This morning, Sennydreadful (author of THE COPPER PROMISE, out February 13, 2014) set out a fun challenge on Twitter.
Inspired by Facebook meme: give me the top 5 books that are most important to you personally #meaningful5
— Jen Williams (@sennydreadful) December 9, 2013
#Meaningful5 exploded across Twitter, and I joined in with mine, but I wanted to go into them in more detail here on the blog. So here are 5 Books that Mean A Lot to Me.
Chronicles of Narnia (cheat!) by C.S. Lewis
Read these growing up, and loved them. Didn’t pick up on the biblical allegory until years afterwards, at the time I just loved the fantasy story.
This is a cheat entry because I loved all the novels, but if I had to pick one favorite it would be The Last Battle. The train accident caught me completely off-guard and I still get chills thinking about it.
(These books were also my first box set, and I spent a lot of time staring at the beautifully painted, matching covers. A cover snob was born that day, who still flinches when book series change their cover half-way through.)
[From what I can find online, the hardback set was release either in 2002 or 2003.]
The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman
Growing up, I didn’t exactly read novels in order. So I started The Dark Materials series by reading the newly-released third book, The Amber Spyglass, and being thrown into epic battles, a massive word, and a tragic ending. I immediately set out to find the other books and understand the true depths of that heart-breaking ending.
[I read the 2001 paperback edition.]
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Remember how I don’t read in order? After attending a Girls Brigade parade event of some sort, my parents let me pick one book from the supermarket as a present. I’d been eyeing up Harry Potter’s beautiful, fantastical cover before, but the blurb gave me pause. Not only was there a massive, creepy-looking, drooling dog but it talked about an “escaped mass murderer on the loose”. That sounded very grown-up. Very dark. Very violent.
I was quite convinced that this book was too grown up for me, and the adults would not allow me to buy it. So I nervously asked my parents if it was okay to buy that book. And they said it was okay.
That’s how I fell in love with the Harry Potter books.
[I read the UK first edition, released in 1999.]
The Truth (A Discworld Novel) by Terry Pratchett
Fast forward a bit to a lower-level of a tiny, cramped Waterstones bookstore. A friend of mine had recommended the Discworld books, and I paged through them, unsure where to start.
Then I found The Truth. The cover had shiny silver font, declaring the the “25th Discworld Novel”. It involved murder, but Harry Potter had taught me murder could be perfectly readable, and it involved newspapers, which I liked.
There was a mention of “humorously shaped vegetables” which again gave me pause — this was an adult book, of this I was sure, and was I ready to handle lewd, humorously shaped vegetables? Probably, I decided.
That’s how I became a Terry Pratchett fan, and learned a lot about the newspaper industry in the process. Discworld vampires remain my favorite vampires and Pratchett remains my favorite fantasy writer.
[The Truth was published in paperback in 2001.]
Carrie by Stephen King
They say you always remember your first Stephen King book. Carrie was mine, and it was my first memorable experience with a close point-of-view. The book got me right inside Carrie’s head, using all sorts of unfamiliar tricks like wild, tangential thoughts and side-thoughts crushing together as part of the narrative.
[I read the 1999 paperback.]
Honorable Mention: The Hunger Games, for making me fall in love with first person present tense stories and cliffhanger endings. You taught me more about the craft of writing YA than any craft book.
[I read the e-book, which was for the best, because I was able to urgently move from book to book without having to run to the shops. I bought The Hunger Games on 25 March, Catching Fire 27 March, and Mockingjay 29 Mar 2012]