Top 5 Wednesday: Books that Make you Think

Ignore the fact that today is Thursday. Hush hush hush. Top 5 Wednesday was created by Gingerreadslainey on youtube, and here is the complete list of posters if you’d like to see what their choices are too.

But moving on, here are the top five books that have made me think.

5. Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba
This series, if you have not read it, is about a note book. When someone’s name is written in this note book, that person dies. When the main character finds this note book, he decides he’s going to use it to carve out a new world, one that will be perfect, free of crime. To do that, he has to kill anyone he deems evil. Murderers, rapists, so on. Throughout this book, you’re torn. The author writes this character as believing he’s actually doing good, but at the same time, he’s still killing people, still murdering. It made me think… if I would be given the same power, would I attempt the same thing? Obviously, I and everyone would like to say ‘no’ straight off, that I’d never do anything like that. But that’s also what a lot of the characters who ended up handling the Death Note thought originally too. And then they were introduced and seduced by its power. So honestly I don’t know. I’d like to say I wouldn’t use the Death Note, but if the situation became dire… would I?

4. Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa
This is another one of those ‘what if’ situations. The plot of this story follows two brothers whose mother dies. The boys try to bring her back to life using alchemy, but it backfires. Horribly. One boy loses his arm and leg. The other loses his entire body. Before his soul can be taken as well, his brother ties it to a suit of armor. That’s when the story picks up – these two characters, one sporting automail on his limbs, the other nothing but armor, try to regain their original bodies, and try to discover why their alchemy failed. Throughout the story, the taboo of bringing humans back to life is philosophized about, and it makes me wonder how far I would go to bring someone back that I loved if the methods were available. Would I sacrifice my entire body, becoming nothing but a shell? I don’t know.

3. Good Women of China by Xinran
This book is a collection of memoirs, so to say. The book was written by a woman who hosted a radio station in China in the 1980s. Anonymously, different women would call in and tell their stories on the air, unfiltered. This book is the collection of those stories. This book was actually assigned reading for one of my classes back in 2010, and I read it much faster than was assigned. I just couldn’t stop. The things that some of these women went through… blows my mind. It really opened my eyes to cultural differences between different countries, the every day experiences people have, and the differences between how opinions are valued. If you want a thought-provoking book, read this one.

2. Switching Time: A Doctor’s Harrowing Story of Treating a Woman with 17 Personalities by Richard Baer
As I probably mentioned, I have a degree in psychology. This kind of stuff is fascinating to me, regardless of the fact that I have since switched my focus of study to computers. This book is essentially a log book of a psychologist (or psychiatrist, can’t remember) who was doing what the title suggests. First off, multiple personality disorder is kind of fuzzy in the psychology world. A lot of people say it’s a legitimate diagnosis, a lot of people say it isn’t. I can’t say for sure myself. I have a bachelor’s, not a PhD. I’m hardly qualified to make that decision. But regardless, one thing that is agreed upon to result in the symptoms that may/may not be diagnosed as MPD (or DID – dissociative identity disorder) is that the person has gone through continuous trauma. Whether it be abuse, something they’ve witnessed, whatever. Something bad has happened to or around this person. And while reading the different personalities alone is fascinating and gets me thinking, I also get this underlying sense of dread and sorrow. This person had something terrible happen to them. I want to hug the person but at the same time I know it won’t do any good. I just.. buh. This book made me sad. It made me think.

1. Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
This book is set in a place where every thought you have is broadcast out loud to anyone close enough to hear it. Obviously, this made me think about my inner dialogue. What stuff do I say to myself all the time? I’m not even really conscious of it anymore, I just think stuff. And what if that ‘stuff’ could suddenly be heard by everyone? I have a feeling that friendships would become stronger or break apart nastily. Relationships would have a whole new definition of ‘no secrets’. It would definitely be interesting and honestly not something I think I’d want to experience. No thank you, please.


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