Friday, November 12, 2010

I mean, if Taylor Swift likes it....

by Rachel S.

A couple of weeks ago, one of my friends passed on this website hosted by Scholastic, called You Are What You Read. Intrigued (obviously), I promptly investigated. Scholastic invented a brand new word on which to base their project:

bookprint [book-print] noun: The list of books that leave an indelible mark on our lives, shaping who we are and who we become.
Okay, so as cheesy as it might sound, it’s actually a pretty cool idea. To readers, books really are an incredibly important part of who we are. The purpose of reading is to further your understanding of both the world and yourself and to see meaning in what before may have been unremarkable or elusive. That books can shape perception as well as action is a truth that needs no expansion. There are some books that I’ve read time and time again, each time as enjoyable as the last. Others I’ll get through only once, but these too can stick with me, usefully popping up for new situations or discussions forever after.

Personal and internal importance aside, books are often also a way of connecting to others- whether it’s in a mutual love or excitement over a particular tome or a fierce disagreement. While choosing only 5 is a really difficult task (so many choices- immediately overwhelmed!), once the books have been narrowed down, you can see who else has been similarly affected by the same words.

Also interesting are the lists of popular titles. The “Most Listed" list differs from the “Most Liked” in parts- obviously you don’t have to necessarily like a book to be marked by it.

I’m really interested to know what your “bookprint” would be if you could only have 5. Also, would it matter that Bill Clinton values The Invisible Man or that Taylor Swift was affected by Charlotte’s Web (or that Daniel Radcliffe’s life was changed by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone…)? Because they all have profiles and Scholastic is conveniently making it easy for your favorite famous people to show you that they like reading, too.

In any case, I really enjoyed exploring the site (though I’m still working on my own list!) and if nothing else, there’s little I like more to look at then lots and lots of book covers all lined up.


  1. Thanks for blogging about this website. I'm definitely going to check it out. And I LOVE the idea of a "bookprint." Off the top of my head, I have to say that The Chronicles of Narnia (can I count that as 1 title?), Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy would be my 5. Of course, that may change in 5 minutes when I think of some other fabulous book!

  2. Wow, what a cool idea. Go Scholastic!

    I would have to say 1) The Witching Hour by Anne Rice, 2) Raptor Red by Robert T. Bakker, 3) Gulliver's Travels, 4) The Wizard of Oz, 5) The Stranger by Albert Camus.

    ...That list makes me seem really, really weird... I might need to blog on this oddity next week.


  3. When I was nine I read H.P. Lovecraft's "Cry Horror" and Sarte's "Intimacy," which explains a lot...

  4. ummm, just 5 is hard. One is an old favorite, one is a book I just read this year. Except for the new book, these are books I've read over and over again. I can't do that unless I adore a book. A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Shadow of the Wind, Persuasion, Charleston, and The Sky is Everywhere

  5. So hard to pick 5!!! When I saw Monica mention The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I said, "Yes, yes, that's one!" Then I saw Gilbert mention Jean-Paul Sartre and I said, "Oh yes, I must put his 3 book series about Les chemins de la liberté: 1. L'Âge de Raison 2. Le Sursis 3. La Mort dans l'Âme and, so hard!

    So , here my list : all books that I've read and reread over the years!

    Dancing Wu Li Masters - Gary Zukav
    Les Autres Vies et la Reincarnation - Bernard- Duboy
    Parallel Universes - Fred Alan Wolf
    Of Human Bondage - W. Somerset Maugham
    Out On A Limb - Shirley MacLaine

  6. I was also a little too fascinated by what famous people were reading and it cracked me up that Daniel Radcliffe and I are "bonded" over sharing a favorite book (The Old Man and the Sea).

    Ah...The Stranger, I'd forgotten about that one. If I could pick 10 books, it'd probably be on that list.

  7. Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman - Richard Feynman

    For whom the bell tolls - Hemingway

    Guns, Germs, and Steel - Jared Diamond

    The Corruption of Reality: A Unified Theory of Religion, Hypnosis, and Psychopathology - John F. Schumaker

    Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien

  8. oh bother... it frustrates me that for the People You Know who are listed, it seems it won't let you see WHY they chose those books... at least I can't find that on the page. :( For regular folks it seems to show up just fine.

  9. I would have to say Chronicles of Narnia and Charlotte's Web. Any of the realm of books that mixed every day life with the sudden discovery of something magical and unexpected, but those two titles are the one that leap to mind.

  10. Monica- I think the word "bookprint" was one of my favorite parts about this. Like fingerprint, everyone's is similar in basic form, but completely different and individual in every other way.

    I hadn't even considered that reading about all of these books that have affected everyone so wholly would mean that I have to now make a list of "RACHEL YOU MUST READ THESE" books...

    And I love that the lists are so diverse within each other. There's "classics," kid's books and books that are just...good. In a way that can't be explained.

  11. Styron's SOPHIE'S CHOICE, Atwood's CAT'S EYE, Stegner's ANGLE OF REPOSE, Morrison's BELOVED, Smiley's A THOUSAND ACRES.


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