Several of my friends have tagged me on Facebook the past week or so, which means I’m supposed to list the top ten books that have stayed with me over the years. I’m not very good at doing top ten lists, because I hate picking the best of anything. So don’t consider this list a definitive answer. Look at it as more of a list of the first ten books that seemed important enough to Bryce when he was tagged to do this assignment.
Oh–and I’m going for fiction only on this list. Because that’s how I roll, yo. Here we go–in no particular order, other than the order the books happened to occur to me as I thought of them. (Don’t you love disclaimers? They let me function in everyday simple assignments like this.)
- The Chronicles of Narnia–Read this again and again as a child. My family has a Narnia-themed cabin in the mountains of Utah. Love love love it, though not as a Christian allegory or anything–I just love the story and the characters. (And I’ll sneak another series into here: Lev Grossman’s Magicians. Because a post-modern deconstructionist fantasy adaptation/response to Narnia is right up my alley.)
- Lord of the Rings–Sheesh. It feels like I’m just copping out here, going down a list of famous fantasies. I read the Hobbit in first or second grade, followed soon after by Fellowship of the Ring. Mainly because my brother was reading it at the time, and I figured anything he could read, I could read faster. Despite him being two years ahead of me and all. (It’s surprising how much of my life is the way it is because I’m a competitive person.) I’ve lost track how many times I read this series. Legion.
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn–Anytime you write a masters thesis on a book, it’s going to affect you. And when that thesis involves watching 19 adaptations of the book–most of them awful? It’ll stay with you even longer. I enjoy this book for how broken it is. How Twain seems to be doing one thing throughout the book, and then pulls the rug out from all the critics right at the end. Lots of food for thought here.
- How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy–Did I say fiction only? It seems I lied. This was the textbook Dave Wolverton used for the class I took from him on that topic. I was fresh off my mission, and I had a blast. It’s clearly had an impact on my life, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it.
- The Wasteland and The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock–As long as I lied about fiction, I might as well cheat and throw in some poetry on this list. Because poetry. And it doesn’t get more poety than TS Eliot. Freshman year of college I used to go to the library, hole up in a carrel, and read books about the Wasteland. What? How did you spend your freshman year? Prufrock beats Wasteland, but they’re both awesome works.
- Vodnik–Yes. I just used my own book. But I get to do that, because this is my list, and my blog, and the first book I professionally published certainly deserves a spot on this list. The years spent writing and revising it are numerous.
- The Wheel of Time Series–I still remember coming across it at the library. Picking it up because it was one of the thickest books on the shelves. I grew up with this series, and then a good friend of mine finished it. Still crazy to me. Still love it, warts and all.
- Flatland–Read this in 10th grade geometry. Still think about it from time to time, and I use it regularly to illustrate various principles. I know a lot of the other students disliked it. That’s fine by me.
- The Screwtape Letters–What? Two listings for CS Lewis? Tough. Get over it. Read this in middle school and thought it was awesome. It took Lewis from just “some guy who wrote Narnia” to “an author and thinker I want to read more of.” Ended up taking a class on his literature in college, too. Loved it.
- The Monster at the End of This Book–The first book I can remember just adoring and rereading again and again. Couldn’t get enough of Grover trying to stop me from turning the pages. Take that, silly Grover! Love reading this one to my kids now, too.
And there you have it. It’s sort of a motley list, and more than a little stream of consciousness, but I suppose that sort of describes me as a reader and person. I’m not going to tag anyone else, because it feels a little too chain lettery to me. But if you’d like to do a similar list and have been waiting for someone to call you out publicly, consider this the call!