Ten books that "have stayed with you the longest or have changed you in some way." My friend Eileen tagged me for this on Facebook, and I'm not having an easy time of it picking my ten.
It's sort of like asking me to tell my life story in ten sentences. Birth, marriage, the birth of my son--these are obvious choices. But do I go with my first job or the first time I traveled out of the country? What about that time I danced until my toenails fell off and then kept dancing anyway, or the year I went to the international science fair? You know, come to think of it, birth is kind of an obvious addition to the list... maybe I could get away with cutting it.
That's how I feel picking out ten books, so if I fudge it in a few places, please forgive me.
1. The Lord of the Rings & The Chronicles of Narnia
Why? These are the equivalent of "birth" in the analogy above. I'll never forget my dad reading the Battle of Helm's Deep and shouting "KHAZAD AI-MENU" at the top of his voice. Or how, after my mom read Narnia to me, I pretended my bathroom door could take me there. (The swirls in the wood of the door looked a little like a face.)
These are the books that made me a reader, and while they seem so obvious I wish I could cut them to make more room, I wouldn't really be here without them.
2. Harry Potter
Why? I never fell in love with a fictional world as much as I did with the wizard world. It was a revelation. I wanted to live there. Barring that, I wanted to create other worlds that made people feel the way Harry Potter made me feel. These are the books that made me a writer.
3. Ender's Game
Why? The psychology of it really resonated with me. My first real attempts at writing were very derivative of this book.
4. Watership Down
Why? It's one of the few books that gets better every time I read it. The characters stay with me. (And, I admit, the creepy warren does too.)
5. Howl's Moving Castle
Why? It's the only book I've re-read immediately after reading. I've read a lot of books that made me sad or made me laugh or even a combination of the two. But I never read one as whimsical as this. It fit the mood of my life so perfectly that I wanted to stay in it longer. Plus, Sophie's magic is precisely the sort I always wished for whenever someone asked me what my superpower would be, were I lucky enough to have one.
6. The Sparrow
Why? Perhaps it was because the main character was a linguist, and at the time I was studying linguistics. Perhaps it was the mix of horror and compassion at the end of the book. It hooked me, and then it tasered me in the feels.
7. The Merlin Trilogy
Why? Great series, but there's one particular scene that stands out to me. It digs into the relationship between the two central characters, and with a single sentence BOOM! emotional fallout.
Why? It's one of the few books that actually has a recognizable influence on how I live. Sure, every book changes the mind in some way, but this one made me conscious of the change. It helped me to look at areas of my life where I'm wasting my time and think more critically about them. Also, it had the most bittersweet ending...
9. The Book Thief & Code Name Verity
Why? If you've read them, I don't need to tell you. If you haven't read them, I can't tell you.
10. Un Lun Dun
Why? Because it is funny and clever and doesn't take itself too seriously.
Aaaaand now I want to go back and read all of these again. Oops.