Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ten Books

I was challenged via Facebook post to name ten books that influenced me in some way. Now, there are hundreds of books that have influenced me in some way, but this is the list I came up with off the top of my head. I still own eight of the ten hence the photo of only eight books.

I think I might have a different list if you ask me next week and still another list in a month.  But here it is, ten awesome books. 

1)   The Scarlett Slipper Mystery, Carolyn Keene – A friend asked me why I named this Nancy Drew out of all of them. The answer is simple. It was my first Nancy Drew and after I finished this book, I didn’t stop until I read them all. Reading Nancy Drew was my mom's idea. She let me pick between the Scarlett Slipper Mystery and the Secret of the Old Clock. Even though the series started with the clock, I’d pick red shoes over a clock any day. That's still true today. 

2)   Katherine, Anya Seton – My seventh grade English teacher, Mrs. Phillips, recommended this book to me because I liked English history and novels. She said I would love it, and she was right. I’ve handed copies of this book to several friends over the years, and it has won many new fans.

3)   Alexander’s Path, Freya Stark – I could have picked any of Freya Stark’s books. These non-fiction works chronicle her trips to the middle east, as a British woman traveling in areas where British women didn’t usually travel circa 1920-50. Her observations are enlightening, and her example as an adventurer is to be admired.

   Frankenstein, Mary Shelley – She came up with this book on a dare as she hung out with her husband, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron and Claire Claremont. It was raining, and they were bored, so the story goes, so Lord Byron dared them all to come up with a ghost story. Mary’s was nicely done, even though it has little relation to most of the Frankenstein movies out there.

5)   Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke – This work of science fiction is mind boggling even today. Alien’s become the overlords of humanity and while it’s cool for awhile, it eventually winds up being very uncool. I don’t want to give away too much in case you pick up the book itself, but I can tell you I first read this in high school and sometimes I still think about it.

6)   Do Android’s Dream of Electric Sheep, Phillip K. Dick – This book served as the model for the movie Blade Runner. It’s a precursor to Battlestar Gallactica and examines the differences between Androids and Humans.

7)   Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll –Many people are familiar with Alice’s adventures in Wonderland – her run-ins with the Queen of Hearts, her quasi friendships with the Mad Hatter, The White Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat. My favorite quote from this book is,  “I once believed six impossible things before breakfast.” It’s a wonderful, wonderful book.

8)   The Aeneid, Virgil – One of the first hero quests every written, it’s really a really, really long poem. Our hero Aeneas is from Troy. He goes to Rome, fights a war, and spawns a civilization. Along the way, he tells a lot of stories including the ones about the Trojan Horse and the Judgment of Paris.

9)   How to Write A Damn Good Novel, James Frey – this just lays out what you need to write a good novel. If only it were this easy, everyone would do it.

10) Rebecca, Daphne DuMaurier – This is the suspenseful tale of an insecure second wife and the craziness that surrounded the first one. You’ve got everything you need for a gothic tale – the crazy mother-in-law, dramatic house to live in, secrets, secrets everywhere. You don’t ever know the protagonist's first name in this book because it doesn’t matter.

So there you have it - ten books that influenced me. What are some books that influenced you?


  1. I would have to add Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.