It started off as a simple idea. Add a list of my favorite books to my blog. A lot of the author/agent/editor blogs I read do the same thing, so why not me?
So I go check out my 3 floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.
How to pick? I limited myself to ten...but which ten?! Should I only have YA? Just fantasy? What about other books that influenced me?! There were too many to count...so I went to the old stand-by. If I could only have ten (or, er, eleven) books for the rest of my life, which would they be (and I cheated, haha, and chose several book series)?
1. Chronicles of Narnia, by CS Lewis. As I said yesterday, this is the most influential set of books I've ever read. They changed me--they made me want to create similar books as a writer, want to explore literature professionally as an English student, want to show others the power of literature as a teacher, and want to make myself a better person as a Christian.
2. The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley. I saw the move Becoming Jane when it came out. In it, James McAvoy tries to explain to Jane why he did what he did, and his blue eyes shone while his lips quivered an inaudible "please." I wept. That was a moving scene, and image I cannot forget....but still, not as powerful as when Aerin meets her father after fighting the dragon and her father sees just how damaged she is after saving the kingdom.
3. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, by Patricia Wrede. They're hilarious. They challenge the norm. They're just pure entertainment, brilliantly done.
4. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L'Engle. Another influential book, found shortly after reading Narnia as a child. I don't like them for the same reason why everyone else does--I like the possibilities that L'Engle doesn't write about. The subtle hint of growing love between Meg and Calvin. The power in Charles Wallace. The possibilities presented by a world where tesseracts are real. This book was one of the first that made me wonder about what wasn't written...and inspired me to start writing my own.
5. King Lear, Shakespeare. I wouldn't be a nerd without love of Shakespeare. But Lear's the best. I read it in college, and immediately thought of the old Appalachian tale "Like Meat Loves Salt," a Grandfather tale I'd loved as a girl and how I always interpreted real love to be. Love is more than just male and female, and Lear and Cornelia (even her sisters) show many different aspects of the power of love. That, and the crazy-guy scene is just great!
...read on tomorrow for the rest of the list!