The Influential Books… as of Now

Apologies for a bit of a lull in posts! We had a very busy weekend over here, as both my mom and my mother-in-law had birthdays. We had some great fun exploring some Kansas nature to the west of us and heading out to the Renaissance Festival with our little dog, Tater.

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Aforementioned nature and my lovely mother on her birthday. She was picking flowers and missed the photo op.

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Our pug, Tater, at the Renaissance Festival. Yes, that is a jousting knight on his back. Yes, we did buy it specifically for our RenFest outing. Yes, we are awesome.

Definitely a busy and tiring weekend, but now it’s Monday and we’re getting back into the swing of things. I wanted to launch off this week by discussing reading and books. I’m stuck in that just-finished-a-book-what-do-I-read-next phase, with a dose of do-I-read-something-new-or-read-an-old-favorite limbo. So, instead of picking a book to read (new or old), I decided to address what I’ve seen going around on Facebook: post a status listing the 10 books that have influenced you the most.

I was beyond relieved that no one tagged me to do it, because my immediate response was that I would never be able to choose 10. I’m still not, at this point in my life, able to name my favorite book. That’s too much pressure. I feel that I’m abandoning or disrespecting other books that I love by naming one The Favorite. For all I know, I haven’t even read my favorite book yet. But books that have influenced me? Sheesh. That might be even harder to determine than the ones that are my favorites. Besides, it’s not as though I have only a few to pick from…

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Here’s a terrible cell phone picture of two of my bookshelves.

So here are my self-imposed rules for this list…

1) If it didn’t pop into my head without looking at my bookshelves, it’s not on here. There are books I’ve truly loved that aren’t on this list. But the ones that have truly influenced me always seem to be lurking, ready to pounce into conscious thought. And those ones ended up on this list.

2) No editing, period. I did not add or subtract a single entry from my original musing.

3) No limit on how many books make the list.

And without further ado, here is…

Teresa’s List of Influential Books (So Far and in No Particular Order)

1. Redwall / Redwall series, Brian Jacques.

2. Jazz, Toni Morrison

3. We the Living, Ayn Rand

4. Franny and Zooey, J. D. Salinger

5. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

6. The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner

7. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

8. A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

9. The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides

10. The Awakening, Kate Chopin

11. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

12. The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien

13. & 14. Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Jane Austen

15. The Edge on the Sword, Rebecca Tingle

Each of these books/series has influenced me in an entirely different way. These books have stuck with me ever since I read them, and for some of them (like Redwall, The Lord of the Rings, To Kill a Mockingbird), that has been since a very young age. Some of them started me writing and some of them kept me writing. Some of them didn’t affect me as a writer, but rather deeply impacted and changed who I am as a person. But all of these matter to me on a deep, personal level.

What are your influential books? The ones that are the first to pop in your head in answer to the question? Leave me a comment and let me know! I’d love to hear what inspires and influences all of you!

~Teresa

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