I don't believe it would be possible for me to choose just one book that I am thankful for, so many have influenced my life in different ways. So here's a few of my favorites:
I read Ella Enchanted so many times that I had the first chapter memorized. I still occasionally revisit my friends in Frell.
When I was twelve I sat in a doctor's waiting room with my grandmother, and she had me read the first line of this book aloud: "It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a single man, in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." Three old ladies sitting across from us sighed and smiled. I learned that appearances can be deceiving, and to not allow myself to make any judgements until I had as much of a story as could be had.
Cry, the Beloved Country pushed me out of my comfort zone with its writing style, but sucked me into the world of apartheid. I reread this one frequently and used it as reference material for many of my literature classes in college. It taught to me maintain some connection to my roots, my culture and heritage.
I grew up with Harry! I eagerly awaited each new installment of Harry's adventures, cried and laughed through the entire series. I sure was disappointed I was never called off to Hogwarts, but I was sure glad to learn, alongside the trio, that dark evil can be beaten with the simplest of spells.
The other grand adventure I remember from my youth was The Lord of the Rings trilogy. This, along with a few other books, really ignited my love of all things medieval. There was a romance in the mythology and poetic style of Tolkien's works, and I enjoyed the entire series. Until the end, when I bawled my eyes out. But then I had the movies to look forward to, and elaborate, gorgeous costumes at which to gawk and recreate. :)
I read Half the Sky a couple years ago. I walked away wanting to read it all over again, but also never wanting to ever see it again. It made me want to DO something, help someone, and left me knowing that if people just understood who we are as children of God a lot of our problems in this world would disappear. And I also walked away understanding my own worth as a woman more: I have more power and influence in my sphere than I know.
This was a book that just sat on my shelf when I was a teenager. One day I needed something to read, my mom suggested Cold Sassy Tree. I pulled it off the shelf and was hooked. A small, southern town, suddenly rocked by a scandal! What's not to love? But I love this book, and have gone back and re-read this one so many times.
There are a lot of other books I could list here, but it is late and I need to be in bed. But I have a feeling that tonight's dreams are going to be good ones as I remember old friends from my books. So sweet dreams, friends!