There’s a chalkboard sign on my desk that reads “What you THINK you become. What you FEEL you attract. What you IMAGINE you create. – Buddha”. This little sign has prompted many a good daydreaming thought sessions, particularly with what I let myself think and feel.
Last year, I started binge watching Sons of Anarchy with the goal of making it through all 7 sevens. After a few episodes, I began to notice myself feeling a lot more jumpy in public. After watching a few seasons, I was a nervous wreck while running. The roar of a passing motorcycle sent chills down my spine. I found myself diligently assessing every trail head and corner for predators, all the while telling myself “it’s just a tv show.” It’s an absolute credit to the producer’s talent that they can create something so powerful it affects our daily life. Unfortunately, for me, it was a very very negative impact. Even though most of the people I talked to about it thought it was silly, I gave up watching. Within a few weeks, the trails were welcome safe havens again and I stopped shuddering involuntarily every time a motorcycle blared past.
There were 2 things I learned from this weird experience. 1) Binge watching violent tv can seriously alter your emotions. 2) I need to be more selective about what I’m letting into my brain.
There are a lot of really excellent although highly violent books in my library. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series, Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, anything by Stephen King. I spent a lot of time reading some fairly violent books in 2016, which may have contributed to the weird Sons of Anarchy experience.
My normal book selecting MO is to read whatever is recommended by my reading friends, has an interesting sounding title or looks interesting on the library shelf. For 2017, I decided to be a lot more selective in my reading choices. In the process, I spent a lot of time reading Amazon reviews, reading a lot of YA fiction and returning to my own childhood favorites. The question that kept running through my mind was: Can a book be a GOOD book, without a lot of sex and violence?
The answer was overwhelmingly yes.
There were 4 books that really shone for me this year as good old fashioned “Good Stories”.
- The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman – Beautiful written, heartfelt, emotional…I cried and cried and cried…and then gave the book to my best friend who cried and cried and cried. Absolute must read.
- The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder- This book is the crown jewel of American western/cowboy literature, in my opinion.
- The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley- I read this book in high school, which sparked a decades long love affair with Arthurian legends. Told from the perspective of Arthur’s sister, Morgaine, The Mists of Avalon provides a rare glimpse of the Arthurian legends through a female’s perspective.
- The Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Noble- This was a surprise find while browsing on my Amazon Kindle one night. The most excellent example of a good old fashioned “Good Story”, The Mermaid’s Sister is full of romance, adventure, gypsies, and coming home.
Wishing you many nights wrapped up in “good old fashioned stories”.