I'm thankful for books. Really. Seriously. Truly. Without books, I wouldn't be even remotely the same person. I wouldn't be me. I mean, the first thing out of my mouth when people ask me to tell something about myself is "I love to read." My love of books defines me--maybe a little too much at times, and other areas of my life have probably suffered because of it. But nevertheless, reading is an integral part of who I am, and I am infinitely grateful for the books I've read.
This post on Angieville got me thinking about which books have influenced me the most--which books have really and truly shaped who I am. The post got me thinking and thinking and thinking, and pretty soon I knew I was going to have to blog about it.
So here's the list, roughly in chronological order:
-“The Ordinary Princess,” by M.M. Kay: This was my first favorite book, and I read it until the cover fell off. Then I read it some more.
-“Talking to Dragons,” by Patricia C. Wrede: My older sister first read this to me, and then as I got older, I read the rest of the series myself. Although it’s neither the first nor the best of the series, “Talking to Dragons” was the first fantasy I read, and I’ve loved the genre ever since.
-“The Little House on the Prairie” series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder: My friend and I read these books at the same time in 5th grade. It was my first experience reading books and discussing them with someone else, and I haven’t been able to stop talking about books since.
-“Little Women,” by Louisa May Alcott: This book was my favorite book throughout middle and high school. It was the first “classic” I ever read, and it showed me that genre didn’t have to be scary and unapproachable.
-“Beauty,” by Robin McKinley: My older sister gave me this book as a birthday present and launched me solidly into the world of Robin McKinley. I don’t think there’s any other author that speaks to me quite as well as McKinley.
-“The Princess Diaries,” by Meg Cabot: This is the book that started my love for YA fiction. Before, the only YA books I knew about where of the "Sweet Valley High" variety--not that I didn’t love those, but “The Princess Diaries” showed me there were books out there about teenagers I could relate to.
-“Jane Eyre,” by Charlotte Bronte: “Jane Eyre” . . . how can I possibly explain my love for this book? Jane--reserved, practical, and plain, yet immovable in her desire to do what’s right--was one of the first characters I could both relate to and admire at the same time.
-“All the Pretty Horses,” by Cormac McCarthy: This book was my first introduction to unconventional writing styles. I barely remember the storyline, but it taught me how to read books that step outside the box.
-“The Poisonwood Bible,” by Barbara Kingsolver: This one taught me that women can write as well as men do--and in this case, can do it better.
-“The Sun Also Rises,” by Ernest Hemingway: My first Hemingway. That’s all I need to say, really. The man practically ruined me for all other writing styles.
-“To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee: I didn’t read this book until college, but it immediately became one of my all-time favorites. The narrative voice is just so incredible, the story so wonderful, and the characters so lovable--who could ever forget the Finches?
-“The Book of Bright Ideas,” by Sandra Kring: With a single sentence, this novel completely changed how I deal with people: “Don’t judge people for what they’re doing until you know why they’re doing it.”