Not necessarily in order....
"Oh the jobs people work at... out west, near Hawtch-Hawtch? There's a Hawtch-Hawtcher bee-watcher-- his job is to watch...
Is to keep both his eyes on the lazy town bee- A bee that is watched will work harder, you see.
Well, he watched and he watched, but in spite of his watch, that bee didn't work ANY harder. Not mawtch.
So then somebody said 'Our old bee-watchin' man just isn't bee-watchin' as hard as he can.
HE ought to be watched by ANOTHER Hawch-Hawtcher. The thing that we need is a bee-watcher-watcher!
The bee-watcher-watcher watched the bee-watcher. HE didn't watch well so another Hawtch-Hawtcher had to come in as a watch-watcher-watcher.
and today ALL the Hawtchers who live in Hawtch-Hawtch are watching on watch-watcher-watchering-watch, watch-watching the watcher who's watching that bee.
YOU're not a Hawtch-Watcher! You're lucky, you see!"
Read it aloud. I swear, it's fun. But, always in the end, I think that it helped me to develop an attitude that, even when things seem bad, they could be worse. And there can be great happiness in knowing that things aren't REALLY as bad as they seem.
The Dark Tower, by Stephen King. Oh, how I love this series, spanning seven novels fully dedicated to the story. I used to read more Stephen King when I was high-school age, but I found that it just got too scary and I don't read much of his horror genre anymore. I'm just too big of a wimp. But The Dark Tower is different. I'm not saying this is Nicholas Sparks happy-happy pukefest (my apologies if he's your favorite author... please seek help). The story of Roland and his band of gunslingers, part Western, part fantasy, part brilliant, thrills me to my toes. It's epic, it's heartbreaking. I fall in love with each of these characters, even the ones I don't actually LIKE... I can't help but love. A fictional world that somehow mirrors our own, King does an amazing job of capturing the essence of people, of the fight between good and evil.
3. The Clan of the Cave Bear, by Jean Auel. I just find this series to be really interesting. It's written to be in "caveman" time, sort of on the brink of grand amounts of technical innovation, all amusingly (to me) discovered by our protaganist, Ayla. Auel does a LOT of research before/during writing each book, and I honestly do find it terribly intrigueing to see how she puts that into her story. A word of warning... once you get to the second book, I swear they're having sex every other minute. There are times when you kinda want to say "Don't you want to take up a 2nd hobby or something?" Apparently there's natural Viagra in sabertooth tiger meat.
4. The Chronicles of Narnia, CS Lewis. I read and loved this series when I was a child, but was only aware of the surface story. It wasn't until my college years, when I read it again for a literature class, that I began to understand all the subtext and the parallels with Christian scripture. Reading this series fills with me childlike delight, while at the same time thrilling my soul with a deeper understanding of the meanings and obstacles in the Christian faith. By this time, my children are used to seeing me dissolve into a weeping mess every time I read any of these books.
5. Dragonlance, Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis. This is the first fantasy series I ever read... I can remember cuddling up with these books in middle school and just laughing my head off. Just normal fantasy stuff... dragons, wizards, elves, dwarves, warriors. But there was something about the characters that I just loved... they made me laugh! Fizban and Tasslehoff always made me giggle. Don't bother reading any of the books not written by the original authors, they kinda suck. But the originals are great!
6. Lord of the Rings, Tolkien. In some ways, I love this series for the same reasons I love Narnia. I also love this series for the same reasons I love The Dark Tower. It encompasses them both... beautiful allegory, excitement, epic story. Maybe it's the challenge of being part of something that is bigger than yourself. Maybe it's the message that small people can do great things. Maybe it's just that I have a mad mad crush on Aragorn. Maybe it's the idea that every person has a great adventure to live. But I truly believe this is a tale that is not to be missed. You should read it!
7. Anne of Green Gables, LM Montgomery. My most and best loved books from childhood... I still remember the first book of this that I ever read. I think it belonged to my great-grandmother... hardback. Falling apart. i can still feel the texture of the light green cover under my fingertips. There is nothing about Anne I don't like. I love her heart and her earnest nature. I love her propensity to forget what she's about. I love the bright look she brings to every situation, her ability to look with hope on each and every mistake she makes. I love her determination, her drive, her love. 25 years after reading this book for the 1st time, I still want to BE her. It is different reading Anne now... as well as seeing the story from Anne's point of view, I very much identify with Marilla, and find myself tearing up at the little ways that Anne worms her way into Marilla's heart.
8. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams. I've actually not read this in years, but I need to pick it up again. This is, hands-down, one of the funniest series I've ever read. As memory serves, I could barely go a page without cracking up laughing. I remember reading it while on a roadtrip with Joel once... and he'd keep asking me what was so funny. But it was so hard to explain when the REASON something was funny was because of something else written 50 pages earlier or whatnot.