"List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don't take more than a few minutes and don't think too hard. They don't have to be 'right' or 'great' books, just the ones that have touched you. Tag 10+ friends, including me, so I'll see your list."
And even though he didn't tag me (ahem), it made me pause.
As an avid reader from a young age, it interested me to look back and realize what books influenced and flavored my life.
Not in any particular order, and not even promising these are books I would recommend to others. Just ones that stayed with me and influenced my style and taste.
1. Charlotte Bronte, JANE EYRE
"I am no bird, and no net ensnares me". Need I say more?
2. Dennis Lehane, A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR
So bleak and beautiful and I was so upset and affected by it that my ex told me I wasn't allowed to read anymore of his writing. I ignored him but at my own emotional peril. “I stared down the slim barrel of a gun, looked into eyes rabid with fear and hatred, and saw my reflection. Pulled the trigger to make it go away. I heard the echoes of my gunshots, smelled the cordite, and in the smoke, I still saw my reflection and knew I always would.”
3. Taylor Caldwell, CAPTAIN AND THE KINGS
The main character's description of his first time at the symphany destroyed me. And inspired me to start my own love affair with classical music.
4. Arturo Perez-Reverte, THE NAUTICAL CHART
Although I've had a hard and fast love for film noir, this was my first noir novel. Him: gullible, tough and rugged. A man without a ship, without prospects, without luck. Romantic in a scotch, straight way. Punch first, ask questions later. Do anything for a hard, remote, sensual blonde. Even when you know it's wrong, even when you know it can only end in disaster, even when you know someone's got to die, even when you know it might be you. My preference for bombay sapphire gin stems from this.
5. Emily Bronte, WUTHERING HEIGHTS
Dark romanticism, a fever dream that pulls you under and drowns you and when you wake up from it you find yourself dizzy and unstable.
6. Stephen King, THE GUNSLINGER
"First comes smiles, then lies. Last is gunfire". Over the span of eight books, King wrote the perfect epic story, mixing spaghetti westerns with a touch of apocalyptic fever and old world magic.
7. Neil Gaiman, NEVERWHERE
A grown up fairy tale in the style of the Brothers Grimm. *swoon*
8. George Bernard Shaw, MAN VS SUPERMAN
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” Logic! Wit! Word play! 14 year old Sam didn't stand a chance.
9. Daphne du Maurier, REBECCA
More dark romanticism. This segwayed into Shelley and Bronte and Byron. Whenever my love of noir leaves me in a puddle of depression about the world, the beauty in their writing brings me back to life.
10. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, DON QUIXOTE
For a girl who grew up reading classics and had a very skewed idea what the world should be like, this book brought me up short and reminds me that I don't want to spend my life fighting windmills.