Influential Book Challenge

I was challenged by my sister-in-law to do a list of 10 books that have impacted my life in some way. I went with nine fiction books that I’ve spent tremendous time thinking about after I read them and one poetry book which helped shape my love of poetry and here they are:

1. Wren to the Rescue (Really all three books from Wren’s War series) – Sherwood Smith – One of the books from my early life that taught me that girls can be powerful, save themselves, and don’t always need a prince or someone else to rescue them. I still find myself thinking about the characters from this series and wondering what happened to them after the series ended…

  1. The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern – Captivating story and first book I read both before and after writing my first novel. I’d been worried about how the process of novel writing from an author’s perspective would change my perspective while reading, but it has enhanced my reading experiences. I notice things like point of view, where chapter breaks happen, etc. and how they affect the story and appreciate them even more than I did if/when I noticed them before.
  2. Arrows of the Queen (Really all three books of the Queens Own series) – Mercedes Lackey – I reread this book (and sometimes the other two as well) at least once every year (sometimes more often), especially if I want inspiration to keep moving forward through tough times.
  3. Lirael (Really all three books of the Abhorsen series) – Garth Nix – One of the first books that showed libraries the way I always imagined they could be- fierce, powerful, and full of magic! I adore this series!
  4. Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame – Charles Bukowski – First and favorite book I’ve read by Bukowski. He helped me find my poetic voice and hammered home numerous important and influential qualities such as: a) Great poetry can come from modern times b) Poetry doesn’t have to rhyme c) Poetry can be about everyday subjects d) It’s all about the endings
  5. Dragons of Autumn Twilight (Really all three of the Dragonlance Chronicles series) – Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman – Longtime favorite series of mine… They were a gateway into the huge collection of Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms novels which I devoured and reread throughout my formative teen and early twenties years.
  6. The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien – This is my favorite Tolkein story and was my introduction to Middle Earth, where I have often dwelled and left the cares of this world behind. (For the record: the new Hobbit films are Peter Jackson Fanfiction about the Hobbit, not a cinematic version of the Hobbit story.)
  7. Night Watch – Sir Terry Pratchett – First book I ready by Sir Terry Pratchett and was a wonderful introduction to Discworld. Discworld is full of humor and intelligence and has helped me through some of the toughest times in my life and kept me laughing during some of the best times in my life.
  8. The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch – One of the most interesting books I’ve read with one of the trickiest main characters… I can’t wait to see where this story goes…
  9. A Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss – Complex characters, massively detailed world, and a storyline that sucks you in and keeps you hungering for more… I loved Name of the Wind and it was one of the most original books I’d read in a while at the time when I found it… but then I read A Wise Man’s Fear and it blew my mind because I loved it even more than the Name of the Wind and I hadn’t thought that would be possible… I NEED to know what happens with these characters…

(I was going to put the Harry Potter series (because I have loved this series as a dear part of my childhood and adulthood and I’ve been to every midnight release for all the books that had one and all the movies) and A Song of Ice and Fire series (because my husband introduced me to this series before we even started dating and most of our road trips turn into discussions about who will win the game of thrones and why and how) but although these series deserve shout outs I decided against including them because to me they’re a series and you can’t really separate one book from the others.)

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2 thoughts on “Influential Book Challenge

  1. I think the ademic language in A Wise Man Fears is one of the most brilliant bit of world building I’ve ever come across. Love Rothfuss. Loved The Night Circus too. You have good taste :). I’ll have to check out the rest of your list.

  2. Great list! Wow, now you’ve got me thinking…My list is not nearly as impressive as yours, but these would probably be my top 10 earliest influences, the ones that helped form the what direction my own writing would take.
    1. Fairytales from Around the World series. No idea who the publisher was, but I read every volume in my elementary school library.
    2. The Hobbit (Tolkein) – of course
    3. Martian Chronicles (Bradbury)
    4. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
    5. The Mote in God’s Eye (Pournelle & Niven)
    6. The Witching Hour! (DC Comics)
    7. The Scarlett Letter (Hawthorne)
    8. Stranger in a Strange Land (Heinlein)
    9. Mrs. Coverlet’s Magicians (Mary Nash)
    10. Lightning (Dean Koontz)

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