I was asked to write on my tumblr a list 10 books that have stayed with me in some way. And so I did, without thinking too hard and without making sure they were the right ones or “great works”, as requested. Here is my list: the ones that inspired me as a youth and the axes for my frozen seas.
1. Watership Down by Richard Adams. My childhood favourite. I’ve read it a million times.
2. Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. Imagine my horror when I saw the musical for the first time. My shrieks of “What have they DONE to it?!” echoed through the theatre.
3. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. My sin, my soul! Quite possibly the most beautiful thing ever written in English.
4. Night Watch by Terry Pratchett. All the Discworld novels are good but this one was the cold hard grey one everyone hides in the secret basement of their hearts. It was Reaper Man that introduced me to Discworld but Night Watch that destroyed me.
5. Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce. Pierce is marvellous but I have to pick this series for the list. A female knight, talented, strong, appreciated by her comrades. A must for any child, imo, girl or boy.
6. Winter of Fire by Sherryl Jordan. I first realised writing could be a career – that I could be a writer – when I read this. I was 9. Fear, love, bravery, strength.
7. Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal by Thomas Harris. I think my style takes more from him than I care to admit. Always makes me think of my dad, who’s a fan of them too. Lambs seems to end up overshadowed by the movie, which is a shame because, while the movie is very good, the book is spectacular.
8. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. Pain, pain, pain. I had to read it in small doses. I’m afraid to read it again.
9. Finch by Jeff Vandermeer. I am all about disgruntled noir detective types. This is the end of the world and there’s still so much to lose.
10. The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey. I don’t know why, but it might be one of my favourites of hers, and the one I’ve reread the most. It will have to stand in for the whole.
I talked Phil Cooper into writing his own list. ♥ His appears to be rather more high-brow than mine. I read high brow too, honest! But they’re not the ones that typically jump to mind when listing the books that affected me the most.