15 books

Oh my goodness, a post that is not a photograph! This was making its rounds 'round Facebook, and I rather liked the responses, so I'm posting them here as well. It was interesting having to think of 15 books -- to narrow them down! -- and think about the ones that really stuck with you.

These are in absolutely no particular order. Don't make me choose - I tried once, and it was painful.

Instructions were:
Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.

1. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
An absolutely amazing coming-of-age story, that just pulls at your heart and never lets go. I love the beginning: "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining board, which I have padded with our dog's blanket and the tea-cosy." Oh--first love. The film, incidentally, is phenomenal.

2. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
Does this need explanation? The end of my childhood perhaps may be an exaggeration, but it was so bittersweet and tied up all the loose ends. So sad it had to end this way, but I'm glad it did.

3. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
This book has FOOTNOTES. Footnotes for books that are within the world! Books on the history of magic in England! Amazing. In the style of an early 19th century novel, it creates a world of English magic that you wish was real.

4. Time & Again by Jack Finney
I am realizing that there is a definite "time travel" theme to my books. Si Morely travels back to 1880s New York City to solve a mystery. One of my father's favorite books (if not the favorite) and summarily passed on to me. Also, historically accurate - neat!

5. The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Fed into my love of Egyptology as a child, my fascination with the hidden and tucked away, and remained with me ever since.

6. The Giver by Lois Lowry
Oh, those descriptions of the memories! The world! Taught me that you could stand up to the world for the greater good.

7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
One of the first novels I remember just devouring. I read it in 6th grade, when we lived in Cambridge, England, because I remember my little room, and the armoire that held my clothes and my treasures like coins stacked up in neat rows. I had a cover of Jane Eyre that I adamantly refused to believe was what Jane looked like, because the cover looked like Kate Winslet. The book frightened me terribly as well -- I was convinced that Mrs. Rochester lived in my grandfather's attic and still cannot sleep in the house unless the door to the study (which leads to the attic) is closed. Oh, that cackling laugh at the keyhole--it's still dreadfully scary.

I also just spent a half-hour attempting to find this cover, but the Internet has failed me. It is a pretty girl in a bonnet on the right hand side of the cover and it is bright.

8. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
This book is one of the first times I have literally gasped in horror at one of the plot twists. Oh, Marian! What a heroine!

9. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Hush, Tyler. I loved it, though I freely admit to skipping most of Galt's speech, because I'd already read 800 pages of it, basically. The image of the Rearden metal on Dagny's wrist - wow.

10. These Happy Golden Years (from the "Little House" series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Oh, Almanzo. Oh, those calling cards with the spray of flowers! Carriage rides! I read this right at the point when it could set the bar of how I wanted to be courted. Also, Almanzo is a looker.

11. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
Great mystery. Probably started my love for puzzle-like mysteries as a kid.

12. the Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
A delicious neo-gothic novel with deep roots in Victorian mysteries -- libraries! fires! twins! mysteries! -- it's just fabulous. I picked it up in the morning and didn't put it down until I finished it.

13. Lost Moon by Jim Lovell
It began with Apollo 13, but because this book was the logical sequel to watching that film (as it's the basis) it fueled my love of the space program, my admiration for Jim Lovell, and subsquent love and appreciation for Apollo 8. This caused one particular green binder cover in 6th grade to be covered in diagrams of Saturn V rockets, CSMs and LEMs, lists of astronauts by group, and a map of the landing sites (which was honestly a moon with some Xs at random points.) At one point it will be framed.

14. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
One of the greatest sets of stories of patience and faith, and I read it at a time when I needed more of both. Lamott writes in such an honest way, you find yourself relating to her -- because what she goes through is what we all go through, searching for meaning in our lives.

15. Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
Autobiographical stories of her love of books. As a reader, it only makes you happier to read books about loving books, and these essays just make you happy. Who can't relate to: "Not everyone likes used books. The smears, smudges, underlinings, and ossified toast scintillae left by their previous owners may strike daintier readers as a little icky... I developed a taste for bindings assembled with thread rather than glue, type set in hot metal rather than by computer, and frontispieces protected by little sheets of tissue paper."

runner up: Interpreting Our Heritage by Freeman Tilden. Because it's inspiring.


Abby said...

Ahhhh, many of these are my loves as well...good choices :D

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