Monday, September 8, 2014

10 Books That Impacted Me

I love that this meme is circulating on facebook. While I shared my list there, here's a bit of the reasoning behind each.

1. "The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster - My first favorite book, and one I make time to re-read at least annually.
2. "Stargirl" by Jerry Spinelli - My favorite book from middle school, a testament to standing out and staying true to yourself.
3. "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho - My favorite book from high school, and a constant reminder to keep your goals in mind, no matter what you pursue.
4. "The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Diaz - My favorite book from college, fascinating from both a plot/story perspective and a technical perspective (the use of Spanglish is amazing).
5. "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern, narrated by Jim Dale - The book that introduced me to audiobooks, and I continue to recommend the audio over the print for this book. Dale's narration is masterful.
6. "Tenth of December" by George Saunders - Similar to #5, the book that re-introduced me to short stories as a literary art form well worth my time.
7. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling - I've read these books too many times to count, so they couldn't NOT make the list.
8. "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood - The first book about which I wrote a serious research paper, and the book that formally introduced me to Atwood and dystopian fiction generally.
9. "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison - The first novel that made be think critically about race.
10. "The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry" by Gabrielle Zevin - The book that reminded me reading is an important part of our lives because of how it shapes our relationships, not just because of its impact on us as individually. Plus, it made me happy during law school finals, which isn't easy to do!

Speaking of Gabrielle Zevin and our favorite books, earlier this year she wrote a piece at The Huffington Post on "Why We Lie About Our Favorite Books." It's a great exploration of what our favorites say about us, and the potential of aspirational reading. It's also an excellent counter to this hater's take, "Stop Lying About Your Favorite Books on Facebook." For the record, I think there's a big difference between books that have impacted you, and your favorite books, even if there is some overlap between the two.

So what are some of your favorites & what books have impacted you? Do any of my picks make your list?

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