Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ten (Or Eleven) Books While I Wait

In exactly two hours I am going to the home of my one of my dearest friends, perhaps the only dear friend I have who pulls absolutely no punches. She is going to tell me if my glasses look terrible or if I'm overreacting and am actually the hipster I thought I was when I ordered them. This is a terrible thing, to have to wait for news, so I'm distracting myself with a challenge that came on Facebook from another dear friend.

"In your status, post 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don't take more than a few minutes and don't think too hard. They don't have to be 'right' or 'great' works; just the ones that have touched/impacted you. Tag 10 friends, including me, so I'll see your post."

Oh, dang. Even laying aside the detail that "impacted" is my least favorite of all verbs, seeing as how "impact" is NOT A VERB BUT A NOUN AND I HATE THE VERBING OF NOUNS, this seems like a daunting task.

I am a reader. I have read insatiably since I was old enough to hold a book by myself, and picking 10 books out of the thousands I have read will be tough. Fortunately, I am an OLD reader, and not only can I not remember punchlines to jokes, I can't remember what book I was reading yesterday much less which one I read a decade ago. So I will be following the prompt to the letter and not thinking too hard about it. 

Before that, though, a disclaimer: Quite obviously, the book that has touched/impacted me the most has been the Bible. But I don't consider the Bible a book. (I would be glad to go into this in more detail, but this is not the right post to do that.) 

So here's my list of 10 books that have stayed with me:

1. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I read this while I was a Peace Corps volunteer, when books in English were few and far between, and it blew. my. mind. What is quality? 

2. To Kill a Mockingbird. If I could have written one book, this would have been it. So simple, so complex.

3. Babies and Other Hazards of Sex. Dave Barry. The Elvis of funny writing.

4. Tom Sawyer. I put this one in because it's the earliest book I remember reading. I told my mother she had the wrong version of Tom Sawyer; she had the one written by Samuel Clemens instead of the one written by Mark Twain.

5. Harry Potter. I loved the books in this series for themselves (such wonderful use of the language) but they will have a spot in my heart forever for the hours I spent reading them to the Boys. Hours and hours and hours.

6. The Five Little Peppers. Our next-farm-over neighbor, a spinster who lived by herself in a house with no electricity or running water, gave this series to my sisters and me when we were children. The books were under her candlelit tree when we opened the gifts on Epiphany and I can still conjure up the smell of the kerosene heater by thinking of the Peppers and how they grew.

7. A Wrinkle in Time. Oh, how I loved this, and love it still. Meg, with all of her self-perceived flaws, was my hero and tedious car trips still make me long to tesser.

8. I'll Love You Forever. This children's book was given to me after the birth of one of the Boys (either #3 or #4, I don't remember) and I SOBBED as I read it to the older ones. Then Much Younger Sister pointed out how badly the family dynamics in that family are out of whack, and now I roll my eyes at the sight of the cover. 

9. Tess of the D'Urbervilles. This book is on here because it made me realize that I have terrible taste in literature. My high school English teacher told me I would LOOOOOOVE this book, that it was WOOOOONDERFUL, and would make me CRYYYYYYY. Instead I found it BOOOOORING and wanted to shoot Tess for her inability to wake up and smell the coffee. Boooo, Tess.

10. Becoming a Woman of Excellence. This Cynthia Heald book/study was the gateway drug to small group Bible study, and changed my life. I'm going to cheat and piggyback Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby on this entry, because it was the study that had the most influence on the way I, well, experience God. 

And there you have it. I have now free-associated 10 (11) books that have stayed with me, and since I can't tag everyone on Facebook (not knowing your names, as I do not), go ahead and leave a comment: 

What 10 books (or 5, or 1) books have stayed with you?

1 comment:

  1. Here's my list, without the commentary. This meme made me obnoxious to my family and friends and I had to quit.

    1. Lord of the Rings trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkein
    2. Maddaddam trilogy, Margaret Atwood
    3. A Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
    4. Gate to Women's Country, Sherri Tepper
    5. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
    6. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein
    7. Dune trilogy, Frank Herbert
    8. Prodigal Summer, Barbara Kingsolver
    9. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
    10. House of Mirth, Edith Wharton
    11. French Lieutenant's Woman, John Fowles
    12. Girl, 20, Kingsley Amis
    13. Tarzan, Edgar Rice Burroughs
    14. The Arthurian Saga, Mary Stewart
    15. The Day No Pigs Would Die, Robert Newton Peck
    16. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'engle
    17. The Wheel on the School, Meindert DeJong
    18. She, H. Rider Haggard
    19. The Razor's Edge, Somerset Maugham
    20. The Heart of the Matter, Graham Greene
    21. Sophie's Choice, William Styron