This weeks Top Ten Tuesday is asking me to list the “Top Ten Favorite Books I Read Before I Was A Blogger“.
As I worked on the list, I was surprised by the the fact that all of them are ones I read when I was younger. In fact, I think the most “modern” book on the list was originally published in the 1970’s. Oh my. That was, like (counts on fingers then grabs the calculator…) – I digress. Let’s get back to the list.
In trying to narrow it down to ten, I’ve decided to list the ones that I’ve read more than once and plan to re-read again. They are books that introduced me to the genres that fill the majority of my shelves today; books that make me laugh and cry, and every time I read them I am affected in a different way than I was the last time I read it. These are truly timeless classics – at least in my library.
- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Published in 1960, this Pulitzer winning novel became one of the best movie adaptations ever and a well-deserved Oscar winner. It’s a modern American classic as well as one of the most challenged books due to its language and sexual content. The opening paragraphs of the book are some of the most powerful I’ve ever read.
- Island Of The Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
Based on a true story, this Newbery Award winner made a huge impact on my reading as it was the first time I remember connecting so quickly, and deeply, with a character.
- Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Although published in 1938, Rebecca is a classic mystery that any reader will love and an opening line that has become one of the most famous in literature.
- The Merlin Trilogy by Mary Stewart
Up until reading Stewart’s novels, I was primarily a science fiction fan and read very little fantasy. But reading these stories of Merlin and the Arthurian legend introduced me to a genre that has turned out to be one of my favorites behind historical fiction and steampunk.
- Agatha Christie books
From time to time I love reading a good mystery or detective fiction. And if I want a guaranteed excellent read, I trust the writer who created Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. My favorites are And Then There Were None, Murder At The Vicarage, and Murder On The Orient Express.
- The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
The Martian Chronicles, as the title implies, is not a novel but a collection of short stories. It’s because of writers like Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, and Stephen King that I learned to appreciate short fiction.
- Dune by Frank Herbert
Dune is the first book in a series that has become one of the most adapted in history. It is a Hugo Award winner and was the inaugural winner of the Nebula Award. It is one of those books that seems to be different every time I read it. I’m sure this is due to some elements of the book speaking louder than others because of where I am in my life and what is going on in our society.
- Shogun by James Clavell
This was the first book I read that was over 1,000 pages. It also introduced me (as well as millions of others) to Japanese culture. It was because of Clavell and John Jakes that I became a fan of historical fiction, which continues to be the genre I read the most.
- Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
One of the first books to make me bawl my eyes out. (The other was Old Yeller, another excellent book I like a lot). This is a coming-of-age novel that will touch the heart of anyone who reads it. It’s right up there with Tuck Everlasting, Bridge to Terabithia, and To Kill A Mockingbird. These are all books for all time and for all ages.
- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Little Prince is one of the few books I’ve read in English and its original language (French). One of the most famous lines from the book is a quote I have written down and posted on my bulletin board: On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. (One sees clearly with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eye.) Reading this book helps me in not allowing my “adultness” to stifle my creativity and the “childness” that is necessary to remain fearless in the face of a society that continually demands conformity.
Well, there it is. A bit more wordy than my usual lists, but these books mean more to me than simply being a “favorite”. They’ve taught me about reading and about life.