Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam. You get a new topic every Wednesday, and you list your Top 5 books related to that topic. If you’d like to take part, join the Goodreads group, and add your name to the list of bloggers & booktubers!
This week’s topic has me a little nervous, because it’s a bit like walking a tightrope between healthy self-awareness and wishful thinking. I usually manage to identify somewhat to nearly every character I read, which I’ll chalk up more to good writing than to a versatile personality, but let’s see what we can do!
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
As a young girl, I could be found either with my nose buried firmly in a book or in alone in my room, meticulously acting out scenes I’d digested from the printed word. As I grew, a third option was added, at the helm of the family’s chugging desktop computer or hunched over a scribbled-in composition notebook, feverishly working out stories of my own creation.
Not much has changed on that front, really–I’ve just managed to work these odd habits into the somewhat impressive titles of “book reviewer” and “author,” respectively. Even though age and profession forces me to descend from the clouds of well-penned literature into reality now and again, and my emotions do not dictate my actions near as much as they used, I can’t help but identify with Anne Shirley, especially in the first installment.
That girl who uttered things like
“My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.”
“Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I’d do. I’d go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I’d look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I’d just feel a prayer.”
“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I’ve never been able to believe it. I don’t believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.”
That girl who saw the power of imagination and language and emotion above all else?
Yep, she’s still alive and well here in me.
The Harry Potter Series
There are a lot of ways I’d like to be like Hermione. She tunes into current events much younger than I did, and she’s a natural problem solver, while logical puzzles are something I’ve been able to conquer only through strong training. She’s also quite brave in the face of danger, which unfortunately I can’t say about myself. I often quake in my boots at the mere thought of hypothetical peril.
There are four aspects of my personality that line up precisely with Hermione’s, though:
1) I am an insufferable know-it-all (despite my husband’s insistence that he suffers me quite well).
2) I am a stickler when it comes to FOLLOWING THE RULES.
3) I judge the willfully ignorant with no mercy.
3) I worry about grades when I absolutely, positively should not.
“Are you sure that’s a real spell?” said the girl. “Well, it’s not very good, is it? I’ve tried a few simple spells just for practice and it’s all worked for me. I’ve learned all our course books by heart, of course, I mean, it’s the very best school of witchcraft there is, I’ve heard – I’ve learnt all our set books off by heart, of course, I just hope it will be enough – I’m Hermione Granger, by the way, who are you?’
She said all this very fast.
Harry looked at Ron, and was relieved to see by his stunned face that he hadn’t learned all the course books by heart either.
‘I’m Ron Weasley,’ Ron muttered.
‘Harry Potter,’ said Harry.
‘Are you really?’ said Hermione. ‘I know all about you, of course – I got a few extra books for background reading, and you’re in Modern Magical History and The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts and Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century.’
‘Am I?’ said Harry, feeling dazed.
‘Goodness, didn’t you know, I’d have found out everything I could if it was me,’ said Hermione.”
I’m that student who talks too much in class, the one who answers to many questions, the one who vocally worries and stresses about the final only to walk away with a 93% in the class. I get bent out of shape when people don’t FOLLOW THE RULES. I’m not proud of it, really; I’ve just grown to accept it. It’s who I am. Anxious judgmental nerdy rule-following power to you, my witch-sister. We are who we are.
The Chronicles of Narnia
This one’s a stretch because honestly, I never really identified with Lucy. I just really, really wanted to. I spent hours sitting in my closet with my eyes closed, praying for God to take me to Narnia just once, just so I could see it for myself. Each time, I would open my eyes, disappointed to see the peeling beige paint of my closet walls instead of scratchy branches covered in snow.
But still, there’s some kinship I feel with her, even though I shouldn’t. Out of all the Pevensies I suppose I should really identify with Peter or Susan, but I’d just…rather not.
But there are a few qualities of hers I possess. Like she is in the beginning, I am too trusting.
“Meanwhile,’ said Mr Tumnus, ‘it is winter in Narnia, and has been for ever so long, and we shall both catch cold if we stand here talking in the snow. Daughter of Eve from the far land of Spare Oom where eternal summer reigns around the bright city of War Drobe, how would it be if you came and had tea with me?”
Even though everything turned out all right for her in the end–Queen Lucy the Valiant, hello–I read her sojourn with Mr. Tumnus into the dark, snowy wood with a white-knuckled grip. Don’t go! I want to shout. He’s misleading you. But like the trusting gals we are, Lucy follows him with a smile and a skip. Thankfully, all is well when we turn the last page.
The March Sisters
I’m cheating and letting this one count for two items, since there are four girls involved here. When reading (and watching!) Little Women, I always find myself torn between which sister I identify with. There is the quiet romance of Meg, the creative writerliness of Jo, the dramatic emotionality of Amy, and the musical shyness and solitude of Beth, all pulling me in opposite directions. I finally realized that these sisters are all parts of, I imagine, most women’s personalities. They only feel right when united. That’s why I’m sticking to my indecisive story and refusing to choose just one.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s T5W! I’ll see you next time.