There’s another list thing going around facebook, asking people to list the 10 most influential books on their lives. I’m not much into those lists on facebook, but it got me thinking. Then I saw this post on fellow LARA member Mia Hopkins’ blog, and thought: blog post! So here we are.
It would be absolutely impossible to pick just one book as my all time, perfect, favorite book. I’ve been a reader all my life. See for yourself: here I am at age 5, casually reading next to a palm tree with a fancy hairdo.
When I was growing up, our family went to the library at least once a week. I would leave with a hefty stack of books…about 10 or 20. I’m a fast reader. I thank my lucky stars for my kindle every day.
My preference has always been fiction. It takes me about five times longer to read non-fiction, no matter how “riveting” it may seem. I just can’t get into it. I also don’t care much for the “classics.” I read them for school, as we all do, but…they get enough attention, don’t they? And so, I give you the books that I most loved growing up. (We’ll save grown up books for another time, otherwise this would become a very lengthy post.)
One of the first books that really took me to another land was Shadow Castle by Marian Cockrell. It was her only book for children. A little girl follows her dog through a tunnel in the mountain to an enchanted fairy land. She meets a nice man near a castle who seems to be waiting for something. He takes her to the castle and shows her a wall with images of people moving about. He tells her stories about the shadow people to pass the time before sending her back through the tunnel to her grandmother’s house. It was magical.
C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, love them. Enough said.
I read Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder many times. The descriptions of life during the colonization of the United States were fascinating to me. It also made me appreciate things like modern heating and plumbing.
My favorite author growing up was, hands down, Anne McCaffrey. I think Dragonsinger was the first book I read by her, and I was Hooked (with a capital H). I could taste bubbly pies. I wanted my very own fire lizard. It didn’t happen, but I kept reading. Dragonflight, Dragonquest, The White Dragon, The Ship Who Sang, Crystal Singer, Restoree (possibly my first romance book)…the list goes on and on. Her stories were immersive and addictive. Needless to say, I own just about every book she ever wrote.
A Wizard of Earthsea (the Earthsea Cycle) by Ursula K. Le Guin was magical. It was the first series I read that really made me think about language and word origins. We follow Ged, a young man destined to become a powerful mage, as he grows up. Sound familiar? This was before Harry Potter, but the similarities end there. This is a completely different world, and Ged is actually brown-skinned in the books. (How disappointed was I when that miniseries came out? Very. Can you say mangled? I’m still hoping someone will see the beauty and magic of those books and get it right.)
I have a well-worn copy of Daughter of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts, set in a companion world to Feist’s Magician series. I loved the heroine, a brave teenaged girl from a ruling family who is about to finalize her oath as a lifelong devotee to the Goddess of Wisdom of the Upper Heaven when her family’s warriors arrive seeking the “Lady of the Acoma.” In that instant, she knows that her family is dead and she is the only one left to rule House Acoma. What follows in this trilogy is a beautifully played game of political chess, nuanced with past customs of Japan and China. Love it.
I can never decide if I love Piers Anthony‘s Incarnations of Immortality series (On a Pale Horse) or the Apprentice Adept series (Split Infinity) more, so I’ll list both. I liked Xanth, but these were definitely higher on my list.