Books That Wake You Up

This new book found its way to me last month. Have you ever had that happen? Where it seems like you read or watch something at the exact time that you need to read/watch it to make sense of life or a situation?

Anyway, I met the book’s author online, D.M. Kenyon, and I enjoyed talking with him so much that I bought his book, The Lotus Blossom. Then it sat on my Kindle for a month while the chaos that is my life swirled around me. Eventually, I’d cleared my plate a little and decided that I wanted to read a book by an author who was new to me. The Lotus Blossom won the coin toss and I read the back cover copy again.

“Madison Albright’s life takes an unexpected detour out of the isolated comfort of her suburban community where teenagers are taught how market their looks and everyone is obsessed with their social credit score when she brutally defeats a classmate who tries to rape her. D. M. Kenyon’s debut novel of a teenage girl’s transformation from texting gossip maven into a deeply aware, compassionate woman of conscience and commitment takes readers on a rare journey into personal evolution and self-mastery.”

Let me add that this is not my typical genre of choice. I mention this only to show how this book came to me, rather than me seeking it out. While the book is not my usual instant grab, I had really enjoyed talking to the author via Twitter, and I wanted to explore his story telling and see if he made me smile as much as on the Kindle page his tweets did. So I started reading and in short order realized that this book was not going to be a quick read. It was long and dense, and I had Christmas shopping to do and present wrapping and a book to finish writing that needed to go to market in just a few months. I really didn’t have the bandwidth for a book like this, but I couldn’t stop sneaking reads.

The story grabbed me out of the gate. The heroine’s viewpoint on school, friends, and society made me grin and reminded me of some of my own thoughts and experiences in high school. I kept reading in spite of everything that needed to be done, and the story sucked me in deeper as Madison’s world began to change. She met teachers who taught her new ways to look at life around her, to put down her cell phone, to turn down her music, and to really see the world. As Madison evolved, I found myself evolving, too. With each chapter I would read certain parts several times to let thoughts and ideas soak in through the “noise” around me. I’d think about how I could try on some new attitudes and find ways to change certain behaviors I didn’t like in myself. There was so much to learn and yet the story still pulled me along, the narrative enthralling. By the end, I had a couple of new mottos for life I put into practice, an altered attitude about strangers and friends, and recharged motivations. It really did wake me up, just like the title says.

I needed this book. Our individual worlds are full of extreme highs and lows. Steering through the waves is often exhausting. Now I have an enhanced boat with more navigational tools to help me stay the course and yet explore new routes.

Have you ever had a book that woke you up? Or watched a movie that opened your eyes and changed how you moved forward with your life? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

Happy reading!
Ann

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9 responses to “Books That Wake You Up

  1. I recently posted a blog here on BIWP, “We Can and Must Defeat Ignorance” about the movie, “The Help”.

    That movie deeply touched me, caused me to stop and examine my beliefs of what is right and wrong, reinforced lessons i had been taught. And it keeps coming into my thoughts daily.

    Good Post

    Wally

    • Wally, I have been wanting to see that movie. My mother-in-law had it over the Christmas holiday, but we were always busy doing something else and didn’t get to watch it. I’ll have to get it from Netflix. Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. I have not yet found a book that transformed me. Many have delighted, entertained or transfixed me, but to date I’ve yet to be so profoundly moved.

    • They are gems when they come along, especially when I didn’t expect it. I was thinking it would be a fun YA book, and there was so much more to it. The friendship I’ve developed with the author has been wonderful, too.

  3. Ann, there have been, over the years, many books that transformed me – mostly books that made me think differently about the world. Sometimes they’re not easy to read, sometimes they keep me up at night, but they’re always worth it.

    I’m glad you found one.

    Kate

  4. “Merle’s Door” (Lessons from a Freethinking Dog) by Ted Kerasote. This book is a riveting non-fiction story if you are open to discovering the history, and the potential, of a cross-species liaison between Man and Canine that dates back to the advent of humans and wolves. For me it confirmed what I discovered during the last year of my dog’s life–that we (as a species) have greatly undervalued our connectedness with other animals (beyond human ones). How,
    right beneath our noses’ there is so much more that can vastly enrich our lives. This book will educate you, touch your heart and open your eyes. For me it continues to expand horizons in unexpected ways. Thanks for tip on “The Lotus Blossom”. I look forward to having my attitudes broadened and my unhelpful behaviors exposed! Stephanie

    • Thank you in return for the book recommendation. I’m going to tell my sister-in-law about Merle’s Door, too. She will love it.

  5. Holy crap, I somehow missed this and just now found it because I was Googling myself. Okay, so that sounds creepy, but my old blog site has been taken off-line and I wanted to see how many dead links that that created and found this post. What a thoughtful cowgirl you are! Thank you for your kind words. And by the way, this is a really cool blog.

    Peace and warm cookies.
    D. M. Kenyon

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