There’s a meme going around FB, which is not the best venue for it, but you’re supposed to list 10 books that have stayed with you and why. They don’t have to be ‘great’ books…just ones that became important to you.
1) The Bible, assorted authors
Read and reread this one many times. Other than the religious aspects (which I take seriously), there are tons of stories in here, stories that are archetypes for our culture’s literature, that show up again and again in many variations. (And some of them are pretty shocking, I must say!) I have been told before that I’ve used biblical allegory in my own writing, although I didn’t do it intentionally. It’s just there in the backdrop of our culture’s mind.
2) Mrs. Frisbee and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O’Brien
2nd grade. I still have my copy. This was the first book I recall LOVING and reading over and over.
3) The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabth George Speare
Also 2nd grade. My first romance novel. I didn’t realize it until years later, but that’s why I loved this one so much.
4) Watership Down, by Richard Adams
6th Grade. Mrs. Joyce read this to us in class, and I fell in love with it–the worldbuilding, the mythology, the characters. I bought my own copy and carried it around all the way through Jr. High until my choir teacher, Mr. Prestwood, gave me a hardback copy. (He also worked at Waldenbooks…yes, even then, teachers weren’t paid enough.)
5) The Red Pony, by John Steinbeck
High School. This stuck with me more than any other piece of required reading because of the intensity with which I HATED THIS STORY. I disliked a large percentage of the required reading, and was indifferent to other stories, but this one…..BLARGH! It’s eighty pages of a horse dying and a boy feeling guilty over it.
6) The Gate of Ivrel (plus The Well of Shiuan and The Fires of Azeroth), by C. J. Cherryh
College. Wow. Just wow. I developed my life-long love of Science Fantasy while reading this trilogy, and sorta fell in love with Nhi Vanye. I also loved that the POV character was the less-powerful one in the situation.
7) The Pursuit of the Screamer (plus Circle, Crescent, Star and Summerfair), by Ansen Dibell (Nan Dibble)
There were some amazing concepts in this series which really stuck with me. They weren’t original so much as the combinations of the concepts really clicked for me. Unfortunately, hardly anyone has ever read this amazing series. And other than some media tie-in for Beauty and the Beast (which I have not read), this was all the fiction the author published. I love, love, LOVE these books.
8) The Mirror Crack’d, by Agatha Christie
This book introduced me to Miss Marple. I adore Miss Marple, mostly because she’s not a modern kick-ass heroine. She’s an elderly woman who uses her superpower of collation to recognize personality types and make conclusions based on the tiniest bit of data she’s overheard. Seriously, the woman is brilliant. I’m hoping to be her in my old age….
9) Downbelow Station, by C. J. Cherryh
This is not one of my favorite of her books, so why is it here? Because it’s the book that taught me to push through. I read the first 100 pages of this book, got hopelessly tired of all the info coming at me, and put it away up in my closet. A few months later, I pulled it down and decided to muscle through. Well, I hit the interesting stuff on page 104 or so, and read the remaining 600 pages in one sitting. WOW. It was a rollercoaster from there on out.
One thing I learned from it is that complicated plots require a ton of information dropped in. Often that’s a turn-off, but sometimes it’s worth it.
10) These Old Shades, by Georgette Heyer
Different people will all have different opinions on which is the best Heyer book, but this is the first of hers I read, and the one that I’ll always go back to. It’s also one of the first Regency Romances I read (along with French Slippers by Deborah Chester), which formed my love for that period. I actually prefer Heyer to Austen (I know. I’m wrong), and I’ve even read all of Heyer’s mysteries.
So that’s it. If I have to limit it to 10, then that’s what I’ve got.
I’m not going to tag anyone, because I don’t approve of peer pressure, but if you want to do it, feel free to put a link to yours in comments below.