It's time for another blog chain, and for this round it is my turn to choose the topic.
Now in our many months on the chain we have discussed many writing related topics from characters, to angst, to even two chains back showing off a bit of our mad short story writing skillz.
This time though, I'd like to focus on the flip side of the writing coin - reading.
Specifically, what books have influenced you? This can be books that influenced you as a writer, or simply books that touched you as a human being. If you want to talk about one book, a top three, ten, or even twenty go right ahead.
For me though, there is no way I can pick and choose, or try to limit my picks in anyway. Rather I'd like to acknowledge the various books in my life the same way that the stars receiving an Oscar at the Academy Awards do - with a long-winded seemingly endless list read loud while the Orchestra (you'll just have to go ahead and imagine this part) plays the "get off the damn stage already" music in the background.
So, thank you to all the books I've read in my life. You've been there for the sitting by the pool times and huddled beneath the blankets with the itty-bitty book light times. You were there when I needed pick-me-ups or distractions. You were good for escape and also inspiration. From library books and ones I've purchased, to the ones well-meaningly lent to me by friends that I conveniently forgot to give back - thank you all.
There are too many of you to list, and I know that I'll forgot ones that meant more to me than I can say, but I'm going to try and give props to the ones that I can.
Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein were some of my earliest books from the library.
Next came Beverly Cleary's Ramona series and then everything ever written by Judy Blume.
I discovered the joy of science fiction from Anne McCaffrey and her various series of Pern, Krystal singers, and telepaths.
I fell in love with classics like To Kill A Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye, Anne of Green Gables (and everything else written by LM Montgomery), Little Women (and Little Men), A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, Where the Red Fern Grows, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Joy in the Morning, The Scarlet Letter, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and so many more that I am no doubt forgetting to list.
There was Christopher Pike's Remember Me that I had to sneak out of my older sister's underwear drawer because she didn't like me reading the same books as her.
Then came the time when I was old enough for "adult" books and began to borrow from my grandmother's selection. The first I remember was Beaches. Yep, the same as the movie. I felt so proud reaching such a grown-up book.
When I finished that one I started digging into my grandmother's stacks of Mary Higgins Clark, Sidney Sheldon, Lavyrle Spencer, Julie Garwood, Jude Deveraux, Judith Krantz, Judith McNaught, and again many more than I can remember.
By this time I had fallen fully in love with the romance genre and was trying to get my hands on everything I could. It was around this time that I discovered Susan Elizabeth Phillips' Fancy Pants and I was in love. I read everything of hers that I could get my hands on.
A few years later when I found Jennifer Crusie and Janet Evanovich, I felt much the same way.
More recently I've come to love memoirs, a genre that I never would have thought I'd find interesting. A few times already on this blog I've mentioned Angela's Ashes and it's effect on me. Other memoirs I've read and loved are: everything by David Sedaris (although technically not quite memoir, honestly these brilliant little essays defy categorization), Running With Scissors (the two sequels aren't bad either), The Liars' Club, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (difficult to get through, but worth it), and A Girl Named Zippy ( the sequel to this, as well as her fiction works are pretty amazing as well.)
In other non-fiction that I have known and loved. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto (again his other books were great as well), The Omnivore's Dilemma, and Into Thin Air (and then this book so fascinated me with the story of Everest I also read High Crimes, another book by a different author about the same topic).
Is the Orchestra getting louder? Okay, okay, I'm getting close to the end.
Other books in no particular order.
The Book Thief (just read this one last month).
A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews. OMG this book was gorgeous. Read this a little over two years ago and it just sticks with me.
Books by Melissa Banks.
The Tomorrow When The War Began series. This is another one I just love too too much.
And finally two books that gave me sanity and order after I had my son Jamie. The Happiest Baby on the Block and Secrets of the Baby Whisperer. See? Books really do influence each and every part of my life.
Ooooh, I know I am forgetting so many books. In fact there are books out there in the universe that I forgot the title and as much as I would love to read them again, I cannot (mostly ones that I got from the library, but one was a book my older sister owned and knowing I LOVED it, she sold it at a garage sale. She really did not like me reading her books.).
Anyway, that's it for me. To find out what books the rest of the blog chainers have loved (and perhaps, like me, even lost) head on over to Michelle McLean's Writer Ramblings next.
PS. All the pics are from an artist called Quint Buchholz.