There’s this thing going on over at Facebook, currently, where you have to list 10 books that have impacted you and stayed with you. You aren’t meant to take more than a few minutes or think too hard – they don’t have to be the “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you. This is what came to mind:
1/ The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. This, more than any other book, has stayed with me all of my reading life, which was 6 (by that I mean first library card, and first book orders made by me, for me ). It is actually a series of five books, but as it is an omnibus edition I feel safe in choosing all five. If not then it would be the second book, actually called The Dark is Rising, which I read every year around Christmas.
2/ The Stand by Stephen King. Part of me wants to say The Shining, because I think that it may be a better book, but it is The Shining that stays with me the most. A wonderful tale of people and characters first and foremost, apocalypse, and post apocalypse, events second. Probably this one that got me into that sort of thing
3/ The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, by Stephen Donaldson. I realise that I am cheating again as this is a ten-novel fantasy series so if I have to choose I will say the first one, Lord Foul’s Bane. This is portal fantasy at its finest, with a dis-likable character thrown from reality into a world of magic. I remember, while attending boarding school in Germany (as one does) running through the woods that surrounded the place shouting ‘Melenkurion abatha, duroc minas mill khabaal!’ the seven words of power as anyone who is anyone obviously knows.
4/ The Lord of the Rings by Tolkein. This is THE book that got me into fantasy and kept me there. I think that you have to be dead or in a vegetative state for all of time to not know what this book is
5/ To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Considering the so very dark tones of this book (rape, violence, racism, etc) it is also a warm and funny story too. Atticus Finch is a legend!
6/ Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard. I don’t care that this man’s fiction spawned a religion that seemingly doesn’t know that the creator was a sci-fi author as I love this book. I’ve read it often and as it spawns tribal humanity right through to star spawning humanity it never gets old (the film though is dire!)
8/ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis. This was one of my earliest books and it spawned a love of reading and a love of fiction, fantasy in particular. I bought a boxset of these books even before my first child was born, simply so that I could pass on my love of it to them. I did so, recently, to Mackenzie (who is 6) and he loves them too …he even reads bits to his 4 year old brother
9/ The Dark Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum and John Byrne. If anyone wants to dare tell me that a graphic novel – especially one as brilliant and seminal as this one – doesn’t deserve to be called a book then they can go and delete themselves from my friends list. OK, so, that got rid of them then, moving on! This is a Greek tragedy and comedy in four colours (as it was back in the 80s ). It has an amazing narrative, awesome characters, and doesn’t dumb anything down for the audience (kids, mostly, at the time …though I don’t think that is all that read it). The fact that, even know, it is referenced in modern comics tells you a little about its impact and legacy. …also inspired my first tattoo
10/ Magician by Raymond E. Feist. I think that I read this back in 82 or 83, again while I was at boarding school. More so than any other book, or series, it has stayed with me because of the sheer amount of sequels that it spawned …I think it would be about 28 or so books. I’ve read them all and, next year, when the last book in the series comes out I will be a little sad.
…so many, many, many other books I could’ve listed!!!