Books That Last

Books That Last

Usually when the topic of books that made an impression comes up, there’s always someone who has some pretentious answer. This person seems to fish into the depths of their memories, pick the driest, dullest book on their high school reading list, and can’t articulate why that particular book is “the one.” There’s a poetic waxing, line quoting, and nose looking down if I haven’t read it. What can I say? I’ve had quite a different education.

So, when the “10 books that made an impression on you” circled around Tumblr and Tyger tagged me to list mine, I figured I’d make a few hipsters’ heads spin! So, without further ado, I give you…

The Books


Moon Dance by S. P. Somtow

This was the first one to land on the list. It’s the only book I’ve had to buy not one, not two, but three copies because I read it to death. Luckily, the latest copy is digital, so it should last me a while.

I first read this in 8th grade. I did a book report on it in 9th grade. This was totally not a school book. There was so much sex that I had to figure out a creative way to do that report. The reason this book stuck with me is it was the first book I’ve read that was so openly violent. Everything was “on screen,” so to speak. The sex, the violence, the illnesses and werewolf transformations; all of it was something I’d never read before and I was really, really young. Probably too young for it. But my parents never questioned my book choices, so it slipped by.

Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice.

Memnoch‘s religious theme is what made it stick with me. It was the first overtly religious story I had ever read. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, so I’ll just say that it allowed me to have a different view of what’s considered sinister.

Martin’s Mice by Dick King-Smith

The story of a kitty who decided to keep a mouse as a pet. Every little kid who ever wants a pet should read this. While I feel Drusilla might be a bit of a nagging wench most of the time, the message behind it is important about caring for others. If only we were all lucky enough to have pets that could talk back and tell us what they needed, right?

The Silver Wolf by Alice Borchardt

I read this when I first started getting obsessed with werewolves. This one made the list mainly because just looking at the cover reminds me of yesteryear. I had a hardcover copy that my dad splashed pool water on because I was reading instead of playing in the pool with him. When I shrieked that he soaked through four pages, he quickly calculated in his head the cost of all four pages. Which, of course, quickly shut me up.

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Along with the Crystal Cave series by Mary Stuart, The Mists of Avalon was the book I could be seen walking around with during high school. It’s one of the few books I’ve read over and over again, though I never destroyed my copy like I did with Moon Dance. It was the first legend adaptation I had ever read and I was intrigued by the plot centering around the women of the Arthurian legend rather than Arthur himself.

At the time, I was also reading it alongside Teen Witch by Silver Ravenwolf. With the practices of the Avalon Priestesses more or less matching with the information in Ravenwolf’s book, I started becoming more drawn to the Pagan belief systems. Life changing studying began with these two books.

The Black Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey

There’s no deep thinking story that goes with this one. The Black Gryphon is on the list purely for the selfish reason that it is the reason I have one of my bestest best friends ever today.

Way back in the day I used to role play in AOL chat rooms. My second character was a were-tiger (be surprised, folks!) who met a gryphon. That gryphon was played by “Birdie” and I happened to brave up to ask her if she had ever read Black Gryphon and the other books in the trilogy. It was that conversation that made us friends and I cherish the book for it.

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow

Down and Out is one of those books that will stick with you and you won’t know why. I still don’t know why this one sticks with me. But, here it is, sticking out in my head and demanding to be part of the list. I’ve read it over and over again, silently freaking out each time at the surreal idea that no one would care if you were murdered when you can be re-downloaded into a new body.

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

I loved the movie. So much did I love the movie that my dad would groan every time I put it on or made him stop when it was airing on TV. Finding this book was the first time I learned they adapted books into movies. The book was so different for me. It was the first book I read that took place in two places, jumping back and forth. I was also curious about the artistic choices of the original publication, which I never got my hands on. I still hope to one day be able to read in German so I may get the full experience Ende intended.

Through Wolf’s Eyes by Jane Lindskold

Contrary to what cartoons say, wolves are smart. This book emphasized that while expanding on the Raised by Wolves theme. There is just so much awesome packed into this book it really is difficult for me to pinpoint one reason it stuck with me. Unlike in Jungle Book, the wolves Lindskold writes don’t drive away their pack mate just because she’s human.

Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

I’m not much of a political and social commentary person. Really, most of the stuff I read (as is now evident) doesn’t have much stake in the “let’s change the world!” statements. So, reading Wicked was hard, but I really wanted to read it before I went and saw the play. While the two barely shared character names and locations, I’m still glad I made myself do it. While dry through a lot of it, the story was still really interesting. It resonated with me where it was supposed to: as someone who refuses to conform to what society demands.

So, there are my 10 books that stuck. Some have profound reasons; some have no reason deeper than “that’s the way it is.” But, that is the point of books. They’re there to entertain us as well as make us think.

[Image: shutterhacks]