In roughly the order I read them, & why they've stuck with me:
1. Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson
The first strong female character I ever read about; also, she reminded me very strongly of my new best friend at the time. I was strongly pulled in by the vivid imagination, and the 'create your own adventures' ideology. It was the first time I experienced mourning for a fictional character's death.
2. Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster
I read this pretty early on, and it has vaguely shaped my few of the world (in a comical way). By that I mean, due to the artist's depictions within the book, I have images to go with common sayings like "in the doldrums" and "jump to conclusions", and they always always pop up in my head. Also, the idea of the towns of Illusions and Reality, introduced the idea early of appreciating my surroundings.
3. The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien/Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
Two of the earliest epic novels I ever read and both had me in tears at the last page, simply because it was over and I had to leave the worlds that I had become so enthralled with. Mists of Avalon specifically sparked the thought "hey, maybe I could create a world like this someday..."
4. In the Hand of the Goddess, Tamora Pierce
Read for the first time in late middle school, the spine of my copy is almost broken from how many times I've read it. For a girl just entering into maturity, it was a nice introduction to strong female characters and also budding romance.
5. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
Simply for the line: "Isn't it pretty to think so?" I say it to myself often, when I catch myself rationalizing or lying to myself.
6. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
I don't think it's literary genius, and I don't really think I absorbed the book all that much when I read it. The reason it will, however, always stick with me is because of a sermon I heard delivered in response to it. It opened up my eyes about the possibilities of religion, or rather (more importantly) it started my journey of discovering my own faith.
7. Franny & Zooey, J. D. Salinger
Simply for the dialogue, in the face of an epic meltdown: "There isn't anyone anywhere that isn't Seymour's Fat Lady. Don't you know that? Don't you know that goddam secret yet? And don't you know — listen to me, now — don't you know who that Fat Lady really is? . . . Ah, buddy. Ah, buddy. It's Christ Himself. Christ Himself, buddy." Even now, it gives me goosebumps. The build that Salinger creates is truly epic, so intense, genuine. I read it on the plane ride out to my internship, when I didn't know where I was headed or what I had gotten myself into, and it turned out to be the first stepping stone of turning my head upside-down -- about God, life, myself, everything.
8. Reading Lolita in Tehran, Nazar Afisi
Afisi's intertwining of her life with the novels she was reading/teaching at the time was one of the most powerful memoirs I've ever read. I think it was because it allowed me to connect to something I couldn't fully understand or empathize with (living as a woman, a teacher, in Iran during the country's upheaval,) with something that I did (classic novels read in many an English course).
9. Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel García Márquez
This was my re-introduction to the concept of love, after so long a period of only feeling bitterness toward it. I only realized it in retrospect, but I think I needed it. Fabulously humorous, self-reflective, honest and introspective novel.
10. Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer
I don't know if this one counts, because if I'm being honest, I think it is the movie that hit me in the gut more than the novel did. However, Krakauer's ability/willingness/need to track down Chris McCandless' journey throughout the U.S., when he was mostly off the grid, will always always astound me. It is an amazingly powerful story.
Tags: quiz me!
I Feel:: awake