Ok so my response to Pasduil’s list. Like everyone it is going to be hard to restrict this to ten books and I know I am going to publish this and immediately think of another 10 that really *should* have been included… So in no particular order the ten books that I have found to be most personally influential and re-readable are:
- The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
No surprise here I’m sure.
- Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris
It includes the extraordinary and magical mixed in with normal mundane life. You’re never quite sure whether things happened as described or whether there was a more magical reason – I like the fact that it could be either.
- A History of the World in 10 1/2 chapters by Julian Barnes
A set of connected short stories. History is a perspective… Beautifully written.
- The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
This book always affects me powerfully at the end and I understand it perfectly at the time but I can never quite describe why afterwards.
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
It’s possibly an obvious choice but I always liked Elizabeth Bennett and how her independance and intelligence were integral to both her actions and the plot.
- His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
Who doesn’t want a dæmon?
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
My first lesson in futility I suppose. It kickstarted my cynicism.
- The Stand by Stephen King
This was a pretty epic read, again mixing the normal with the supernatural. Incredibly disappointing ending though.
- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick
Exploring what makes us human. I prefer the ending in the book but am also a huge fan of the film, particularly Rutger Hauer’s final speech.
- Ode to a Nightingale / Ode to Psyche by John Keats
John Keats was the perfect poet for my teenage years – melancholy and melodramatic. I still occasionally read and and get lost in his poems.
Other honourable mentions: Lord of the Flies (belongs in the Orwell category of humans are really horrible), The Book Thief & The Lovely Bones (was a sobbing mess at the end of those), Wheel of Time series (intricate and superbly detailed world, a rather worrying amount of spanking though), Tad Williams for the marvellous Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series and the Otherland series (exciting but scary vision of virtual reality) I would also love to include the Arthurian Romances, Welsh, Greek and Norse mythology and legends such as Beowulf and Robin Hood. I did manage to resist including The Art of Fly Fishing by JR Hartley 😛