Books that have stayed with me

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:


  1. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
    No surprise here I’m sure.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
    Who doesn’t want a dæmon?
  7. Animal Farm by George Orwell
    My first lesson in futility I suppose.  It kickstarted my cynicism.
  8. The Stand by Stephen King
    This was a pretty epic read, again mixing the normal with the supernatural.  Incredibly disappointing ending though.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 😛

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Pasduil says:

    Good to see some poetry on a list!

    I’m not a big reader of poetry these days, but I did like Keats back in the day. (I studied Ode to a Nightingale and a bunch of other Keats for an English Lit course )

    1. eldaeriel says:

      I have to admit I’m not usually a poetry reader – but keats… *sigh* 🙂 I was also introduced to his work at school, I guess teachers will be pleased 🙂

      However, I guess Keats does fit in nicely with my general trend of liking mythology and romanticism (and derivatives of) so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.

      thanks for starting this as a blogging meme 🙂

      1. Pasduil says:

        Glad to see the meme is finally taking off! For a couple of days I thought no-one was interested. But it turns out they were just struggling to choose!

        Did you check out that Coursera MOOC about online games? They covered La Belle Dame Sans Merci as part of the romance tradition that fed into LOTR & the fantasy genre. Pretty interesting.

      2. eldaeriel says:

        ah I did the coursera course directly on Lotro – think was one before that, might be same one? Looked broadly similar – there was a pretty intense poem included in that – erm childe rolande or something. Would love to do a course on the literature that inspired Tolkien 🙂

        and yes, I needed some time to think too!

  2. bhagpuss says:

    You have two of my own all-time top ten on there – Catcher In The Rye and Do Androids Dream OF Electric Sheep. The idea of a list of books that have “stayed with me” is intriguing. Would that be different from a list of books I like to read repeatedly? I’d have to think about that.

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