Books to Impact an Introvert

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This photo, “With a book,” is (c) Mo Riza 2006 and made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial license.

Can anything beat the joy of finding a book you love so much that you have to finish it in one sitting?

I’m sure it’s possible, but for me, reading is pretty high up there in hobbies that I can get lost in. And I love getting book recommendations–but the saying goes that you have to give to get. So, how about we strike a deal? I share four books that have impacted me in some way related to my being an introvert, and you share some of yours. Just in time for summer! Sounds solid.

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

L.M. Montgomery is best known for the Anne of Green Gable series and perhaps also for some of her other children’s/young adult novels. But she also wrote at least a couple of novels for adults! The Blue Castle is the story of Valency, a young woman who lives a pretty repressed life with her mom and aunt. This changes when she receives some health news that strikes her into action to take control of herself–she leaves home, gets a job, and even seeks love.

It may not sound like a fresh concept now, but I can imagine that in 1926 when it was published it was rarer–and it really was a blessing for me to read just last year, to remind me of the importance of going after what you want in life, despite others trying to hold you back. I can get passive as an introvert, living in my head a lot–so it’s good to get a kick in the you-know-where sometimes.

I read it online, as it is available in the public domain–definitely one to check out!

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

This is the darkly funny story of a high school student, Melinda, who almost completely stops talking after a traumatic summer experience. Over the course of the novel, she becomes able to heal and express herself again, partly through art and through good people in her life.

I think everyone can benefit from sharing their difficult stories–which introverts can struggle with when their voices may seem quieter than others! This book, and the movie starring Kristen Stewart, was a good reminder for me.

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

The movie of this one was great too, and the book–a memoir of Susanna’s time in a mental institution starting at age 18–is even better. It is written without a set plot (unlike the movie) but with short, often humorous snippets of her interpretations of her experiences.

I actually had to write a paper in university on Girl, Interrupted for Sociology of Mental Health (super interesting course!), and one of the themes I wrote about was Susanna’s thought that mental illness diagnoses were sometimes just a way to label people who didn’t fit in with society. For instance, she felt like the fact that she didn’t want to attend college had played a role in her mental illness diagnosis–when really she just had ambitions to become a writer instead.

This is a fun read for anyone who questions society’s definition of “normal.”

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Okay, here’s a lighter one! This is a young adult novel about Ginny, a teenage girl who gets sent on a trip to Europe by her deceased aunt, who left behind 13 envelopes that tell her where to go and what to do. It’s a darn funny tale of an introvert being forced out of her comfort zone quite a bit–and in the end learning a lot about what she’s capable of. I like travelling and adventures and wouldn’t mind being sent on a free trip to Europe myself… so this is escapism at it’s finest for me!

 

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