Ten Books That Made an Impact

Facebook has all sorts of challenges going on. This one I accepted from my cousin, Melissa, who challenged me to list ten books that made an impact on me. Though they are not necessarily my favorites, somehow they have all stayed with me – in humor or horror or just pure emotion. Here they are, in no particular order:

Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore

I know it’s a poem, but I’m talking about my book, the one that has materialized every year at Christmastime since I was a kid (actually it’s probably more than fifty years old). It has a shiny red surface, gently worn, and all those familiar verses and old-time swirly pictures that look like they were painted on. That book exudes warmth and anticipation.

Harry Potter  and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

What I remember the most is sitting on the couch with my two children, reading them the entire series out loud, with a British accent. We loved all seven of the books, but this is the one that started them all. J.K. Rowling made up a whole new world for us, with magic and muggles and qudditch. There was Diagon Alley and Hogwart’s, platform 9 1/2 and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans (including dirt, grass, vomit and earwax). It was a magical time.

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

A masterpiece, really. A rare book, so descriptive and so beautifully written about a way of life – India in all its turmoil – that at the time was so foreign to me. Both haunting and touching, some of the scenes are still so vivid to me.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The writing just blew me away.

City of Joy by Dominique Lapierre

I read this book the first time I went to India. I remember the author describing the smells, the street scenes, and the noises, and I didn’t have to imagine it – I was living it.

Bridget Jone’s Diary by Helen Fielding

This book made me laugh. It’s funny, it’s quirky, it’s loveable. I think I identify with Bridget, as well Fielding’s writing style.

Pet Sematary by Stephen King

This was the first of many Stephen King books that I read as a teenager. So creepy…so real. Maybe too real, cause after reading a slew of his books I had to stop. I couldn’t be alone in the house or look down the drain in the bathroom without my imagination getting the better of me! And don’t even get me started about topiaries – I just want to cut them all down.

The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo by Stieg Larsson

Love this character, Lisbeth Salander. She’s vulnerable, she’s strong, she’s a little crazy. But who wouldn’t be after all she’s gone through? Couldn’t put this series down – loved it.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irvine

Another quirky character and some laugh out loud moments. Let’s just say the nativity scene at Christmas has never been the same for me.

Sunshine by Norma Klein

Before Terms of Endearment and The Fault in Our Stars there was this book. A very touching story about a young Mom dying of cancer.

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6 thoughts on “Ten Books That Made an Impact

  1. Lovely post. I enjoyed reading your reasons and you provided some fodder for adding to my “reading list”. I really enjoyed seeing your first one because I too have a “ancient” copy and bring it out each year.

  2. Great list of books and the reasoning behind your choices. Ahh, Twas the Night Before Christmas that conjures up all sort of happy memories. The power of a good book (or poem)

    • Well, it’s a bit of an eclectic mix. I guess that’s why many of them had an impact – they were “firsts” to me. And several of them I read decades ago. Should probably reread them again and see what I think of them now! Thanks for the challenge by the way!

  3. Great list. I loved The City of Joy. This made me think of some books I absolutely love and would recommend.
    The Old Capital by Yasunari Kawabata
    The Razor Edge by Somerset Maugham
    Selected Stories by Alice Munro
    After Rain by William Trevor
    The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
    The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene
    Each of these have so influenced my writing and made me want to be a better writer. Most of all they had made me proud to be considered a part of their company. If I could only be as good.

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