There are many things that can make a book stand out as special or meaningful. Sometimes a character can strike a chord with your soul, causing you to relate on a level deeper than anything you thought possible. Sometimes a story can be so moving or terrifying or beautiful that it stirs you or changes you. A book can show you a new way of thinking or can take you to a different world. A book can make you cry, laugh, or send a shiver up your spine. A book can feel like a part of you - like a family member, or a piece of your history. It can seem like the missing piece that you have been searching for. It can make you feel whole. Books can make you feel alive.
I have read many books that I would consider "special". Each of them have moved me in some way beyond what is normal. They have touched me, moved me, and made me think. They have left me longing for more and dreaming of different times, places, people, and worlds.
The most recent book that I've read that I would consider "special" is 'The Valley of the Moon' by Jack London. The Valley of the Moon refers to Sonoma Valley, and that is where my dad's side of the family is from. In Glen Ellen, more specifically. Glen Ellen has always held a very dear place in my heart and in the heart of my father's whole side of the family. It is a part of our heritage and our history. Incredible tales have been told of times in Glen Ellen. It is a magical place. Another factor that makes this book stand out is that my dad and I were reading it at the same time. It was something that we shared together. The story was dear to us both and it was special knowing that we were both delving into the same world and tale.
Jack London's ranch sits above the little town of Glen Ellen. It is a beautiful place to spend a day. I love wondering through the museum in the House of Happy Walls which was built by Jack London's wife in tribute to him. Each time I walk through Jack London's cottage I get a surge of emotions a longing for a simpler time of beauty and quiet in the country such as the time in which Jack lived there.
'The Valley of the Moon' takes place in such a time, and for me, it brings to life certain things that I have fantasized about. It describes Sonoma Valley long ago, before my grandmother had even been born there. It's one of those books that has reached me on a whole new level and touched a part of me that I didn't even necessarily know was there. It seems as though the story told in 'The Valley of the Moon' is a part of my own.
Over the course of your life, you may read many books that stand out as special to you, or you may read only one. Special books are dear and they should be treasured. They become a part of who you are. They shape you and influence you and move you. Books are powerful in that way, and "special" books are the most powerful of all.