Tuesday, September 07, 2010

My Top Ten Books of Influence

This is going to be top ten week, and today's list is:

Top Ten Books that have Influenced Me
(in no particular order)

The Stand By Stephen King1. The Stand (by Stephen King) -  As a young reader, in middle school and into high school, I was drawn into the world and the characters that were in this story. It influenced my reading meter, gauging books by how they grab me and hold me  and also how long the story stays with me. This book is one that I often think about even today, some 25 or so years later.

A Thousand Splendid Suns2. A Thousand Splendid Suns (by Khaled Hosseini) - From the post I did about it in August, "The magic is in the words, in the author's ability to transport us to a world rife with struggle and survival. It's a combination of beautiful writing, an amazing story, no holds-barred storytelling, and history of a country torn apart by war - gripping, wrenching, and honest. This is the kind of book that can change people..." Here's a link to the post: My #1 Favorite Book - A Thousand Splendid Suns

Twilight (The Twilight Saga)3. Twilight (by Stephenie Myer) - This is the book that launched my interest in both young adult (YA) literature, and guided me to understand that my own writing was best suited for the young adult market. For this, I am eternally grateful to this book and the entire series. I also admit that reading these books was a great guilty pleasure!
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1) (Hardcover)
4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (by J.K. Rowling) - From this short, unassuming story sprang an amazing adventure that held readers (including me) through 7 books, movies, and even a theme park. And to hear J.K. Rowling's story adds an even larger element: the rags to riches story of the author. There's a great lesson in not just sustaining a story over such a length of time, but cultivating an adventure that got even better with each new book.

Jane Eyre (Classic Edition with Illustrations)5. Jane Eyre (by Charlotte Bronte) - The first book that truly made me cry. I cared so much about these characters that I felt like I lived their story while they endured through the pages. A true masterpiece in character development!

The Hunger Games6. The Hunger Games/Catching Fire (by Suzanne Collins) - There was a lot of talk about these books, and many times when things are hyped so big, there's room for a let down, but this series has proven that when something is good, it's just plain good. These books are filled with images of war, government oppression, loss, and the consequences of decisions. There's a great lesson there - write the best books possible, with the instensity needed to tell the story honestly, and readers will read it.

The Sword of Truth, Boxed Set I, Books 1-3: Wizard's First Rule, Blood of the Fold ,Stone of Tears7. The Sword of Truth Series (by Terry Goodkind) - I am most impressed with Terry Goodkind's ability to tie up every loose end in his stories, and even more impressed in that he does it sometimes in later books when lesser authors would have dismissed those details. He also writes from a place of honesty; he doesn't pull back on his writing - he's honest, and raw.

The Celestine Prophecy8. The Celestine Prophecy (by James Redfield) - I read this book every year. It's a story with a message, and it's done in such a clever way that every time I read the book, I get something new from it. It is not easy to intertwine a message into a story that doesn't make the reader feel like he/she is being preached to, but instead enlightenend.

The Lovely Bones9. The Lovely Bones (by Alice Sebold) - This book opened my eyes to writing voice & point of view more than any other - imagine, the book is written from the perspective of a murdered girl coming to terms with death and life as she views it from heaven. It's heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.

The Lord of the Rings10. The Lord of the Rings (by J.R.R. Tolkien) - The world that J.R.R. Tolkien built in this epic tale is so beyond anything I ever read before, and has become the basis for so many offshoots by other authors too innumerable to mention. And the mastering is in the details, those little nuggets that help a reader picture every part of the world inhabited by the characters.

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