There’s been a meme circulating on Facebook for the last couple of weeks with the following instructions:
In your status, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and do not think too hard. They don’t have to be the “right books” or great works of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way. Tag 10 friends including me so I can see your list.
I was tagged by an old uni friend to take part, and found it harder than I expected. The more I tried not to think too harder the more I found myself second guessing everything. I ended up stopping and starting the task a few times, as soon as I became aware of my brain getting too involved I closed the note file and came back later.
I thought it’d be nice to put the list up here and to add a thought or two about what each book means to me. Without further ado, here’s my list of ten.
1. The Outsiders – S. E. Hinton
Quite simply this book means everything to me. I don’t remember why I picked it up, but I remember clearly the impact reading it had upon me. This book made me think about books completely differently, and made me realise I was entirely serious about wanting to write books for teens of my own.
2. What Katy Did At School – Susan Coolidge
One of the many frequently re-read books of my childhood. This, along with its predecessor What Katy Did and the four books in the Little Women series, was what I turned to when I needed something familiar and comforting. This one in particular delighted me with its descriptions of a school experience so completely alien yet fascinating.
3. Matilda – Roald Dahl
I’m not sure this one actually needs any explanation does it? Like so many bookish children I loved the books of Roald Dahl, and this one in particular left a long lasting impression upon me.
4. The Cupid Effect – Dorothy Koomson
I have loved each and every book written by Dorothy Koomson, her characters leap off the page and have a way of worming their way into my heart. It is Ceri from this book who I have loved most dearly of all – reading the book by the side of a pool on holiday I had to keep stopping so I could tell my friend just how exactly like me Ceri was. I think this was the first time I read a grown up character who felt so entirely like me – a really special reading experience.
5. Banished – Liz de Jager
A list of books that have stayed with me wouldn’t be complete without Banished, first in my lovely friend Liz’s Blackhart Legacy trilogy. I’ve blogged before about my pride in watching Liz work towards getting this book published, being involved in that even just a little means this book (and its sequels) will always hold a special place in my heart.
6. The Call of the Wild – Jack London
I don’t actually remember too much about this book, it’s the reading experience itself that I remember. Starting middle school I was lucky to be put into a class with a teacher who spotted that I changed my library book on a daily basis and made it her mission to introduce me to different authors and books, hoping to find something that would take me longer than a couple of hours to devour. The memory of this teacher going above and beyond is the thing that stays with me most, and this book in particular reminds me of her.
7. Graffiti Moon – Cath Crowley
This book completely blew me away. Told in dual narrative, gritty and gripping – this was a book I both couldn’t read fast enough and never wanted to finish. This added a whole new layer to my desire to write, helping me realise what I wanted to write.
8. Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman
The phrase game changer is used far too often, but I think both this series and author deserve the title. Personally this book made me stop and re-evaluate so much of what I thought, knew and had experienced. I don’t believe anyone can read this series of books and not come out the other end changed in some way by the reading experience.
9. Northern Lights – Philip Pullman
On four separate occasions I picked this book up at the library and took it home to read. On the second and subsequent occasions I quickly realised I had read this book before and then became excited to read it again. I have no idea why the cover and title refused to stick in my brain, but getting to repeatedly revisit the start of this series was no bad thing. This series again allowed me to think again about what fiction for children could be.
10. Rule – Jay Crownover
The most recent book on my list, this again is a book that’s changed me as a person. As a series I’m more than a little obsessed, and it is the characters who drive my love for these books. Reading about them, about who they are and what they stand for has prompted me to look at myself and ask the same questions of myself.
Have you taken part in the meme? What books have stayed with or had an impact on you?