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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #62: Influential Books

Thirteen Things about Influential books

A lifelong bibliophile, I thought it would be fun to share the books that have most influenced my life and why... be surprised!

1. Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene. My first "chapter book". I read it when I was five. Borrowed it from an older neighbor girl and have been hooked ever since.

2. Witch's Harvest by Sara Craven. My first taste of Harlequins... mmm... yummy. And yes, I'm still an addict. Go figure.

3. The Spring of the Tiger by Victoria Holt. Not my first Holt, which was Legend of the Seventh Virgin (I know, I'm scary with remembering books), but she's another writer whose stuff I can't get enough of. Actually, she's my all-time favorite author.) Anyway, this was the first book that made me bawl my eyes out. I know the ending is supposed to be happy, but it wasn't very satisfying for me. I hated that Clayton's redeeming moment was his death.

4. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Having not grown up in a Christian environment, I remember reading this book and thinking, "What? The guy who wrote those books I loved as a kid is a Christian?" It definitely made me rethink what I thought a Christian was and what I thought a Christian could write about.

5. The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. Probably the best reflection of who I am in my faith. LOVE this book.

6. I, Claudius by Robert Graves. My friend Jaime and I read this back in middle school. We thought we were so grown up for reading something so beyond what middle schoolers read. Still, I find the intrigue fascinating.

7. Hamlet by William Shakespeare. This really just shows how loony I am... I think I am one of the few people on the planet who thinks this should be labeled as one of his comedies, not a tragedy. I get giggles just thinking about it... "Get thee to a nunnery!"

8. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. LOVE this book. Weird, because I need happy endings, but I always figured that Scarlett would've won him back in the end. I actually liked Scarlett. Hmmm... maybe that's why I have a hard time with likable heroines.

9. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. I KNOW! Some of you who know me well are thinking I'm nuts since I am such an advocate of happy endings. And no, I do not think it was a happy ending. Spoiler: They DIED. But there is something very beautiful and captivating about her writing that makes me read this book over and over. And even though they died, there is something incredibly powerful and romantic about the love they shared.

10. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. Another weird book, since I haven't actually finished it. The bookmark is still at about 1/5 of the book. However, after reading that much of it, I can tell you why the guy was an alcoholic. Frankly, I had to stop reading it, otherwise, I'd become one myself. Wow, that stuff was dry. Anyway, this book taught me that while I love to read, a connoisseur of what others define as fine literature I am not.

11. The Republic by Plato. I am fascinated by this book. I actually almost just picked it up and started reading it again just now, but I held back. Each time I read it, I come away with something different, and sometimes even contradictory from what I last took away. This book makes me think a lot about life and government. Probably a good book for the election.

12. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. This should be every writer's bible. Really great book that reminds me to accept my writing process and go with it.

13. The Bible by God. I almost left this off the list, because I didn't want to sound trite. Every Christian names the Bible. And the truth is, I don't read it as much as I should, understand it as much as I want, and feel woefully inadequate when it comes to talking about this book. But everything in my life, everything I read, always draws me back to this one book. This one story that is the ultimate romance, the ultimate mystery, and the ultimate battle where good triumphs over evil. And in my opinion, those three things are absolutely necessary to make any read worth my time.

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Donna said...

This is a wonderful list. I'm glad you didn't leave off the Bible. It isn't trite and it is all of those things you said. C.S. Lewis is one of my favorites. When I re-read Chronicals of Narnia as an adult, it was strange how all of the Christian nuances I'd missed as a child were so obvious.

Anyway, great list. My TT list is up here. Stop by if you get a chance.

Debbie@Like a Rose said...

Good list. I've read about half of those. I just finished Mere Christianity and there were several points that he made that are very timely now, especially when you consider when he wrote it.

Anonymous said...

What a fabulous list! I'll have to check back and the next time I'm shopping for a book. :) Although I do already have the Bible.

Happy Thursday!

Anonymous said...

C.S. Lewis is great! Happy TT.

siteseer said...

Love the list. I can't believe you can remember all those books. Here at work I'll read a book and pass it on and by the time the next person reads the book I've forgotten all about it. Guess I just read to escape haha. My comprehension is just slow. I'm reading the Bible for the third time and still find lots of new stuff.

Kay Day said...

I love Like Water for Chocolate, too! I love the magic of it.

Anonymous said...

Have you read "Rhett Butler's People" by Daniel McCaig? It's not really a sequel, but a reimagining of some parts of GWTW, as seen through Rhett Butler's eyes. It adds more depth to the original, and it's just a really good book on its own.

Don't bother with "Scarlett" by Alexandra Ripley. What a mess that was.