Seven Great Books that Describe Me

Books are a large part of my life: that may be an understatement. I’ve lost myself in them, found myself in them and traveled to places I could never go in reality. Describing myself in seven books was never going to be possible, so I settled for going through my shelves for books that made deep impressions on me. It wasn’t easy to do, there’s quite a few books to choose from so I limited myself to physical books and left out the ebooks and ones lost to previous lives.

A stack of seven books on a sunlit table

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood: I’ve read a lot by Margaret Atwood but Oryx and Crake and the following two books in this trilogy stood out for me. The world begins not so different from our own and that makes events all the more prescient. Atwood stated she didn’t include any technology that didn’t already exist and created a nightmare scenario that is all too possible.

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker: This is a tremendous book that  I do not recommend anyone with a young baby should read. It’s full of information about how we sleep and the benefits to our brains and memories as we sleep. It’s a stark warning about what happens when we don’t get enough sleep. And most of us don’t…

That They May Face The Rising Sun by John McGahern: A quiet novel tracking a year in the life of a blow-in couple in rural Ireland. Nothing much happens but the little details of life and the characters in the area are richly drawn with affection. I prefer it to his more famous novel Amongst Women which was a little spare. If you’re interested in similar, he wrote many short stories too.

Beloved by Toni Morrison: This is a chronicle of pain and loss and the deep scars they leave, it is beautifully written and absolutely heartbreaking.  A classic that left me stunned. It’s a picture of motherhood and how slavery cannot be easily escaped.

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande:  A collection of essays about the end of life, how it’s experienced and whether we die the way we’d like to or not. I’ve read several essay collections by this doctor and they are all interesting. This was the most thought-provoking, prompting questions about the type of death I’d like and what’s most likely to happen.

The Iliad by Homer: Living just up the road from Troy I read this in my first year in Turkey. It was thrilling to read it on the spot, trying to imagine where the ships were beached and the battles fought. It’s doubtful Homer ever came here, but then it’s fairly certain that he passed on a collective work from many sources in the oral tradition. It’s a great tale and and exciting read (in spots!).

Middlemarch by George Eliot: This is a book I reread frequently and each time I find something new. All life is here (or at least within the limits of genteel English country life, marriage, relationships, and ambition). At first I was taken by Dorothea and her idealism, then the romance, then the tragedy of Casaubon, the doomed relationship of the doctor. I’m due another read I think!

This was originally a reel on Instagram, my first attempt. You’ll have to visit @CatherineYigit on Instagram to find it.