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.