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books meme

Reposted from Tumblr.

Rules: In a text post, list ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take but a few minutes, and don’t think too hard — they don’t have to be the “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you.

This list is going to largely consist of "Books I read at an impressionable age that have had lasting effects on my mental landscape." All aboard the nostalgia train!

  1. The Little White Horse - Elizabeth Gouge (because hares are more noble than rabbits)

  2. The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm - Nancy Farmer (between this and House of the Scorpion, Farmer is one of the weirdest and most underappreciated YA authors of the 90s)

  3. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (one of my single most favorite books ever ever ever)

  4. Anne of the Island - L.M. Montgomery (or really everything by Montgomery, but Anne's games of imagination with Davy particularly resonated)

  5. The Wind in the Door - Madeleine L'Engle (I was so disappointed to find out what mitochondria were actually like. So disappointed)

  6. The Harper Hall Trilogy - Anne McCaffrey (FORMATIVE. INFLUENCE.)

  7. My Side of the Mountain - Jean Craighead George (wilderness survival narratives - never over them)

  8. The Goats - Brock Cole (such an odd man out on this list - boy and girl on the cusp of puberty get bullied at summer camp and run away together for several days, stealing food and hiding out and bedsharing - but it's stuck with me all this time after only that one read)

  9. The Alfred Hitchcock series of children's horror anthologies (so much weird there for a young mind just starving for weird)

  10. Weirdos of the Universe Unite - Pamela Sargent (where I was introduced to several mythological / folklore figures, for one thing, like Baba Yaga and the Horned King. A profoundly weird and silly book.)

The main themes here seem to be: female authors, SFF in some way. Shocking, I know. From when I could read, the weird was always what I wanted.

Other key influences that didn't make this list: Dr. Seuss (again, as weird as possible: On Beyond Z, Oh the Places You'll Go...), Chris Van Allsburg, Bruce Coville because I couldn't choose just one, Alexander Key with some inescapably 60s-flavored children's fantasy alongside his relatively respectable Escape to Witch Mountain, The Girl with the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts, and on and on.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comment here or there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 13th, 2014 03:31 pm (UTC)
I always miss important things on Tumblr so I'm glad you reposted this! Also high five for The Wind in the Door. :)
Jul. 13th, 2014 04:27 pm (UTC)
*high five*

A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and Troubling a Star also all figure into my mental landscape - especially the last one, oddly enough - but never in quite the same way as The Wind in the Door.
Jul. 13th, 2014 04:28 pm (UTC)
Oh man, I love Troubling a Star so much. I think some people find it sort of contrived, but it's such a comfort read for me I don't even care.
Jul. 13th, 2014 04:36 pm (UTC)
I've actually never met another person who's read it! I just really loved the description of going to Antarctica, like that's something some people can actually do.

I have a weird relationship with L'Engle generally. She seems not terribly invested in, IDK, the realism of her stories? She's more concerned with the emotional logic of them than the physical plausibility. I think that's probably why her fantasies work best for me, since her fantasy world is basically built on emotional logic anyway. Her "realistic" novels feel less successful to me, because they do the same thing, but in a setting that I expect to make more sense.
Jul. 13th, 2014 04:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I guess her Austin family books go back and forth a lot between everyday things like family roadtrips, and random stuff like pyschic dolphins. I think a lot of it gets put forward with enough of a veneer of science that it's kind of trying to be sci-fi, even though it's really more fantasy in spirit? But I love her books in general, I read a ton of them in high school and they were really important to me.
Jul. 13th, 2014 04:46 pm (UTC)
I think it might be the veneer of science that trips me up. It's like if we throw in science words, then I'm expected to buy it as being actually plausible? Rather than fantasy where I'm just asked to suspend my disbelief.

In all this I failed to mention my actual favorite of hers, which I first read as an adult, which was Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. As a young evangelical who loved fantasy and SF and struggling to bring the faith I was raised in within miles of the genres I loved, that book meant a TON to me.
Jul. 13th, 2014 04:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, I've read that too! I think in terms of her nonfiction, though, I liked Madeleine L'Engle Herself: Reflections on a Writing Life better. It's sort of just a collection of quotes, though, I think it was compiled by someone else? But it has a lot of interesting thoughts.
Jul. 13th, 2014 07:21 pm (UTC)
Interesting! I might have to look it up.
Jul. 13th, 2014 05:33 pm (UTC)
That's a great meme! Although the only book on there I know is The Harper Hall Trilogy.
Jul. 13th, 2014 07:21 pm (UTC)
I definitely raided the library shelves for all the SFF I could find as a kid. :)
Jul. 14th, 2014 04:50 pm (UTC)
So did I. They just happened to be in French/French authors.
Jul. 14th, 2014 08:13 pm (UTC)
Aha, gotcha. :)
Jul. 17th, 2014 08:55 am (UTC)
This is so fun! I love knowing this! (And I now want to read #2.)
Jul. 17th, 2014 10:10 am (UTC)
I recommend it! It is a very weird book about two children getting kidnapped in a near-future African nation (I forget which one) and being pursued by a trio of detectives to whom a nuclear accident gave special powers. Which is to say, it's like nothing else I've ever read.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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