories: lists
February 14, 2014

Romantic Movies for 2014

Is it Valentine’s Day? Or Single’s Awareness Day?

Either way, I’m in the mood for watching some romance, and 2014 looks like it’ll be great for movies in that department. Here are four I’m especially excited about:

Winter’s Tale

What’s the best thing you’ve ever stolen?
I’m beginning to think I haven’t stolen it yet.

It’s Sybil from Downton Abbey! I’m really looking forward to seeing Jessica Brown Findley take on a new character. And ladies, the guy literally rides a white steed. I’m going to watch Winter’s Tale this evening with friends, and I’ll be sure to let you know how it turns out.

The Fault in Our Stars

I believe we have a choice in this world about how to tell sad stories.

Finally, a John Green movie. I’ve only read Paper Towns and probably won’t read TFiOS before it comes out on June 6. I’m trying not to feel guilty about that.

The Song


I can’t sing that song, Shel, that’s her song.

Based on the life of Solomon, this movie has got romance and a lot more, like passion, courage, and failure.

In Secret

Why did we kill him?

O.O What the heck? I have no idea what the movie’s resolution will be, and I’m surprised the trailer reveals so much, but I definitely want to find out.

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Posted by Melanie at 8:28 am - Comments (0)
Categories: lists
January 6, 2014

Three Little Words

Try new things. That’s my new year’s resolution.

Inspired by Sarah at Yes and Yes and her yearly New Things lists, I think I can give it a shot for a year. In Sarah’s words:

Some are easy, some are hard, some are shockingly mundane.

Most of mine probably fall in the mundane category, but they seem awfully exciting to me!

Here’s my top ten things to try:

1. Write a letter to a stranger.  Rediscovering my love of letter writing this past year has been lovely and bears more indulgence. And mll. will make finding a stranger easy.

2. Read The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater and then make November Cakes. I’ve literally been meaning to read The Scorpio Races since before it came out. Step one: get a copy of it.

3. Crochet a scarf and send it to the Red Scarf Project. This means I have to learn to crochet decently. I knit, so how different can it be? Famous last words.

4. Read Ecclesiastes. I really need context for the “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity,” remark.

5. Go skiing. And preferably not end up in a cast of any sort.

6. Visit another continent. Any of them, though I’m cliche and would prefer Europe.

7. Go on a double date. With the right people, this could be hilarious, but it also has a huge amount of #FAIL potential.

8. Go to a fancy restaurant by myself. I feel like college has sort of diminished my ability to be happily alone in public.

9. Fast for a weekend. To see what it’s like for myself.

10. Get a french manicure. Honestly, I’m not even sure what getting one done entails and how/if it differs from a normal manicure.  I just know I admire the end product.

There they are! The silly and exciting and one slightly stress inducing.

All in the name of trying new things.

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Posted by Melanie at 8:22 am - Comments (8)
Categories: lists